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2015 Dawkins Rail Trail Carriage Ride

Conley’s Horse Photos

2015 Dawkins Rail Trail Carriage Ride

On October 24, 2015, a 9 mile portion of the Dawkins Rail Trail located in eastern Kentucky was closed to the public in order to allow a group of wagons and carriages to ride the trail. The trail is a part of the Kentucky State Park system and is currently 18 miles long. It was previously a railroad corridor that had been originally constructed in the early 1900s by the Dawkins Lumber Company to transport timber. Over the past few years the state of Kentucky has undertaken the effort to convert this corridor into a trail that can be used by hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders. Normally, wagons are not permitted on the trail for safety reasons due to the very limited space available to turn and/or pass other users. With special permission to allow the wagon and carriages to use the trail, this event was organized by Edith Conyers and Vicki Doucette and supported by the Royalton Trail Town committee, the Kentucky State Parks Department and the Friends of the Dawkins Line group. A total of 30 wagons were planned for, but because of bad weather in other parts of the state along with a few other reasons, the actual number of wagons or carriages registered was 21 (although I was only able to identify 18.) The ride left the Royalton trailhead in Magoffin County at 10AM and proceeded about 9 miles to a site where a tasty lunch was provided for all participants and their riders. Along the way, we crossed several very well constructed viaducts over valleys and creeks. We even crossed the Bert Combs Mountain Parkway on a raised viaduct. We also drove through the Gun Creek Tunnel which, according to the Ky State Parks website, is 662 feet long. In several spots, the trail runs alongside of or crosses highways which gave access to the many photographers and spectators who wanted to see and/or photograph the group. At each highway crossing, there were members of the local sheriffs department or rescue squads on hand to control traffic. After lunch, the wagons and carriages lined back up and retraced our steps back to the Royalton trailhead, arriving there about 6PM. A large group was waiting for our return with food and there was a live bluegrass band on stage to provide entertainment. Overall, this was a very well planned event and very enjoyable. The leaves cooperated and were probably at their peak in terms of color. In addition, the weather while terrible in most of the state, stayed mostly dry all day with only a few stray light showers through the day. If the talk of trying to make this into an annual event is successful, I know that I would love to do it again. By next year, the entire 36 miles should be completed and open and we may be able to visit entirely new portions of the trail. Click on the links below to view the photos I took during this event.

 

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2015 Dawkins Rail Trail Carriage Ride

2015 Dawkins Rail Trail Carriage Ride

 

 

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