The Conotton Creek Trail is 11.4 miles of scenic serenity in northeast Ohio. The trail models rustic beauty, and its careworn pavement covers a flat, straight route. Several particularly rough spots may bounce you back to consciousness, but the rest of this trail lulls you into a state of relaxation and chases your stress away. If you are searching for rejuvenation, look no further than this trail.
Riding from quaint Bowerston east to Jewett makes your return trip slightly downhill. You're also likely to encounter a lot of wildlife along the way in addition to animals of a tamer variety: horses and cattle graze on the rolling hills of neighboring farms along the trail's southern edge. East of Bowerston several ponds draw beavers, ducks, geese and great blue herons. Lining the sides of the trail between Bowerston and Jewett, more than 40 birdhouses attract tree swallows and bluebirds.
The trail's crown jewel is the covered bridge in the town of Scio, the approximate midpoint. For bridge aficionados this is as good as it gets. This unique covered bridge spans the short section across Conotton Creek, fitting in perfectly in rural Ohio. Pay attention to the fine craftsmanship of this structure; it is a true testament to the labor required to span this waterway. The waters below the bridge eventually feed into the Ohio River, as well as into the Mississippi River more than 500 miles away.
The final few miles into the town of Jewett is just as calming and refreshing as those from Bowerston to Scio. Jewett, similar to Bowerston, is merely a speck on a map, but the town was an important cog in the wheel of this region's development. Jewett was not only an important stop on the railroad, like the other towns you pass, but it was also once home to a streetcar manufacturer and an opera house.
The old railroad operated from the 1860s until the early 1990s, when the line operated by the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad was merged with the Ohio Central Railroad line that ran parallel through the valley for approximately 12 miles. Now the two lines share track through the valley. Trains on the line transported wool, ferried troops during wartime, shipped iron ore from Great Lakes ports to the steel mills of the Ohio Valley and, for more than 100 years, hauled coal mined from Harrison County to markets in all directions.
Today the trains traveling alongside the trail carry coal, raw materials and manufactured goods, and, during the colorful months of autumn, they carry passengers on weekend excursions powered by steam locomotives.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the trailhead in Bowerston from Interstate 77, take the exit for State Route 36. Follow SR 36 east to SR 250 east. Take SR 151 northeast toward Bowerston. Before entering Bowerston, you will see signs directing you to the trailhead on the right side of SR 151.
To reach the trailhead in Jewett from Interstate 77, take the exit for State Route 36 and follow it east to SR 250 east. Take SR 151 into Jewett and to the well-marked trailhead on the east side of town.