An integral contribution as to why Newton County remains a tourism destination centers around the unlimited outdoor vitality. National Trails Day, recognized on June 1st, gives us a day to appreciate the bountiful benefits of our trail systems. They not only encourage residents and visitors alike to get outside but also allow our neighborhoods to flourish and thrive, both economically and recreationally. As the existing trails in Covington, Oxford, Porterdale, and Mansfield continue to grow and expand, opportunities to see the advantages this network of multi-use trails provides becomes more and more prevalent.
Newton Trails is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization responsible for uniting its community through planning and progress towards connecting local and regional points of interest. The message that has spread from the evolution of greenway trails stretching across the county since the group’s formation is one that helps to foster a better quality of life. The vision to improve physical and mental health through environmental wellness is implemented by programs such as Adopt-A-Spot. This project was created to give businesses and other organizations a way to get involved and work together to maintain a designated segment of the Cricket Frog Trail, aptly named for the small amphibians heard along the Alcovy River that this trail crosses. Several Newton Trails sponsored events in the community such as weekly trail walks and monthly bike rides serve to connect people through nature and outdoor fitness.
Scenic Trails Near Water
Plans were set in motion in the 1990s when Newton Trails obtained funds to construct the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center’s 4.7-mile soft surface trail in Mansfield which is ideal for runners, joggers, pedestrians, and mountain bikers. This nature preserve, popular with those who find relaxation in fishing, also offers several well-marked dirt trails that attract hikers because of the beautiful wooded setting. If more serene trails closer to a body of water, such as Charlie Elliott, are your cup of tea, you can get your fill in a few different spots in Newton County. Don’t let the short length of the paved Lake Varner trail deter you. It runs right along the shore of the main reservoir and provides a breathtaking backdrop as the sun sets. Turner Lake Park houses three miles of both paved and unpaved paths for all to enjoy where you’ll hear cheers and jeers from the ballgames taking place in the complex just in front of the lake. Another picturesque place to trek by the water is the Porterdale Yellow River Park, which is home to a 1,480-foot concrete loop trail that encircles a frisbee disc golf course and gives way to a kayak launch.
Historical Tie-Ins to Newton County Trails
• Porterdale also happens to be the home of Newton County’s first official rail trail, the Yellow River Path, as efforts were made to pave a quarter mile section of the old railroad corridor in connection with the loop trail.
• Central Covington’s Cricket Frog Trail invites residents to simply open their back doors to venture on the route once taken by the Central of Georgia Railroad. As the largest rail trail in the area at an expanse of 15 miles, adventurers get a taste of everything outdoor from just inside the historic Covington city limits to just west of Newborn and everything in between. It’s along this trail you’ll find the historical marker citing The Capture of Covington, established as a part of the Civil War Trail in remembrance of the Union forces raid on the once thriving cotton mill town and Sherman’s “March to the Sea.”
• Oxford Trails provides landscapes that dreams are made of and was the first paved piece of the larger planned multi-use trail, which was built in 2005. This stretch uncovers the Fletcher Street corridor behind Old Church. A walk along this trail takes one back in time as this historical structure was the first chapel of Emory University. Set just behind Old Church on the same trail is a remnant of yesteryear, “Kitty’s Cottage”, that impacted the old Methodist Church in 1884 and tells a tale foreshadowing the Civil War.
Taking a trip down any one of these trails can be good for the mind, body, and soul. Find out more about Newton Trails at https://bit.ly/2JZmT5Z.