The Chuck Huckelberry Loop has earned the top spot in USA Today’s 2021 “10Best Readers’ Choice” travel award contest for Best Recreational Trail.
The Loop was nominated by a panel of experts from USA Today, the 10Best.com, expert contributors and other media sources, but it was ultimately crowned the winner thanks to members of the public who selected it as the Best Trail during a four-week online voting contest, which concluded Feb. 14.
When news of the contest was announced on The Loop’s Facebook page, users immediately started singing their praises for The Loop.
“I’ve ridden on The Loop, The Katy Trail in Missouri and the C&O Canal Towpath in Maryland. I’ve gone running on the 606 in Chicago. They’re all so different it’s pretty tough to compare them to each other,” said Christopher Crocker, a Loop user. “For ease of safely getting around a metro area on a bike, The Loop is tough to beat.”
“You got my vote!” Jamie Robinson said.
“Fabulous views, that’s for sure. And nature at its best,” Jonathan Celaya said.
The top ten winners in the Best Recreational Trail category include:
- Chuck Huckelberry Loop
- Virginia Creeper Trail – Abingdon, Va. to Damascus, Va.
- Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail – Austin, Texas
- Swamp Rabbit Trail – Taylors, S.C.
- Ke Ala Hele Makalae – Kauai, Hawaii
- Buffalo Bayou – Houston, Texas
- Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail – Sacramento, Calif.
- C&O Canal Towpath – Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Md.
- Great Allegheny Passage – Cumberland, Md. to Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Katy Trail – Machens, Mo. to Clinton, Mo.
“Receiving this designation is an honor to all of the county departments who have had a hand in the life of The Loop and a testament to its growing popularity nationwide,” said Deputy Pima County Administrator Carmine DeBonis, Jr. “We are proud to call The Loop ours and look forward to the increased recognition, tourism and economic benefits this designation will bring to our region.”
Measuring more than 136 miles, The Loop is the longest public recreation, multi-use path in the United States. It’s a system of paved, shared-use paths and short segments of buffered bike lanes built on top of soil cement banks along metro waterways and connecting the Rillito, Santa Cruz, and Pantano River Parks with the Julian Wash and Harrison Road Greenways. Pima County’s Regional Flood Control District built it and the Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department maintains it. Other County departments, such as Transportation, Environmental Quality and Health, feature it in some of their programs.
The Loop is a community amenity used by runners, walkers, cyclists, equestrians and other groups who enjoy the car-free paths for leisurely outings or as their connection to work and play. But locals aren’t the only ones who use it. Over the past decade, The Loop has become a major visitor attraction that contributes to and strengthens our local economy. It has even played a part in converting tourists into part-time residents.
The Loop also has received praise from the running community. In November 2019 the Road Runners Club of America named Tucson a “Runner Friendly Community” and recognized Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry for his role in the creation of The Loop.