The Fairfield Heritage Trail winds through and connects the community of Lancaster. It links a college, high school, junior high school and elementary school, as well as numerous parks and shopping and dining opportunities along its 9.5-mile path.
Well-maintained, the asphalt trail begins at the Ohio University Lancaster campus parking lot and heads south along the edge of campus. A small waterway, Fetters Run, borders the trail to the east. One-third of a mile from the trailhead is the John Bright #2 covered bridge, built in 1881 in nearby Carroll and moved to this site in 1988. Continue on your way to reach John Bright #1, another bridge, which was built by the Hocking Metal Bridge Company. Continuing on you pass Lancaster High School and its many athletic fields and tennis courts, an exercise course and the football stadium, all paralleling Arbor Valley Drive. After another 0.25 mile you cross Fetters Run via the painstakingly restored McCleery Covered Bridge, upon which you reach Thomas Ewing Junior High School.
A well-signed crosswalk guides you across Fair Avenue, where the trail then passes among a beautiful grove of trees before entering a neighborhood. The route becomes a painted bike lane once you turn south onto Franklin Street. At mile 1.5, cross 6th Avenue and ride through Lanreco Park, where the paved bike trail begins again. A quarter mile around the park brings you to a busy crossing of Cherry Street, so use caution at this junction.
The trail then passes over Baldwin Run on a bridge, at which point the trail transitions to a sidewalk. Keep an eye out for Goslin Street, which you follow for a short distance until the asphalt trail reappears on the right of the street. A shopping center dominates the landscape to the left before the trail dips beneath Main Street and continues south to a bridge crossing of Baldwin Run into Mary Burnham Park (baseball fields, basketball court, playground, picnic area, parking).
At mile 2.5 you leave Mary Burnham Park and cross active railroad tracks. For the next 0.25 mile the trail runs along the same tracks, a nice section of rail-with-trail. The Fairfield Heritage Trail then veers off the active corridor and, for the next mile, crosses several streets, while hugging the banks of the Hocking River. At mile 3.7 you come to Cenci Park and Cenci Lake, where you can fish and watch wildlife. There is parking and a 0.5-mile paved loop trail around the lake.
After leaving the park, the trail continues for just over another mile past Maher Park, across a well-preserved rail bridge, the Talmadge School, and then to Olivedale Park and Martens Park before taking a short hop onto West Main Street. At the Hocking River the trail leaves the street and runs along the river past the ball fields and city pool at Miller Park. After passing under 6th Street the trail keeps on the river side, goes under Fair Avenue then crosses the river once more and has a connection to the Lancaster Plaza shopping center. From here the newest extension of the trail is a well signed on road route along Beacon Avenue. At Hocking Park the trail takes a right for a short distance along Meda Avenue. The trail then goes off-road again and crosses the river once more. This next section goes alongside some picturesque wetlands where many birds are often seen. The final stretch goes from the wetlands, under a railroad bridge and out to Ety Road. A sidewalk is built along Ety road from the end of the trail which will take you to the commercial district on Ety.
To reach the trailhead at Ohio University Lancaster from Interstate 270, take US 33 south toward Lancaster. After 14.2 miles follow Business Route 33 to Lancaster. Go 7.3 miles and turn left onto Main Street. Take another left after 0.4 mile onto High Street. After 2.1 miles turn right onto College Avenue. The trailhead is on the left at the university campus.
To reach the Olivedale Park trailhead from Interstate 270, take US 33 south toward Lancaster. After 14.2 miles follow Business Route 33 to Lancaster. Go 7.3 miles and turn right onto Lincoln Avenue. After 0.6 mile turn left onto Boving Road. Olivedale Park is 0.25 mile down Boving on the right.