Town Branch and Legacy Trails

Lexington, Kentucky is developing a comprehensive network of bikeways, walking paths, and trails. Unlike trail networks in many other cities, few of these trails are converted from abandoned railroad beds. What Lexington is doing is much more difficult. The city is fitting trails into the city infrastructure often without ready-made pathways. This requires ingenuity, commitment, and community support.

Successful trail projects provide inspiration and increase desire for more trails. Lexington’s Legacy Trail is a shining example. At over 12 miles in length and with plans to extend it toward Georgetown, it is currently the longest bike path in Lexington. Originally constructed for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the trail was designed to be a lasting legacy that would connect Lexington downtown to the Kentucky Horse Park, the site of the games. This well maintained paved trail provides a quick escape from the city into the restful rolling hills of the Kentucky bluegrass. Although not a rail-trail, it provides similar benefits. This mostly off-street path features historic sites and interpretive signs, art installations and sculptures, and beautiful rural countryside.

Another legacy of Lexington is its water source. The city was founded in 1779 along the banks of the Town Branch of the Elkhorn Creek. Already in development and funded for almost all of the rest, the Town Branch trail will follow alongside this important water course from the west side of Lexington, through Lexington’s historic Bourbon Distillery District, cross downtown, and connect with the Legacy Trail.

This combined trail system will provide a delightful bicycle and pedestrian friendly route through Lexington. I’m excited to watch it develop.

Riney-B Park and Trail

Compared to other states, Kentucky has few rail-trail project miles, but progress is being made. One trail constructed in the past 5 years is a short section of the former Riney-B railroad bed in Nicholasville, Kentucky. The trail begins at the parking lot of the KentuckyOne Health St. Joseph Jessamine-RJ Corman Ambulatory Care Center. You can also reach it by entering at the main Riney-B Park entrance and walking up the hill to the right of the aquatic center. Although the paved trail is less than a mile in length, it is loosely connected into the disc golf course trails that provide a loop around the park. The park also has a 1925 Baldwin steam locomotive on display that is similar to those Baldwin manufactured for the Riney-B.

The Riney-B name comes for the Richmond, Nicholasville, Irvine and Beattyville railroad (know by its initials RNI-B) that operated from the 1890s to the 1930s. The railroad also reached Versailles. In August 1899, the Riney-B was acquired by the Louisville & Atlantic railroad, which was subsequently purchased by the Louisville & Nashville railroad in July 1909. When a bridge washed out in the Logana area of eastern Jessamine County in 1932, the L & N abandoned the line.