Columbia Parks and Recreation
Creating Community through People, Parks and Programs
The Bear Creek Trail, Hinkson Creek Trail, and MKT Trail are the premier multi-use trails in Columbia. These 10-ft. wide trails with crushed limestone surfaces are good for walking, jogging, and biking.
County House Trail and the South Providence Pedway were added to the trail system in 2011, and are constructed predominately out of concrete to reduce maintenance costs and provide consistent trail conditions. Both trails have an alternative gravel side path along portions of the concrete trail.
Consult the Park Directory to see an overall map of the City's park system to find a park or trail near you.
Below is a directory of the major trails in the park system, along with the neighborhood, community, and regional park trails. Click on the links below for more trail information.
Trails Map - (existing trails)
Trails Plan - (long-range trail plans)
Below are Columbia's premiere trails designed for commuting, as well as for fitness and recreation. Each trail generally has several access points. Various trailheads provide parking and restrooms.
Mountain Bike Trails
Columbia Parks and Recreation has one mountain bike trail in it's park system, which is located in the northeast corner of the largest City-owned park - Cosmo Park.
Trails in Community Parks, Regional Parks, and Nature Areas
Community parks are typically 15-100 acres, with a service area generally up to three miles. Regional parks are normally 200 or more acres, with a service area extending to five or more miles. Many of these parks provide parking and/or restrooms. Trails are usually just one of many recreation choices in these larger parks. Nature areas usually feature trails to explore and enjoy the natural, preserved green spaces.
Neighborhood Park Trails
Neighborhood parks are typically 5-10 acres and are designed to be within walking distance of surrounding neighborhoods. They typically do not include parking or restrooms. Neighborhood park trails provide opportunity for park users to get exercise near home, while tracking the distance covered.
School Outdoor Tracks
The following school tracks were funded in whole or part by the Park Sales Tax and are open to the public when school is not in session.
A complete list of upcoming Parks and Recreation capital improvement projects (parks and trails) is listed on the Capital Improvement Projects webpage.
Please note that not all trail capital improvement projects are administrated by the Parks and Recreation Department. Some trail projects are funded by the federal Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program and administrated by GetAbout Columbia. If you do not find an upcoming trail project listed below, information may be found on the GetAbout Columbia website.
Capital Improvement Projects
|Year Completed||Project Description|
|2008||New Restrooms at Scott Blvd. and Forum Blvd.|
|2009||MKT Trail Memorial/Heritage Bench Replacement (8 benches)|
|2008||Valleyview Trail improvements|
|2009||Forum Parking Lot - overlay and seal - (Annual Roads and Parking)|
|MKT Bridges #12 & 13 Replacement
Bridge #12 Historical Display
|2011||GetAbout Columbia Project: County House Trail Development - Stadium to MKT Trail|
|2011||GetAbout Columbia Project: South Providence Pedway (aka Providence Bikeway South)|
|Hominy Branch Trail Phase I - Stephens to Woodridge Park|
|Scott's Branch Trail Phase I & II|
|2011 - Phase I||Hinkson Creek Trail - Grindstone to Stephens (Phase I & II)|
|Project Not Approved by Council - Funds Reallocated||Hinkson Creek Trail - Phase III - Rockhill Connector|
|MKT Trail - 3M Urban Ecological Restoration Project|
|Grindstone Trail - Grindstone Nature Area to Confluence|
|2011||MKT Exercise/Fitness Station Replacements (2011 Annual Park Improv)|
|2012||MKT Exercise/Fitness Station Replacements (2012 Annual Park Improv)|
- Funds Reallocated
|Providence Boardwalk Repair - (Annual Park Improvements)|
|Hinkson/Capen Bridge Improvements|
|Lions-Stephens Fitness Trail Improvements - (Annual Park Improvements)|
In 2002, the park planning staff updated the department's Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan with a 2002 Facility Needs Update. This update shows long-range planning of a trail loop around the city of Columbia. In 2009, park planning staff began the process to update the trails plan. This process was initiated in response to the federally funded GetAbout projects and the overall growth of development in and around Columbia. Staff reviewed and proposed primary, secondary and tertiary trail projects that are suggested for acquisition priorities. Trail projects that were not funded by the GetAbout program are now included in this master plan. The updated trails plan reflects current acquisition priorities and may be adjusted as respective areas in the community are developed. The 2010 Trails Plan has been approved with some modifications by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission (in conjunction with GetAbout Columbia). The below presentation and report was presented to the City Council for review at work session on February 22, 2010. After a public hearing, the 2010 Trails Plan was approved by City Council on April 5, 2010.
Which is the best surface for trail construction - gravel, asphalt, or concrete? Learn about the pros and cons of each type of trail surface in the "Choosing the Right Trail Surface" presentation. (PDF - 2.3mg)
Park Patrollers help keep City parks and trails clean, safe, and in good repair. Click here to learn more about the Park Patrol volunteer program.
Concerned about a proposed trail through your property? See "Trail Information for Property Owners" booklet.
Sec. 14-491. Definition.
As used in this article, the word "cycle" shall mean any device upon which aSec. 14-509. Use of Helmets.
person may ride; propelled by human power, having two (2) or more wheels, excluding wheelchairs.
(a) No person fifteen (15) years of age or younger shall ride a cycle within the city limits as an operator or passenger without properly wearing an approved bicycle helmet securely fastened by chin or neck strap.
(b) An approved bicycle helmet is headgear which meets or exceeds the impact standard for protective helmets set by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission federal safety standards.
(c) No parent, custodian, or legal guardian of a person fifteen (15) years of age or younger shall allow that person to ride or be a passenger on a cycle within the city limits as set out in this ordinance without wearing an approved bicycle helmet. This is an offense of absolute liability.Sec. 14-509 510. Penalties.
Any person sixteen (16) years of age or older who violates any provision of this act is guilty of an infraction and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than five dollars ($5.00) nor more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00). Such an infraction does not constitute a crime, and conviction shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a criminal offense. If any person under sixteen (16) years of age violates any provision of this act in the presence of a peace officer possessing the duty and power of arrest for violation of the general criminal laws of the state or for violation of ordinances of counties or municipalities of the state, such officer may impound the cycle involved for a period not to exceed five (5) days upon issuance of a receipt to the child riding it or to its owner.