Get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. In the heart of Paris, you will find the serenity you seek on the Trail de Paris. The gently curved route cuts a recreational ribbon from 4th Street SW, winding east under a beautiful living canopy of trees over Loop 286 to the Paris city limits.
A sense of community has emerged with the addition of the Trail to our area. Newcomers, visitors, and long-time residents of all ages find the Trail de Paris to be a local amenity that promotes recreational, educational, and civic opportunities.
It is appealing to those who seek a pleasant, safe place to walk, run, or ride bicycles, and is handicapped accessible. This is Paris and Lamar County’s only non-motorized Pedestrian/Bicycle Trail. Leashed dogs are also permitted on the Trail. The distinct Trail de Paris “Welcome” signs are placed at each of the 8-Trail access points. These Trailheads offer parking and are located north of the Sports Complex Outdoor Pavilion, Noyse Stadium at 24th SE Street, east and west side of Collegiate Drive, behind The Results Company on Clarksville Street, in back of the PCA Medical Complex on Clarksville Street, off Old Clarksville Road at the Red River Boys and Girls Club Sports Complex and adjacent to the intersection of 3rd Street SW and West Hearne Streets in downtown Paris.
Going east from 4th SW Street where the Trail currently finds its westernmost boundary, huge sugarberry trees shade the Trail as it meanders to 24th SE Street. Here the Trail cuts through the Paris Junior College Campus. Gaze at more than ten varieties of crape myrtles that line the corridor. Look for those that are labeled to learn their names. Established near the center of the corridor is the Butterfly/ Hummingbird Garden that thrills patrons with its floral display in blooming seasons. A nursery of Monarch chrysalises has adorned the monuments located there in the past. This is one of many places on the Trail that offer photographic scenery. Bring your camera.
A trail map showing “You Are Here” is displayed on a kiosk near the entrance of the Collegiate Trailhead. Continuing east, cross a Railroad “Hobo” bridge spanning Big Sandy Creek. If it has rained, pause and listen to the rippling water curving its way deeper into the woods. A number of native trees singled out by markers are found along this portion of the Trail. Stop and read the information about them.
This section of the Trail is canopied with deciduous trees that display a beautiful foliage scene in the fall and shade in the summer. Smell the honey-suckle and catch a glimpse of fireflies on a summer evening.
Before reaching Loop 286, the Trail crosses two more creeks via refurbished railroad bridges with fabricated safety handrails. In the spring, the bluebonnets and other wildflowers blanket the surrounding area with a colorful palette. You will now traverse over U.S. Highway 271 on a fabricated, wood planked, iron truss bridge that is mesh-canopied.
Parking at the Boys and Girls Red River Sports Complex is another option for entering or exiting the Trail. The final push east crosses Old Clarksville Road, and through pastoral scenes. Before Key West Rd, the green center stripe ends, marking the Paris city limit with that of Reno. This is the beginning of the Reno Rail Trail that continues on through Airport Road to Reno’s east city limits.
Lamar County Prairieland Trail extends from Reno’s eastern city limits 3.5 miles to CR 13200. And, the Blossom rails-to-trails section adds another 1.5 miles of asphalt surface from CR 13200 through the city of Blossom to Bois D’ Arc Street on the eastern side.
There is also a 1/2-mile Trail spur that connects the 4-mile asphalted main Trail to the City of Paris’s 53-acre Sports Complex and 21-acre Love Civic Center. It ambles through a 90-acre heavily wooded area and over a successfully relocated and rehabilitated rainbow steel truss bridge spanning Big Sandy Creek that includes a beautiful deck shaded by two Red Oaks.
It is a perfect spot to have a picnic, snack, or to spend some retrospective time surrounded by the sound of rustling leaves, and birds chirping. It continues south to the Sports Complex Trailhead’s lighted parking lot. Families will find the “Born Learning Trail” interactive signs sponsored by the Lamar County United Way along this spur that are helpful in guiding children to engage in new outdoor experiences. This spur also intersects with 2.5-miles of pathways that take the more adventurous patrons deeper into the woods where plant and wildlife may be observed more closely.
Easy-to-see markers indicate every quarter of a mile on the Trail to aid calculating distance covered. Sections of this non-motorized, handicapped accessible Trail are color-coded to expedite any emergency response. “Share the Trail” arrows help remind users to stay to the right for two-way traffic. Bicyclists are to pass pedestrians on the left and on approach indicate so verbally. Signage informing users of rules, regulations, and safety issues are also posted. Benches, trash cans, and portable toilets are strategically placed along the Trail.
One Heck of a Trek
A Beautiful 12-page brochure CLICK HERE to download.
Check out the new Trail de Paris “A Way of Life” Video
The Trail de Paris was the class project adopted by Leadership Lamar County Class 2004. They planned to develop a multi-use trail system along with a portion of the property owned by the Greater Paris Development Foundation under federal rail banking restrictions for the development of biking trails. Through the patronage, sponsorship, and donations of corporations, civic groups, organizations, and individuals, Leadership Lamar County Class 2004 created 2.36 multi-use miles of asphalt trail from 12th Street SE to Loop 286.
Since 2004, efforts to expand the Trail have been undertaken by the Steering Committee. The Trail de Paris now extends 4.3 miles in Paris to the eastern city limits of Paris and connects to the Reno Rail Trail which extends 2.17 miles to the eastern city limits of Reno just past Airport Rd. The Prarieland Trail and the Blossom section provide an additional 5 miles for a total of 11.53 developed surface miles. The committee has directed the creation of the Nature Observation Deck and connecting trail between the original Trail and the Sports Complex. Additional nature trails have been graded through the area allowing nature lovers, school groups, etc. to partake of the beautiful settings. And the group has been instrumental in the installation of park benches along the Trail, mileage markers, and the butterfly/hummingbird garden which was a partnership with Aikin Socrates Students in 2007.