Given its artistic features, hilltop vistas, and recreational facilities, it is easy to see why this 2-mile walking trail is so popular with Temple residents of all ages.
The Lions Park Nature Trail offers the user a diverse amount of topography, an awesome view, and unique spaces to walk through and see. Some of these spaces include art that fits the more typical user within the park (dog and nature lovers) and other spaces offer differing types of vegetation due to changing soil types and land forms.
The lower part of the trail meanders through the floodplain of Bird Creek which holds wetland areas and a native pecan grove in addition to recreational amenities such as ball fields and playgrounds. The upper part of the trail located where the elevation rises to a high hill overlooking the neighboring town holds a cedar grove, pavilions and a fishing pond.
The trail has two types of surfacing. The lower lying loop of the trail is concrete with the upper elevation loop being crushed limestone. The lower loop is 1 ¼ mile long with the upper loop being ¾ mile long.
The trail is located in a Community Park serving the residents of Temple and residents of Central Texas. This trail is always in use and has attracted a large number of dog walkers, exercise enthusiast and nature lovers.
The trail now has one outdoor room that it meanders through. The intent is here is to define spaces along the trail that provide different experiences for the trail user. The existing room is made of boulders and benches. Bradford Pear trees donated and planted by the local Lions Club make up the walls of the room and artwork provides a nice finishing touch.
The trail primarily serves Temple, Texas which holds a population of just over 60,000. The town has one of the largest medical facilities in the State and has a very diverse socioeconomic make-up. Walking is the highest priority to the citizens of Temple as they have responded to survey after survey requesting additional trails like the one at Lions Park.
The trail was built with grant funding from Texas Parks and Wildlife along with the City’s matching funds. The surfacing chosen was chosen primarily due to maintenance concerns and thus far, maintenance has been an easy task in comparison to other soft surface trails in town.
The trail is used in all types of events and activities including triathlons, walks for the cure, Easter egg hunts and various other local and regional events as planned by Parks and Leisure Services, Scott and White Hospital and many other local organizations.
Maintenance of the trail has been fairly simple thus far as the lower loop is relatively maintenance free at this point with only point areas mowed routinely. The upper loop within the cedar grove, which is primarily base material and crushed limestone, is smoothed with a small box blade periodically by the parks maintenance staff. In addition, the local Disc Golf Association and area Adopt-a-Park participants help to ensure that the trail is free of debris.
This trail serves primarily park users. However, a bike lane connection is easily made from the trail to the main collector level street by the park which has a bike lane provided. Future additional pedestrian trails are planned to connect via a water utility corridor being made to the north of the park - this will allow a greater connection to adjacent neighborhoods through wooded areas north of Lions Park.