9.6 miles (Asphalt)
Rating: 6 (out of 10)
31 Road/Driveway Crossings (1-way) (3.2 crossings per mile)
48 People Encountered (Both Ways) (2.5 people encountered per mile)
Pros: A 20 mile round trip is a good length for recreational bicyclists and the few hills are railroad grade meaning easy to ride. The mostly straight trail is 12 feet wide smooth asphalt narrowing down to 10 feet at the bridges. The number of road/driveway crossings was low as well as the number of people encountered using the trail. There were no car barrier posts, no concrete curbs to jump at intersections, no hairpin turns, nor any litter along the trail. Lodging is available not far from the trail. Once out of the City of Milton, the trail is very quiet. There are several trailheads for car parking and nearby shopping centers. There were a couple of covered benches along the trail. I felt very safe. Garbage cans were abundant along the trail. There were an adequate number of restrooms located along the trail and they were clean. The trail right-of-way was well maintained meaning no ducking vegetation or standing in tall weeds off the trail. Workers in vehicles were seen maintaining the trail which adds to the safety factor. There are several campgrounds in the area.
Cons: The Blackwater Trail changes names near Milford Road becoming Military Heritage Trail. The first two tenths of a mile of Military Heritage trail are in terrible shape. The 12 foot trail essentially becomes 5 feet wide with shrubs overhanging the trail and there is significant root damage to the asphalt making for a dangerous ride. Luckily you can detour around the dangerous trail segment. Military Heritage Trail ends at Whiting Field Naval Air Station at a security check point. There was only one heavy traffic intersection at US Hwy 90 where you'll likely encounter a short wait for the traffic signals to get across.
Viewpoint: In a nutshell, no, this trail isn't long or interesting enough for me to want to ride it again. However, with the Yellow River, Coldwater Creek, Black Water River, Boiling Creek, and Blackwater Bay all near Milton, there is plenty to keep outdoor enthusiasts busy for a weekend whether walking, running, bicycle riding, swimming, tubing or kayaking. I rate this trail a 6 out of 10 because of the short distance and the dangerous trail section that has no warning signs.
The downloadable GPS track of the Blackwater Heritage State Trail can be found here:
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