The debut of the Waterford Trail this month marks a milestone in Rock Hill's efforts to promote a hidden gem.
Until it opened, access points to the Catawba River were scarce.
Now, outdoor lovers hope adding 1.2 miles of trail will open the area to a wider audience.
Linking the Waterford Trail to nearby River Park and business campuses will achieve what some describe as a synergy between recreation and commerce. Rock Hill's 3D Systems supported the building of the trail, which essentially runs from its parking lot down to the water.
"That river corridor is just absolutely beautiful," said David Shook, co-owner of Old Town Outfitters. "The public's realizing what a great resource we have in our back door. Now, you can actually walk it and see it."
Waterford's 18-hole golf course opened about a decade ago. 3D Systems, a high-tech digital imaging company formerly located in California, moved to a neighboring campus. The company eventually will employ about 145 people.
The trail should draw day hikers looking to spend an afternoon outdoors. Over time, the ultimate goal is to build a trail network linking key points around town.
"It's another way of connecting the river eventually to downtown," said John Taylor of the city's Parks, Recreation and Tourism. "This is another piece in that puzzle of getting from destination to destination."