My favorite part of the day is when I go for my 2 to 4 mile walk. It cleans the cobwebs out of my brain and lifts my spirits. Today I decided to head for the Hobo Trail. I don’t know the real name of the trail, but for 35 years we’ve called it the Hobo Trail. It starts at the Depot Restaurant (formerly the railroad depot in Alexandria) and winds its way around Lake Agnes to City Park.
Local lore says that back in the Depression, the rail-riding hobos would get off the boxcars at the depot and then walk on a dirt path around Lake Agnes to the public park where they would camp out at night before looking for work in the morning. There aren’t any more hobos riding the rails and the trail has been paved with asphalt, but I like to believe that the hobo spirits still walk the trail.
All the locals know the trail well. But if you’re a tourist, you probably won’t be able to figure it out without a little help. So here’s how you access the Hobo Trail:
First, park your car on 2nd and Broadway, right next to the statue of Big Ole and the Depot Restaurant.
Face east and take the trail on the left, not the right (that’s the Central Lakes Trail), and start to follow it around the lake.
Notice the turtle pond on the right side of the path . . . . . . and the lake on the left. Keep following the path around the lake.
Here is where the tourists lose heart and turn around because the trail leads to the rear parking lot of the local Mexican restaurant. Don't give up; just keep going and turn left.
Follow the alley, past the dumpsters, and through another parking lot.
Eventually, you will find the link to the Hobo Trail that leads to City Park.
Follow the trail along the lake.
Finally, you will arrive at the park near the bandstand.
You can walk all the way out to the point separating Lakes Agnes and Henry.
You can even see all the way across the lake to where you started, over by the Depot Restaurant.
Today, the only customers at the City Park swimming beach are two duck families.
Nobody’s at the fishing pier today.
I love the Hobo Trail. It’s not a very long walk—two miles total, out and back. But it’s a little bit of Alexandria’s history, kept alive by those hobo spirits and those of us who like to occasionally take a walk with them.