LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Henderson will unveil a long-anticipated 4.5-mile segment of the Union Pacific Railroad trail in a ceremony on March 19.

The new section of the $18 million Harry Reid UPRR Trail links Acacia Park, the Arroyo Grande Sports Complex and Cornerstone Park as it runs along the railroad tracks from just southwest of the interchange at the 215 Beltway and I-515 all the way to Pecos Road at Green Valley Park.

Early reviews indicate the trail is a great place to explore.

“It’s awesome,” said one biker who has been on the trail. “It’s like you’re riding a whole different highway.”

The trail is sure to become a new favorite, joining the well known River Mountain Loop, the Amargosa Trail and Pittman Wash.

It opens up connections to the Pittman Wash trail system and takes bicyclists off busy Henderson roads with a new bike-pedestrian overpass at Stephanie Street, along with tunnels under Valle Verde Drive and Green Valley Parkway. On the south, the trail connects to the existing UPRR trail that runs from Acacia Park all the way to Nevada State College.

It’s a big addition to the 220-mile trail system in Henderson, and it took a lot to make it happen.

“We are thrilled to open the extension of The Harry Reid UPRR Trail to the community as it is a true testament of our commitment to premier parks and recreation services and experiences,” said City of Henderson Parks and Recreation Director Shari Ferguson.

(Map: City of Henderson)

Construction on the 12-foot-wide asphalt trail started just as the pandemic came in April, 2020. But planning began years before that because the majority of the trail falls in the Union Pacific right-of-way corridor. Safety is at a premium when designing a path that shares space with freight trains.

“UPRR engineers were required to approve the entire trail system,” according to Henderson spokeswoman Madeleine Skains. “This process was performed years prior to construction. During construction, 47 UPRR permits were obtained for all the utilities that needed to be adjusted within UPRR’s right-of-way. The dynamics of building within the UPRR right-of-way required daily coordination between Las Vegas Paving, City of Henderson, UPRR and the railroad flaggers.”

The trail’s end at Pecos Road is an easy ride on Warm Springs Road from Sunset Park. The midway connection provides a good link to get to the Clark County Wetlands Park via the Pittman Wash trail. And the UPRR Trail continues from Acacia Park, with access to the nearby River Mountains Loop.

“The expansion of the UPRR trail supports the City of Henderson’s goal of enhancing the quality of life by having a park within a half-mile of every resident,” Skains said. “Residents now have additional access and connectivity to parks and other trails where they can safely enjoy the outdoors through walking, running, hiking or biking.”

“The trail is named after Harry Reid for his efforts in protecting and providing parks and open spaces throughout the community,” Skains said.

“The trail now seamlessly connects community members from one end of Henderson to the other and even to Lake Mead National Park,” Ferguson said. “Residents will be able to bike, walk or run the trail to many City of Henderson amenities such as parks, libraries and much more.”