Missouri’s Ruby Jack Trail, located in the southwestern part of the state, near Joplin, runs 16 miles from the town of Carthage, Missouri to the Kansas state line. Although the entire length of the trail is open to the public, the western portion is pretty rough. The first several miles of the trail opened in 2008, near Carthage, and the next segment, 8 miles, will be finished this year, according to the Carthage Press:
Carthage’s Ruby Jack Trail has proven so successful that phase two will likely be launched early next month.
“It’s been a huge undertaking,” said Braden Horst, secretary of the Joplin Trails Coalition, a group that oversees both the Carthage trail as well as the Frisco Greenway Trail, which intersects nearby Joplin and Webb City.
Both trails are so-called “Rails to Trails” projects, meaning they are former railroads converted into multi-use trails. The trails are maintained by the Coalition and donations from local individuals and businesses.
Ruby Jack Trail is 16 miles long and snakes its way west from Carthage to the Kansas state line. But 13 of those 16 miles are extremely rough, and caution is used for those who try to job or mountain bike its length. Walkers, runners and bikers now regularly use phase one of the project, three miles of packed crushed rock.
Phase two, an additional eight miles, will make its way to Oronogo, located north of Webb City, consisting of finer, smoother crushed rock. Phase three, which is still well down the road, will make its way through Carl Junction, “paving” the final eight miles with crushed rock, and ending at the Sunflower State’s border. [ read more ]
Here’s a map of the Ruby Jack Trail:
Although the public is free to use the trail, the Joplin Trails Coalition warns: “All 16 miles of the trail are currently open for hiking and mountain biking, but the trail is very rough and a lot of work needs to be done before it can be used by all types of bikes. Please be careful when hiking or biking on the trail.”
It’s unclear if there are any plans to continue the trail on the Kansas side of the state line…