Tucker Creek Walking / Bike Trail
The Tucker Creek Walking/Bike Trail is located in Southwest Conway, Arkansas. Its furthest western point, at 280 feet above sea level, is just beyond Hogan Lane and to the north of Wal-Mart, while its easternmost point lies at Salem Road, which is at 300 feet above sea level. There is a second leg that splits off to the north just after the trail passes under Country Club Road that ends at Reedy Road. The paved path has parking and access points at Salem, Wal-Mart, and Bainbridge Park.
Poles and Chains prevent motored vehicles from using the Trail, but bikers, folks in roller blades, skate boarders, dog walkers, and runners are common. At the Salem Trailhead, there is a pavilion with picnic tables and a water fountain. About half way down the trail are restroom facilities. There are also footprints painted on the path that represent the animal wildlife in the area and mosaics games ranging from hopscotch to a search for the hidden animals. The trail from Wal-Mart to Salem is usable at night thanks to lighting.
The trail is a mile and a quarter long, which can be kept track of by the wooden stake markers every quarter of a mile. It runs along a small creek that provides soothing sounds for a walk, jog, bike ride, or roller skating excursion. There are two bridges across the creek; the first is connected to the trail while the second is a street passing above the trail and creek. The trail splits into two different paved paths after the tunnel under the second bridge. The trail to the left continues next to the creek and finishes in the parking lot behind Walmart after crossing Hogan, while the way to the right ends on Reedy Road. Most people take the trail to the left, while the right one has harder curves and steeper hills. It crosses a couple streets and goes through neighborhoods in the area. Going up and down hills, between gates and grassy areas, it is perfect for a bike ride. All of the trail runs through some slightly wooded area, although it is still very open. Squirrels can be seen darting across the path, and there are swarms of flying bugs that can become bothersome in the early morning or around dusk or after. Many people stop for a break or just to enjoy the afternoon at the few benches that are placed along the trail. There are orange tinted lights that follow the trail for those who prefer the night or early morning, although some of them are spaced out so far that riding a bike can be a little nerve-wrecking. Painted animals and black wooden boards shaped like animals dot the trail, including a huge silhouette of a fish painted on the side of the first bridge.
While backless, wooden benches populate the trail, a backed, green bench near Hogan Lane. stands out. It was donated by Brownie Troop 308. Similarly, Eagle Scout Michael J. Hinds of Troop 71 organized a work crew to build and erect the 9 quarter-mile markers along all three trail legs that replaced the eroded, stone markers that followed only parts of the trail. Other nameless community members have left their mark on the trail from those who constructed a mound for a bike ramp to young aspiring artists. The graffiti ranges from kids messing around with spray paint under the Country Club Bridge to the face of Joker, which is slowly fading away, between the bridge and Bainbridge Park.
Tucker: The Man
Daniel Franklin Tucker (1873-1933) was a well-known famer and mailman in Faulkner County in the early 20th century. Frank, as he was called, married Louisa Catherine Glenn in 1895 at the age of 22. They lived in a house on the corner of College Ave. and Hubbard Rd., not far from Salem’s Trailhead, and owned land that stretched as far as where the trail that bears his name lies today. Together, Frank and Louisa had five children. Today, he rests in Oak Grove Cemetery in Conway.
Tucker: The Creek
Its headwaters begin from Cauldron Creek near Heber Springs in Cleburne County. It flows 59 miles southwest to empty into the Arkansas River. Along the way, it merges with North Fork Creek near Quitman and changes its name to Tucker Creek at Gatlin Park, which is off Tyler St. in Conway.
The City of Conway is planning to extend the trail from Salem as far north as Tyler Street. It is also looking to building a trail that runs from the Tucker Creek Trail northward to Irby Road. These acts, in addition to others, are Conway's attempt to be listed as Bicycle friendly by the League of American Bicyclists. It will take a few years for their efforts to be complete.