Visit The Ocmulgee Heritage Trails

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1. Amerson – Riverside Cemetery Connector
The Amerson-Riverside Cemetery Connector trail is one of the most significant expansions of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail system ever. This trail will connect Amerson River Park to Riverside Cemetery with a two-mile riverfront trail. Eventually, plans call for two scenic overlook trails that will loop off the connector trail: one to the north near Amerson and one to the south near Riverside Cemetery. During a relining project in 2017, Macon Water Authority (MWA) installed several permanent culverts to create a connection along this easement. In addition, the Trail is still working to craft an agreement with the railroad to access this trail where it will cross railroad easements. The Trail is expected to cost approximately $2 million. In late 2020, Macon-Bibb won a grant to complete the engineering and permitting plans for this trail. NewTown must raise at least $400,000 in matching funds to complete this trail. You may donate to the restricted OHT Construction Fund today to help with this match.

2. Amerson – Riverside Connector – South River Loop
The South River loop consists of 2,500 linear feet of trail and an 80-foot bridge. This trail branches off from the Amerson-Riverside Connector near Riverside Cemetery towards the river. The 2016 class of Leadership Macon raised the funds to construct and set the bridge, but additional funding will be required to construct trail to connect either end of the bridge to existing trail. The remaining trail will cost approximately $125,000 if done in gravel or $500,000 if done in concrete. This loop will provide beautiful views of the Ocmulgee River. Construction of the South River Loop is contingent on additional fundraising, an access agreement with the railroad, conclusion of MWA construction, and impacts from I-16/I-75 interchange construction.

3. Amerson – Riverside Connector – North River Loop
The North River loop consists of 1,400 linear feet of trail and a 40-foot bridge. This trail branches off from the Amerson-Riverside Connector near Amerson River Park towards the river. The bridge is expected to cost approximately $50,000. The remaining trail will cost approximately $75,000 if done in gravel or $250,000 if done in concrete. The total project will cost between $125,000 and $300,000. Construction of the North River Loop is contingent on additional fundraising, an access agreement with the railroad, the conclusion of MWA construction, and impacts from I-16/I-75 interchange construction.

6. Rose Hill Cemetery Connection

In the early 2000s, NewTown acquired land and easements on the west side of the Spring Street bridge, with the vision of connecting the bridge's sidewalks into Rose Hill Cemetery. A master plan for creating trails in Rose Hill was commissioned by NewTown. As plans were coming together for laying down a trail to establish the connection with existing Rose Hill Cemetery, bureaucratic challenges impeded the construction of the vital trail connection. 

Then, in June 2016, the Community Foundation of Central Georgia awarded a Downtown Challenge grant to the Historic Macon Foundation. With this grant, they completed surveying, design and engineering, needed to make this trail expansion a reality. When this connection is established, it will enable trail users to access the existing Riverside Cemetery trail to a new Rose Hill Cemetery trail system from downtown Macon, downtown and Mercer hotels and surrounding neighborhoods. The current plan entails creating an interchange from the sidewalk on the southwestern side of the Spring Street bridge, looping underneath the bridge to link with historic carriage trail paths. Along this path, you'll encounter breathtaking views of the river and historic monuments, such as the Bond Monument, within Rose Hill Cemetery. To bring this vision to life, an estimated $350,000 is required for construction. 

Notably, the existing roadway system of Rose Hill Cemetery sees around 26,000 visitors each year, with a significant 50% of them hailing from out-of-town. Furthermore, the master plan includes integrating this section with the Spring Street trail, further enhancing connectivity and accessibility.

8. Improvements to Spring St. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Bridges
The Macon Action Plan recommended specific changes to the existing plans proposed by Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for the bridges over the Ocmulgee River on Spring St. and MLK Jr. Blvd. Right now, GDOT’s plans do not include appropriate accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists. The Macon Action Plan recommends protected bike lanes and sidewalks within the existing bridge width and budget allocation to expand the trail. GDOT amended its plan to include two 10’ sidewalks on the new MLK bridge, which is currently under construction. No further improvements are planned to Spring St. Illustrated in the Macon Action Plan.

9. Improvements to Clinton Street Trail
For many years, trail users have been able to access a side gate to the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park by using the sidewalks along Coliseum Drive and then walking down Clinton Street. Because Clinton Street lacks sidewalks, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) has developed plans to improve the pedestrian and cyclist experience with sidewalks, lighting and landscaping. This project has been designed and engineered by the UDA.

10. Riverside Drive Trail Improvements
The Macon Action Plan recommended drastic improvements to the sidewalks along Riverside Drive to provide a protected cycle track alongside the existing sidewalk. The Downtown Challenge program awarded a grant to the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission to hire a contractor to complete a scoping study of Riverside Drive that could eventually enable the construction of bicycle and pedestrian improvements. The scoping study has been accepted by GDOT. Implementing this road diet and scoping study is expected to cost $10 million but will unlock a tremendous amount of development potential along the corridor and could be funded through the existing Tax Allocation District (TAD). Illustrated in the Macon Action Plan and in the Scoping Study.

