Silver Comet Trail in Polk County

Much of the Silver Comet Trail extends through Polk County from the Alabama state line to the Paulding County line, and further on off the map to Cobb County. / Contributed

Start out from the Silver Comet Trailhead in downtown Rockmart, and head eastward from the covered pedestrian bridge at Seaborn Jones Park, past Church Street Manor on the opposite bank.

Follow the twists and turns and find scenic spots to stop and see the creek wind its way toward downtown, where benches for pedestrians wait for someone to sit, or continue onward to Paulding and Cobb counties.

Leave westward, and the trail brings visitors and locals alike right into downtown Cedartown, and then outward again toward the Alabama state line, where the Chief Ladiga trail begins.

This stretch is the longest in the trio of counties who built the Silver Comet Trail, taking the old rail line that ran through Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties with some land purchases to fill in gaps to provide a 61.5 mile stretch of walking and riding trail that once served as a line from the south all the way to New York.

Now it is a trail that draws visitors from around the country and world, thousands of people that stop by and see Jeri Purdy on the weekends at the Silver Comet Trailhead. She said in a stop by the trailhead office that people have come from all over to walk or ride bicycles on the trail, even skateboard.

“I keep in touch with people from all over these days who I’ve met here in Rockmart who are using the trail,” she said.

Though local residents enjoy walking and riding on the trail just as much as visitors, Purdy said it’s the people who come to Rockmart from out of town who bring in big bucks to spend at restaurants and shops. They even check in with her, and she’ll let Rockmart Police know to keep an eye on their cars when they patrol the area at night.

It is service like this – and the recent installation of lighting in downtown Rockmart that provides additional safety feature for trail riders returning to their vehicles late – that keep people coming to explore Polk County and make a stop on the trail, instead of continuing their 20-plus mile ride to Alabama.

They’ll soon have more trail to explore and connect with Polk County.

Last year officials announced plans to grow the trail eastward toward the Atlanta Beltline trail, along with an extension announced from the west in Gadsden, Alabama to connect their downtown area with the Chief Ladiga trail, which extends to the state line with Georgia.

What makes those extensions more useful are events like the Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Skate Challenge, set for a 2019 return through the area. The 188 mile long race is coming up in late May and brings long riding skateboarders from around the world.