Recently I walked the Gallaher Bend Greenway as my exercise. Here is the basic greenway information page with map and a bit more here and another map. To get to the Gallaher Bend greenway, drive down Lafayette/Scarboro passing Illinois and continue driving just beyond Bethel Valley Road and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education building. Then on your left, there will be an entrance to Clark Center Park, which apparently used to be called Carbide Park at some point in history. You will drive past some beautiful water scenery on your way to a parking lot at Clark Center Park. I parked at Clark Center Park, but you can drive further, just before you get to the swimming beach there will be a gate that you have to park there and then walk about .3 miles to the greenway entrance. (One site seems to say it is about .3 miles from the winter parking area.) During the summer, you can park closer to the greenway entrance.
Just beyond the winter parking area, is a swimming beach. There are a number of signs around that say no life guards are on duty at this beach during the swimming season. I am curious how popular of a swimming area it is. Hard to tell in the winter, but it does look like a decent beach and has a bathroom area a bit of a walk from the swimming beach.
I did run across a letter to the editor of the Oak Ridger when life guards were done away with by the DOE the letter seems to say. Did see a review that said it was a clean and decent beach for swimming.
I will share more images and thoughts on Clark Center Recreation Park at the end of my post, as that is the order that I looked things over and took pictures.
Just past the swimming area is the entrance to the greenway itself.
Most of the greenway is a gravel road that is fairly easy to traverse and runs along some wooded areas, that I bet are very pretty during the summer and fall.
At one point the trail branches off and you can go down a wooded trail that is a bit overgrown and hard to traverse. I did not go all the way, as it was overgrown and I had my husband’s good camera with me. I worry a bit more about tripping and breaking his expensive camera sometimes. Also with the many signs warning me about staying on the trail, I was a tad nervous on how far down the “path” I could go. I first went all the way down the gravel road, then back tracked to where the path broke off, then took that, as the other end, I was uncertain what I was supposed to do there. But some of the maps look like I could have gone a bit further on the path section then I actually did. I wonder what times of the year, the trail is cleanest.
A short way past the path that breaks off the gravel road is a view of some of Lake Melton.
Shortly after this point the gravel road forms a bit of a court and you have to turn around and go back, or find the path that I think runs alongside the gravel road, at least it was before I left it.
The length of the trail is about 4.5 miles total out and back. Not sure if that includes some of the natural wooded trail I did not do or not, but there doesn’t seem to be much of that in looking at the maps online. The area around the trail is owned by the DOE so the rules on staying on the trail are rather strict as shown by some of the signs along the trail.
Overall, I did like the greenway, but I liked the Clark Center Recreation Park better actually. The greenway only sees the water from the vista point, and I prefer the water views seen from the park itself. Here is one other web pages comments on the Gallaher Greenway.
This means I must now share a few images from Clark Center Park. It was a beautiful sunny day when I walked the greenway and saw the park, as you will be able to tell from these pictures.
My husband has this rule that I not point the camera at full sun rays, so this was the best I could do to capture what my eyes were seeing.
The park has a number of “fishing” trails that mainly seem to follow along the banks of little waterways, etc. I did see one person who I assumed was fishing and saw a few boats out. I only walked a little bit of fishing trail 2 and fishing trail 3 was stairs down to the water’s edge, which was also very pretty. It may have been where I took the sparkling water image from. There is also a shaded tree area with some volleyball nets and some great picnic areas. One spot was labeled handicap fishing trail which seemed like an interesting idea to me.
The park has a boating launch point near where I parked. There is a bathroom near the parking spot also with a park office which was not open when I arrived around 9:30 AM, I think, but it was open before I left. I walked around the playground area and was surprised to see real teeter toters, which most parks seemed to have banned a number of years ago. There was another fishing trail sign that seemed to mark a starting point for a number of short trails near the playground area that I did not get to walk down yet. I will be going back sometime to take a look at those fishing trails and maybe some day I will bring my son and husband and a picnic lunch. Sounds like a very nice way to spend an afternoon.
Just had to end with a couple more pictures. I do hope the pictures do the park justice. But if you aren’t convinced, here is someone else’s pictures from the park.