The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 17.5 mile trail system running from Fountain Inn to Travelers Rest in South Carolina.[1]  The self-guided trail used to be a rail line but is now filled in and paved over to create a smooth path for runners and bikers.  Scenic views abound on the trail as the pathway meanders through downtown Greenville’s Falls Park and around Furman Lake.  The Swamp Rabbit Trail connects Travelers Rest to Greenville at the northern end, beginning at North Greenville Medical campus and continuing south along the Reedy River. The southern part of the trail connects Greenville with Fountain Inn. [2]

The trail offers many amenities like restrooms, picnic areas, water fountains, access points, and parking places.  In March 2012, Greenville’s Geographic Information Systems Division created a new app featuring an interactive map of the trail which bikers and runners can download for free through iTunes.[3]  The trail features several options for exercise: biking, walking, running, and roller-blading.  Bicyclists and runners enjoy a smooth training surface with shade trees in the summer, while tourists frequent shops and restaurants along the way.  In July 2012, a new restaurant opened on the trail, servicing thousands of people each year, and business increased over eighty percent for many shops along the route.[4]

The rail-trail originated in 1889 when the Carolina, Knoxville and Western Railway laid 11.3 miles of track from Greenville to Hellman Crossing.  By 1909, the railroad company had bankrupted so future plans for extending the track were abandoned.  A steam engine traveled the short line until the end of the twentieth century when the railroad was abandoned completely.[5]

The plans for the Swamp Rabbit Trail began in 2007 when Greenville decided to reshape the landscape of the downtown area.[6]  Although developers wanted the trail to emphasis the history of Greenville’s industrial and textile mills, the Greenville Hospital System (GHS) contributed the majority of the financial support in order to promote health and physical activity.  The GHS donated over $1 million for naming rights, officially calling it the Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail, and an annual race hosted by the hospital has brought thousands of participants to the Greenville area. [7]  Developers continue to increase the quality of the trail, and future plans include extending it to the North Carolina state line.[8]

Books related to the Swamp Rabbit Trail:

  • Mann Batson, The Swamp Rabbit Railroad: Legacy and Legend
  • Travelers Rest History Society, Images of America Series: Travelers Rest
  • H. Roger Grant, Railroads and the American People

Note:  I also helped write the Wikipedia article for Swamp Rabbit Trail.

– Hannah S. Bowers

Bibliography

“App makes Swamp Rabbit Trail more User Friendly,” WYFF4.com, March 20, 2012, http://www.wyff4.com/App-Makes-Swamp-Rabbit-Trail-More-User-Friendly/-/9324882/10076192/-/item/0/-/k47jn4z/-/index.html (accessed November 14, 2012).

Cathleen Gallagher, “Historically Speaking: The History of the Swamp Rabbit Trail,” Travelers Rest Tribune, 2012, http://www.trtribune.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=430:historically-speaking-the-history-of-the-swamp-rabbit-trail&catid=67:historically-speaking&Itemid=157 (accessed November 14, 2012).

“Changes coming to Swamp Rabbit Trail,” WYFF4.com, April 11, 2012, http://www.wyff4.com/news/local-news/greenville-news/Changes-coming-to-Swamp-Rabbit-Trail/-/9654794/10524068/-/item/0/-/5fgi92/-/index.html (accessed November 14, 2012).

“GHS Swamp Rabbit now in Fountain Inn,” Greenville Rec, http://greenvillerec.com/fountain-inn-opening-southern-section-of-ghs-swamp-rabbit (accessed November 14, 2012).

“GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail,” Greenville Rec, http://greenvillerec.com/swamprabbit (accessed November 14, 2012).

“Greenways in Greenville: The Big Picture, Greenville Rec, http://greenvillerec.com/greenways-in-greenville-the-big-picture (accessed November 14, 2012).

Jason Evans, “Study: Swamp Rabbit Trail Benefits Businesses,” Easley Patch, September 19, 2012, http://easley.patch.com/articles/study-swamp-rabbit-trail-benefits-businesses (accessed November 14, 2012).

Jenny Arnold, “Swamp Rabbit Trail is worth the ride from Spartanburg,” 85-26 Your Route to Entertainment, July 5, 2012, http://www.goupstate.com/article/20120705/ENT/207051004?tc=ar (accessed November 14, 2012).

“Swamp Rabbit Trail Interactive Map,” City of Greenville, http://www.greenvillesc.gov/parksrec/trails/SwampRabbitMap.aspx (accessed November 14, 2012).

“Swamp Rabbit Trail,” Trail Express, January 17, 2011, http://trailexpress.com/trails/swamp-rabbit-trail/ (accessed November 14, 2012).

“Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail,” Trail Link by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, http://www.traillink.com/trail/swamp-rabbit-tram-trail.aspx (accessed November 14, 2012).

“Trail of the Month: April 2010,” Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, http://www.railstotrails.org/news/recurringFeatures/trailMonth/archives/1004.html (accessed November 14, 2012).


[1] “GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail,” Greenville Rec, http://greenvillerec.com/swamprabbit (accessed November 14, 2012).

[2] “Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail,” Trail Link by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, http://www.traillink.com/trail/swamp-rabbit-tram-trail.aspx (accessed November 14, 2012).

[3] “App makes Swamp Rabbit Trail more User Friendly,” WYFF4.com, March 20, 2012, http://www.wyff4.com/App-Makes-Swamp-Rabbit-Trail-More-User-Friendly/-/9324882/10076192/-/item/0/-/k47jn4z/-/index.html (accessed November 14, 2012).

[4] Jenny Arnold, “Swamp Rabbit Trail is worth the ride from Spartanburg,” 85-26 Your Route to Entertainment, July 5, 2012, http://www.goupstate.com/article/20120705/ENT/207051004?tc=ar (accessed November 14, 2012).

[5] Cathleen Gallagher, “Historically Speaking: The History of the Swamp Rabbit Trail,” Travelers Rest Tribune, 2012, http://www.trtribune.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=430:historically-speaking-the-history-of-the-swamp-rabbit-trail&catid=67:historically-speaking&Itemid=157 (accessed November 14, 2012).

[6] “Greenways in Greenville: The Big Picture, Greenville Rec, http://greenvillerec.com/greenways-in-greenville-the-big-picture (accessed November 14, 2012).

[7] “Trail of the Month: April 2010,” Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, http://www.railstotrails.org/news/recurringFeatures/trailMonth/archives/1004.html (accessed November 14, 2012).

[8] Jenny Arnold.

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