Whirlpool Trails is a valued asset to LOU community
Published 12:00 pm Friday, March 11, 2016
By Shelby Warner
Flying over hills, rocks, and cycling through trees, Ole Miss senior Brent Weltner spends a full hour each day exploring the Whirlpool Trails in Oxford.
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Weltner took up mountain biking during his freshman year at Ole Miss. He had heard about the trails through a friend, and decided to borrow a bike and test them out one day after class.
“I never thought that exploring the Whirlpool Trails a mile off campus would lead to a passion for mountain biking,” said Weltner, who now owns several specialized mountain bikes.
Located at the end of Chucky Mullins Drive and across from Highway 6, Whirlpool Trails provide a scenic, nature-filled experience for Oxford students and residents.
From easy short trails to long uphill challenging trails, runners, walkers, and bikers spend sunny days exploring different routes.
“You feel like you’re in a whole different world,” said avid runner Ida Jane Cole. “This is one part of Oxford that doesn’t feel like small town Mississippi. It reminds me of being home in North Carolina.”
Cole makes a point to come to the trails every day after class to get outside after spending the day sitting in a classroom. With different trail levels that are color coded, runners never seem to get bored with their route.
Several trails lead to different ponds, docks, or clearings within the woods. There are several sites to explore at the end of these trails as well, such as the mysterious abandoned hippie bus and an older fire tower.
On an early morning, you can often find the Ole Miss Cross Country team running together on the Whirlpool Trails as their morning workout.
From heavily wooded areas of the Whirlpool Trails to long clearings, bikers and runners can both find something to suit their workout.
The Whirlpool trails were originally the site of old train tracks, after the Buckner’s Trestle crash in 1870. The gravel laid down for the rail tracks makes it an easy and clear spot for athletes
Mile markers are somewhat hidden, tacked onto random trees as runners and bikers venture on the path.
“There is a really rugged untouched feel to the trails, which is what I think makes them so appealing to outdoor lovers,” said Weltner.
The main path offers a flat and wide eight-mile loop that stretches over the hills adjacent to the highway. There is a large fire tower at the end of the trail that, once climbed, is the highest point in Oxford.
Runners are able to choose their route and challenge themselves based on the path they take. Some paths offer great hiking options as well.