This weekend I changed my normal walking of the Greenway and dusted off my bike. Being on wheels allowed me to get further on the Forsyth Big Creek Greenway than I have been before, and I decided to continue on past Highway 9 heading towards McFarland Parkway and see how far I could get before the trail was not completed. To my surprise the paving and boardwalks are complete all the way down to McFarland Parkway, event though that phase of the greenway has not opened yet. Even more surprising were the number of people using this part of the trail. [photos of phase 1]
Since phase 1 is not officially open, it is not as maintained as phase 2 and 3 on the trail. Debris remains on the trail from the recent flooding, and sides of the boardwalks do not have grass yet like the completed portions. In addition, the crosswalks over Union Hill and Highway 9 are not completed yet. It looks like there will be a light for crossing at Highway 9, and just a simple crosswalk at Union Hill. Use caution when crossing the road, as commuters are not used to having pedestrian crossings yet.
With all that is not complete on the new phase of the trail, a majority is actually finished off. Rest stations are easily found, 2 every half mile. Fences are up near GA 400 to keep you from wandering onto the highway. The boardwalks are stained, and parking areas exist at Union Hill and McFarland.
As for scenery, this trail offers more of the same from the rest of the Forsyth Greenway. You can see Big Creek River a bit more often, and a few more bridges cross the river. There is one entrance to the trail from an unfinished neighborhood near Union Hill. I didn’t see much in the ways of wildlife beyond squirrels, birds, and a large hornets nest.
I enjoyed my ride through phase 1, adding an additional 8 miles (round trip) onto the length of the trail. The area directly north of McFarland Parkway was very familiar to me, as my old neighbor and I used to go 4 wheeling back in the area after rain storms to pull out trucks stuck in the mud. The trail follows the same utility roads we used to ride on. Phase 1 between McFarland and Highway 9 will be a great addition once opened, making the trail more usable for those looking for a nice long bike ride. The entire distance can be done on bike in about an hour and a half going at a leisurely pace. That is how long it took me stopping to take pictures. Enjoy this section, though I do recommend waiting until it opens officially this Fall.
- Photos of Forsyth Big Creek Greenway Phase 1 Between McFarland Parkway and Highway 9