Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dogwood Springs Walking Path - Siloam Springs

Today I visited the new Siloam Springs Whitewater Park and then drove into town to explore the Dogwood Springs Walking Path.  While I walked/jogged the trail, there is a great bike rental place downtown near the trail (Dogwood Junction Bike Shop).

I got on the trail downtown, near University and College and followed it westward along Sager Creek through a city park.  The creek has had some restoration work done recently and I saw lots of ducks, herons, and turtles in it.  After nearly 0.5 miles, the trail leaves the creek and follows University onto JBU campus.  There is a water fountain and outdoor fitness station just past the entrance to the university.  My friend got pretty close to a snake crossing the trail in this area.

The long stretches of trail on the west and north sides of campus are the most scenic, as they are forested and offer views of the creek. At about the 1.5 mile mark, the trail passes by the neighboring wastewater treatment plant which detracts a bit from the experience.  From there the trail wraps around campus and runs by Oak Hill Cemetery.  Once you reach Holly St., I would recommend leaving the trail, maybe checking out campus a bit, and then taking University and the trail back to downtown.  This makes for about a 5k for anyone training for a race and avoids the less scenic portions of the trail.  If you choose to stick with the trail, it travels another 1.5 miles south and east past some apartments and schools before dead-ending in a neighborhood with no signs telling you where to go.  I took Carl north to Alpine to Garrett to University, but there are lots of other routes you could take to get back downtown.

This trail switches multiple times between being a real, separated, 8' asphalt trail and just following a sidewalk and it is difficult to follow at times.  Be sure to keep an eye out for Dogwood Springs flags/signs on poles.  Two complaints I have about this trail are that it could use more signage and that it needs to form a complete loop.  If such a campaign doesn't exist yet, JBU or some other community organization should start a movement to "Complete The Loop" like the one underway in Little Rock seeking to finish the River Trail.  I would love to assist with researching ideal routes if anyone needs help.

Fountains at Siloam Springs

Great Blue Heron - Sager Creek, Siloam Springs
Outdoor Gym at JBU - Photo by John Kester III

Cathedral of the Ozarks

View Dogwood Springs Walking Path in a larger map

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