New Albany to Houston, Mississippi
43.6 miles long Rails-to-Trails (100% asphalt trail)
Rating: 9 (out of 10)
82 driveway/road crossings (1-Way) - (1.9 crossings per mile on average is very low.)
90 people encountered (Both Ways) - (1 person encountered per mile on average is very low)
Pros: The approximate 82 driveway/road crossings along the 43.6 miles of trail are mostly private farm crossings that are rarely used. The number of road crossings in New Albany, Ingomar, Pontotoc, Algoma, New Houlka, and Houston are minimal and have very little traffic. The few busy crossings have stop light sensors to warn you to stop. The trail grade is relatively flat with the exception of one short hill. There are shaded shelters with bathrooms, water fountains, picnic tables, and parking in each town except at the trail ends. The trail bathrooms were very clean. No grass growing in the asphalt. There are no shrubs or weeds growing out over the trail causing the need to weave or duck. The trail surface is smooth asphalt with no root problems at all. No concrete curbs to jump. Flexible car barrier posts. Nice changes of scenery. Real quiet. I rode 20 miles and only saw 2 people (weekday) so there will be little people traffic on the trail to deal with until it becomes more used. In New Albany, on the west side of the trail head parking lot there is the short Tallahatchie Trail for bicycles along the Tallahatchie River. Google spells the trail different.
Cons: All the numerous bridges are wooden and most are quite bumpy. No maps on the trail or at the trailheads. No manned trail head stations. No full security people roaming the trail. Some farms are located along the trail meaning you'll get a whiff of Aroma de Cow Poop. Several areas along the trail were trashy. Heavy equipment used to maintain the trail appears to be causing cracking in the new asphalt. Shelters are as far apart as 10 miles. No night time use of the trail is allowed. There is not much for Cyclists at either trail end, New Albany and Houston. Based on feedback, I need to elaborate on that last statement. As a bicyclist, I found it about impossible to move around the cities safely because there were no bike lanes, no paved shoulders on the main roads and in all cases, not even a sidewalk to ride on to get me to the motels. But if you're in a vehicle, you no doubt can move around the city safely to experience what each city has to offer.
Viewpoint: In a nutshell, yes, I'd like to ride this trail again - this time when the fall or spring wildflowers are in bloom. Tanglefoot trail is long enough that most people can't ride it out and back in one day meaning an overnight stay is required for visitors who want to ride the whole trail. New Albany and Houston offer little to cyclists at this time but there are plans for future end of trail facilities. The best option is to stay in Pontotoc (near the middle of the trail) at Days Inn located a quarter a mile from the trail. There are plenty of food choices near the motel. The only reason I rate this tanglefoot a 9 out of 10 instead of a perfect 10 is because of the rough bridges and a few trashy areas that need to be cleaned up. You can see nice fall foliage colors in November. If you've never ridden this trail, what are waiting for? Trails don't get much better than this.
The downloadable GPS track of the Tanglefoot Trails can be found here:
Click on any thumbnail below to bring up a larger view photo gallery with commentary.