aka Montlimar Canal Greenway
0.9 miles (Asphalt)
Rating: 1 (out of 10)
0 Road/Driveway Crossings (1-way)
0 People Encountered (Both Ways)
Pros: Montlimar Creek Fitness Trail is a paved asphalt trail along a City of Mobile drainage ditch in the back of a busy commercial district offering a car free shortcut to local people, from nowhere to nowhere. There are some benches along the trail some of which include bicycle racks and nearby garbage cans. Many trails neglect to put bike racks at rest areas. The elevation of the trail varies no more than four feet from beginning to end meaning it is very flat ride. The trail is mostly straight. No graffiti was seen. I felt safe using the trail. The trail right-of-way was mowed like a nice yard. There were zero road or driveway crossings to deal with. You'll have no people jams on this trail for most of the City does not even know the trail exists. Most of those who know about it won't use it. Montlimar Creek water is clear so you may get to see turtles and fish if you catch a time when the banks are not so weedly that you walk down to the edge. Birds feed along the creek so take your binoculars. Nearby lodging is available.
Cons: At 0.9 miles long, it will take the average bicyclist traveling at 15 mph a little over 3.5 minutes to ride the trail from start to end meaning Montlimar Fitness Trail is of little use to bicyclists wanting to get exercise. Aerobic fitness is best achieved by elevating the heart rate longer than 4 minutes. No trail map was seen anywhere so visitors have no idea how long it is, where it starts or where it ends. What signage there is along the trail is either unreadable or fading quick. No restrooms or even a porta-potty was seen. No water fountains. No nearby bike shop. No bicycle rentals. No camping. Trail has sharp car barrier signs that are dangerously close on the north end. No designated trailheads to park at for visitors. No picnic tables. No covered shelters. Surface rooting is beginning to be a problem. Grass has been allowed to grow in the asphalt making it a bumpy ride in some places. A bad drop off at the bridge is certainly dangerous to wheel chair users. Side of the trail was trashy near each end. The creek bank was trashy along the entire length of the trail. The smell of petroleum was in the air and there was an oil slick sheen on drainage canal water surface. Water is clear so you get to see the trash on the bottom of the creek. It is only because this trail is of some value to walkers that I rate it higher than a ZERO. I recently rode almost 700 miles of bicycle trails in Florida, from Rails-to-Trails to routes along drainage canals through low income neighborhoods. The short Montlimar Creek Fitness Trail is by far the worst maintained trail I have ever ridden on. There is plenty of lodging available a quarter of a mile away but you will find no bike lanes, paved shoulders or sidewalks to help you ride (or walk) to the trail safely from the motels. Food and drink is available on the north end of the trail but you'll find trying to get across Airport Blvd and its service roads to get to for example the Shell station for a soda, it will be a nightmare because there are no pedestrian crossings available and none of the roads are bicycle friendly. Same with the south side of the trail which has a nearby Shell station. There are no bike lanes, there is no paved shoulder, not even sidewalks and certainly no crosswalk to safely get across the busy Montlimar Drive.
Viewpoint: In a nutshell, yes, I will ride this trail again, but only because I monitor the Dog River watershed trash problem. Trash gets flushed into Dog River watershed from this neglected and unfiltered drainage canal. The poor condition of the less than 10 year old fitness trail that was built with money from sources other than the City, is a reflection of the City of Mobile's lack of care of their waterway assets. For this reason, any attempts to lengthen the Montlimar Creek Trail or put multi-use trails along other creeks should be denied. The City of Mobile Parks and Recreation department must first show it will care for what it has before any person, group, or agency gives the City of Mobile more trail infrastructure to take care of.
If you're an out of town pedestrian or bicycler passing through Mobile, keep going toward Mississippi or Florida because Mobile has nothing for you. For visitors interested in multi-use trail maintenance, this would make a good case study on how NOT to maintain a trail.
The downloadable GPS track of the Montlimar Creek Fitness Trail can be found here:
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