Once there were empty plains with a stream of water that could be glimpsed from the road, but never explored. Now, San Angelo has the Red Arroyo Trail, its newest recreational scene and a gem in the middle of the city. The $3.9 million project began in November 2014 and became popular with walkers, runners, bicyclists and skaters before its completion on May 15 of 2016.
The trail is a connecting line that unites places and people. Not only is the trail a place for transportation, recreation and exercise, it also is becoming a great-outdoors venue for public art, both quirky and beautiful. The setting is ideal, following the Red Arroyo tributaries through rolling plains and wetland zones with native plants and wildflowers, trees and birds and animals of many types.
The trail itself is a 14-foot-wide concrete path that runs from Knickerbocker Road in the east to Sherwood Way in the west, connecting with all the neighborhoods along the way. The total length of the trail is 4 miles. The hard surface, laid over what used to be a ragged dirt path, makes it ideal for any level walker or runner, and the width means strollers, bicycles and wheelchairs can pass each other safely.
No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail unless required for those who are mobility impaired. Dogs are welcome on the trail — kept on a leash at all times, of course. Newly created dog parks with fenced-in areas where pups can play off leash will be available this fall. Bicyclists are often seen on the trail and there are two bicycle “fix-it” stations to provide tools for repairing bicycles. There’s ample parking for visitors to the trail, bridges to cross and plenty of nature and neighbors to see.
Adding some art
Getting out and about is all very well, but the trail has an added bonus for those willing to get out of their cars and trucks to explore—thanks to the local group “Art in Uncommon Places.”
The group has created and installed public art along the trail over the past several months, with a grand opening scheduled for September.
Among the works:
• Several thousand feet of glow-in-the-dark stones embedded in sections of the trail (primarily from South College Hills Boulevard to Sherwood Way)
• Two colonies of outsized concrete ants that also serve as benches for those who want to stop, sit and enjoy the landscape
• Large ornamental bird cages with benches
• Boat silhouettes
• Giant snails
• Mosaic distance markers
• Larger than life-size wirework statues
• Totems, more benches and many other surprises to come along the way.
These works of art will create a unique public space in West Texas. But planners aren’t finished yet. There will be live music shows, sculpting competitions and 5K runs throughout the year along the trail.
It’s a quiet, easy walk, that offers people a chance to get outside to enjoy some fresh air, impressive art and the occasional glimpse of a heron standing on the banks of Red Arroyo.
The Red Arroyo trail is a 4-mile-long, 14-foot-wide cement trail connecting Sherwood Way and Knickerbocker Rd.
The $3.9 million project began in November 2014 and became popular with walkers, runners, bicyclists, and skaters even before its completion on May 15, 2016.
The project includes parking areas at Unidad Park, along Millbrook Drive and Sul Ross Street, a new restroom facility at Unidad Park, six storm water-detention ponds, and five bridges that cross the Arroyo at various points.
The trail also sports 50 pieces of art including giant ants, dogs and snails in the open air museum which will have its grand opening in September and is the first trail in the nation to feature glow stones in the path between Sherwood Way and College Hills Blvd.
Events including live music, sculpting competitions and 5k runs are planned throughout the year along the trail.