MLK’s Spirit Immortalized in Outdoor Recreation Parks Across U.S.

January 18, 2019

There are no limits to define Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy as we celebrate MLK Day of Service in the U.S. on Monday, Jan. 21. Among Dr. King’s many lasting visions more than 50 years after his death is to create solutions to social problems through a “beloved community.”

“Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth,” thekingcenter.org writes. “(He) popularized the term and invested it with a deeper meaning which has captured the imagination of people of goodwill all over the world.”

MLK’s spirit lives beyond merely the third Monday in January. All year long numerous recreation areas and hiking trails across the country are named in his honor with the express goal of bringing communities together through outdoor sports and activities.

While approximately 900 street names honor MLK across the U.S., here are a sampling of recreational areas for celebrating the outdoors and creating new adventures in the spirit of your local communities while visiting on Jan. 21:

MLK Drive Trail, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Falls Bridge is the trail endpoint of a 4.3-mile stretch open for the likes of biking and inline skating.

Martin Luther King Jr. Trail, Iowa

A 2.3-mile trail in Polk County, Iowa, is located – naturally – just off MLK Jr. Parkway. The asphalt trail is a perfect choice for biking.

Martin Luther King Park Trail Loop, Oregon

Martin Luther King Park Trail Loop is a 3-mile loop trail located near Corvallis that features a river, plus year-round trails that spiderweb their way around the woods behind the park. Ideal for biking.

Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, California

Next to the commercial bustle of Oakland International Airport is a 741-acre park leased from the Port of Oakland. Throughout the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline there are paved trails suitable for hiking, bicycling, running and jogging. Glimpses of the sunset reportedly are best caught at Arrowhead Marsh and Garretson Point.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, Minnesota

The 18.5-acre Minneapolis complex has something for everyone: baseball, football and softball fields, in addition to basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Square Park, Missouri

Martin Luther King, Jr. Square Park was dedicated ten years to the day after Dr. King died and hosts the annual MLK Jr. Day Nature Walk; a 2.5-mile restorative walk along the banks of beautiful Brush Creek in the company of others and the stillness of nature.

Martin Luther King Equality Trail, Wyoming

Walking, hiking, biking and snowshoeing are only a few of the ways you can make use of an abundance of trails throughout Jackson, Wyoming. The trail system in Jackson features three distinct trails, the first and largest of which is Falling Waters Trail. Placed where Michigan Central Railroad once stood, the Falling Waters Trail is a 10.6-mile linear park connecting the Village of Concord to the City of Jackson and features a 3.4-mile stretch known as the Martin Luther King Equality Trail.

Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park, Maryland

Silver Spring is home to this 95-acre park and its three walking-path trails. Anglers can also drop their rods in a pond stocked with trout.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, Florida

The serene Winter Park setting encompasses 23 acres of beautiful scenery, sports and recreation facilities, and an extra-large playground, and includes a jogging/walking trail around Lake Mensden.

MLK Racecourse, Texas

Lubbock offers an 11-mile beginner singletrack mountain bike course at an elevation of just over 3,100 feet. Watch which way you go, though. “If you can carry enough speed, there’s a steep, loose headwall straight ahead or a twisty, slight incline trail to the right. After a few sweeping turns, there is another junction,” singletracks.com writes. “The right is the easy way. The left drops through a rocky section and runs beside Canyon Lakes Drive for about 100 yards, turns right and climbs to another junction.”