12. Amerson Pond Loop Trail
Originally planned as part of the massive improvement to Amerson River Park completed in 2015, the pond loop trail had to be eliminated from the project because of budget restrictions. The trail is fully designed, engineered, permitted, and ready to build and would provide additional trail with views of the river. The trail runs on the edge of the oxbow outside the pond at Amerson River Park and is approximately one mile long. The initial cost estimate for this project is $350,000. Work could begin very quickly after funding is identified.

13. Amerson Boat Launch Trail
The original plans for Amerson River Park included a trail to connect the grand northern river overlook to the Jay Hall boat launch. Unfortunately, this trail was eliminated from initial construction due to budget constraints. Thanks to the OHT Construction Fund at NewTown Macon, this trail was able to complete construction in 2021 at a cost of approximately $200,000. The Amerson Boat Launch Trail is 1800 linear feet. Patrons will be able to boat or tube around the Amerson oxbow and walk all the way back to the north river access on the trail. In 2024, new plans have been made to expand this trail further north up the river and improve the boat launch area significantly. You can view those plans here.

Amerson River Park

Amerson River Park contains 180 acres of pristine forests, meadows, and wetlands surrounded by a river oxbow. However, Amerson River Park is more than just a beautiful place to admire nature. The park’s natural beauty is complemented by a state-of-the-art playground, a canoe launch and takeout, miles of trail, and pavilions overlooking the river. The park offers exciting amenities that appeal to families, adventurous outdoorsmen, and nature lovers to enjoy.

Formerly the Macon Water Authority’s water treatment plant, the facility was destroyed in the flood of 1994. Under the leadership of the late Mr. Frank Amerson as Chairman of Macon Water Authority, the water treatment plant was relocated, and the former property was donated to create a public park for passive recreational opportunities. Amerson River Park is named to honor Mr. Amerson’s legacy of leadership at the Water Authority.

Jackson Springs Park

This neighborhood park was named after General Andrew Jackson, as he was known to often camp in this area with his fellow troops, the Tennessee Volunteers.

A nature lover’s paradise, this park is filled with majestic stone bridges and benches, a mossy brook, and beautiful perennials and evergreens. Shirley Hills’ residents may also plant trees in memorial of loved ones in the park.

The months of January and February are a great time to catch the camellias in bloom underneath the hundred-year-old hardwood trees.

Dr. William G. Lee Camellia Gardens

The late Dr. William G. Lee was a founder of the American Camellia Society in the 1930s and his estate in Shirley Hills boasted numerous, beautiful camellia plants. The City of Macon acquired the land in 2008 and began restoring the property for a public park. The Gardens feature over 200 varieties of camellias, including many rare plants. The public can access the William G. Lee Camellia Gardens through Jackson Springs Park and through Glenridge Drive. Open to the public, this is a great outdoor retreat for your pet or a place to have a relaxing picnic lunch.

Spring Street Park

Spring Street Landing is often thought of as where the Trail begins. Right off of the Spring Street Bridge, just before you get to the interstate ramp, Spring Street Landing is on your right. Here you will find a playground, public art, and a boat ramp where canoes, kayaks, and tubes can take out. This is the southernmost public take-out before you reach Hawkinsville.

Otis Redding Memorial Bridge

Otis Redding Memorial Bridge, which connects Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Coliseum Drive, was named in memory of The King of Soul™ who changed the face of music with his song writing and vocals. A statue of his likeness is placed in Gateway Park where he is “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.”

Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park

Part of the National Park Service, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park interprets over 17,000 years of continuous human habitation in Central Georgia. Visitors can explore ceremonial mounds from the Mississippian Period and enjoy an incredible view of downtown Macon from the top of the Great Temple Mound. The park has an extensive trail system and is connected to the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail via the Mike Ford Trail.

Carolyn Crayton Park

Formerly known as Central City Park, Carolyn Crayton Park is Macon’s largest and oldest public park. Home to Macon’s historic Luther Williams Field and the heart of Cherry Blossom Festival, the level terrain makes Carolyn Crayton Park ideal for hosting tournaments, festivals, and special events. The park stretches along the levee at the southernmost end of Ocmulgee Heritage Trail. The beautiful natural setting features playground areas for children, picnic areas large enough to accommodate group outings, and a gazebo perfect for Instagram-worthy photo ops.

Charles H. Jones Gateway Park

Charles H. Jones Gateway Park is at the corner of Riverside Dr. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on the site of the former Washburn Moving and Storage facility. Initially referred to as Gateway Park because of its prominent location along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, the park was renamed for the late philanthropist and local businessman, Charles H. Jones.

Rotary Park

Completed in 2005 to commemorate Rotary International’s Centennial, Rotary Park contains a beautiful, formal fountain, a serene pergola, benches, and power for special events. It is a wonderful venue for many events including wedding ceremonies, receptions, or special announcements. The park is located on Riverside Drive, near First Street.

Riverside Cemetery

Starting at the historic Gate House, located on the corner of Riverside Drive and Madison Street, the Trail continues along Riverside Drive and ends with a scenic boardwalk over the Vineville Branch stream.

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