Today's Paper Sports Obits Tablet Help Time Tour Podcasts Public Notices Classifieds Newsletters Puzzles Crime HER Contact us Jobs

New parking lot destined for Waterworks Trailhead

by James Leigh | March 29, 2023 at 4:04 a.m.
A new parking lot will be located off Pineland Drive near the Waterworks Trailhead will add 90-100 parking spots to the Northwoods Trails system. - Photo by Donald Cross of The Sentinel-Record

Northwoods Trails enthusiasts should soon have more places to park when visiting the Waterworks Trailhead, according to Northwoods Trails Coordinator Traci Berry.

"Currently we only have about 42 spots down here and almost half of those spots, if not a third of them, are parallel parking at the end of Pineland Drive right before you get into the trailhead, which really narrows down at the end of Pineland into one lane, and on a busy day when you're constantly having vehicles coming in and out -- it's just not optimal," she said, noting a new paved lot will be put in on the east side of Pineland Drive.

"So we're hoping to build a couple of little small, short trails from that upper parking lot to the lower parking lot that already exists just to keep that foot and bike traffic off the paved road with vehicle traffic because we need to keep them safe. So those trails will probably equal out to maybe about a half mile a trail, not anything major, but I think it'll be a great addition to this part of the park."

The new parking will allow more events to be held at the Waterworks Trailhead as well as relieve parking woes.

"With limited parking, it's really hard to have any kind of events specific to the Waterworks trails without having to rely on Cedar Glades for those smaller events," Berry said.

"So, I think it's going to help us out with being able to put on some more smaller events and also to be able to handle traffic on busy beautiful days.

"Spring break, the beginning of the second week of Texas' spring break, the St. Patrick's weekend, people were parked halfway up Pineland on the side of the road. We did have an event going on, but that week we had 16-plus states represented down here, and it was just busy all week," she said.

The limited parking forces people to go to one of the other four trailheads to get into the trails system, she said.

"If they're wanting to hit the flow trails here at Waterworks, then that adds another four, maybe plus, miles to their ride just to get here to be able to get out to those trails," she said.

"When you come here for a specific type of riding, ideally you'd be able to park here at the Waterworks trailhead, so, I think it's going to open up this trailhead to some more traffic, and again, another opportunity to hold some other smaller events -- so not like a Gudrun event where we have 600-plus registrations and 1000-plus folks throughout the weekend, but smaller events, like group rides and things like that, to where just our daily usage and that event has room to happen in one place."

While Visit Hot Springs manages the trails, the property is owned by the city, VHS CEO Steve Arrison said.

"It's a city project," he said. "We're gonna have to pay to connect a trail to it, so we're gonna wait until it's constructed, when we'll have a trail company come in which will connect it into the rest of the Waterworks Trailhead."

The new parking area will also allow for the expansion of the trails around Sanderson Lake.

"The future for the Northwoods is so great," Arrison said, noting traffic at the Waterworks Trailhead was heavy this past weekend.

"Hopefully, we'll finish the trail around the lake and then we can open up that lake to nonmotorized (bikes), so I think it's a real good thing.

"I was really excited to see it happen. We're getting so much use out there," he said. "The road all the way in was parking on the side of the road on the shoulder, and that's not safe."

Print Headline: New parking lot destined for Waterworks Trailhead


Sponsor Content