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South Horton Trail Grand Opening

Posted on Monday, September 11, 2023 at 5:16 pm


Staff Writer


Henry Horton Park’s South Horton Trail System opened with an enormous crowd Saturday Sept. 2. Park staff were on-site for the Grand Opening along with The Friends of Henry Horton State Park and TREK Bike Shop of Columbia.

The Multi-Sport Facility was once just a trap and skeet range but now it features much more: the trap and skeet range, an archery range, and 4 miles of trails for mountain biking and hiking.

Park Manager Shaun Rainone said, “This trail is beginner friendly.” The new South Horton Trail System is a multi-use trail. Hikers travel in one direction and riders travel the opposite direction. This allows hikers and riders to see each other clearly. It also ensures the trails will not be degraded by the impact of mountain bikes. Directions change daily so there are easy to read directional signs at the trailhead.

Rainone greeted every rider as they finished their introductory ride to get direct feedback. He said, “We’re always in the business of improvements and making it more accessible. One of our biggest missions is to create more stewards-people that want to be here, that are picking up after themselves, making sure things are taken care of, and being our eyes and ears. This is a key to our success.”

Riders were eager to share just how much they enjoyed the new trail. There were a handful of people with electric bikes. Rangers say no matter your age, ability, or experience – you can ride here.

Jesse Jewell, Park Ranger spoke to the crowd and spent time with the riders. He pointed out that in this area, there really are not many places to ride mountain bikes. School age riders known as the RucoRowdies from Rutherford County attended Saturday morning.

Jewell said, “With mountain biking, it can be an expensive sport, so groups like NICA allow for grants to where they can reach out to the youth and get them involved in a sport when in communities like this, the money’s just not there. Having an area that we would serve with this trail system means maybe we could have a Marshall County team.”

Rainone and Jewell cut a ribbon to the trail and encouraged riders to keep coming back, to tell others, and reminded everyone to support the park’s hotel and restaurant.

The future for the trails is to gradually expand to 10 miles. There will be an additional three miles added this winter and the rest is scheduled to come in spring 2024.

To get there, take US-31 to Warner Rd. Take a right on Skeet Range Rd and follow to the end. The trail opening is to the right of the parking lot. The trail is open to visitors daily from 7 a.m. to sunset.