The Little Miami Scenic Trail is a jewel in the 330-mile network of paved, off-road trails in Ohio’s Miami Valley. The 73-mile paved path runs between Springfield and Newtown (near Cincinnati), connecting a dozen towns and five counties along the way. It passes through beautiful state parks, picturesque scenery, old and new bridges and natural habitat.
If you are interested in a shorter trip, start at Xenia Station. Three other trails—the Creekside Trail, Xenia-Jamestown Connector and Prairie Grass Trail—radiate from Xenia like sunbeams, lending this charming town a reputation as the crossroads of Ohio trails.
Feeling energetic? Take in the Little Miami in one fell swoop, starting and ending at the southernmost trailhead in Avoca Park in the village of Terrace Park. This beautiful park has plenty of natural green space to relax in after one of the best rides Ohio has to offer.
The Little Miami Scenic Trail between Xenia and Newtown is also one of the longest components of the Ohio to Erie Trail. The planned 320-mile route, of which over 240 miles are complete and open for use, will eventually span Ohio from the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland to the Ohio River in Cincinnati.
As of July 2015, groundbreaking has occurred to extend the trail 3.2 miles farther south (closer to Cincinnati) from its current southern terminus at the Little Miami Golf Center in Newtown to State Route 32 and Beechmont Avenue. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2016. This will allow connections to be made to the Armleder Park Trail and the Lunken Airport Bike Path.
As you leave Terrace Park, a bridge takes you over US 50, and you soon come to Milford. Here, and for most of the southern portion, the Little Miami River is your companion. Just north of Milford a lovely 2,500-foot-long bridge carries you across the river toward Loveland. "Old Loveland," the quaint older section, is jam-packed with stores, cafes and even a bike shop. The trail is busy here, and traffic remains constant all the way past Hamilton Township's Fosters Park, where you'll find parking, restrooms, and shady large trees, to the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge. The bridge, named after a former governor, is the highest bridge in Ohio—a twin deck, arch truss bridge looming 239 feet above the river.
Near the town of Morrow, with its railroad depot and an ancient (but safe) iron trestle, the trail congestion ebbs. There is a lot of ground to cover between Morrow and Xenia, but don't miss Fort Ancient State Memorial, home to a large museum and 3.5 miles of mounds built by the Fort Ancient tribe. Just to the north is Caesar Creek State Park, with more than 70 miles of great hiking and bridle trails as well as canoe rentals.
The town of Corwin, at about mile 32, is a pleasant place to stop and recharge. This is the last trailhead before Xenia and Xenia Station, where mileage markers start at 0.
Xenia Station to Yellow Springs is an extraordinary 10.25-mile journey. Just 1 mile into the ride, Shawnee Park provides a great fountain, playgrounds, benches and restrooms; there's even a band shell. The trail here begins to see more traffic but remains wide to avoid overcrowding. The Xenia Station trailhead is a perfect backdrop for photos to prove the miles you have covered.
As you approach Yellow Springs, several 911 call boxes indicate a return to an urban setting. A little farther north, a historical marker tells about American abolitionist Moncure Daniel Conway, who briefly spent time in the Cincinnati area. On the left is the Antioch Grade School and its impressive contemporary sculpture garden. A little farther along the path is Glen Helen Park.
In downtown Yellow Springs, south of US 68, two converted train cabooses function as storefronts; north of the highway Yellow Springs Railroad Station now houses the Chamber of Commerce. The chamber hosts an unusual and fun feature: revolving art exhibits in the public rest rooms. Many Little Miami Scenic Trail users either turn around or stop here.
As it continues north, the trail has multiple road segments and can be confusing. The final leg of the trail from Yellow Springs Station to Springfield is about 7 miles. Start it off with a side trip east on West Jackson Road. The homemade ice cream at Young's Dairy is just 0.8 mile away on Springfield-Xenia Road and is a must for many trail users.
Several street crossings and some road riding are ahead, so take your time and watch for traffic. After you cross Possum Road, the trail curves to the left and turns north next to Springfield-Xenia Road. The road crossing for southbound trail travelers is unmarked. Bike lanes on the road start just across Leffel Lane though the official bike lanes start at the Springfield city limit.
After the bike lanes take you right on John Street, cross the street and pick up the rail-trail again. At Johnny Lytle Avenue turn right onto a bike route. Continue traveling east to South Plum Street. At this point go north until you get to Fair Street then turn left. Shortly turn right and go back to the trail. Pass through several underpasses to the corner of Center and Jefferson streets. Here the trail goes north to downtown Springfield's Heritage Center, which houses a library, museum store and the Springfield Arts Society.
The Heritage Center marks the end of the Little Miami Scenic Trail. With all 78 miles under your belt, or even just a sampling, it is plain to see why this trail is traveled by more Ohioans than any other trail in the state.
To reach the southern trailhead in Newtown: From I-275, take Exit 63 to OH 32 W/James A. Rhodes Appalachian Highway. After 4.1 miles, turn right onto Round Bottom Road and then turn left onto Valley Avenue. Continue a half mile until the road ends at the Little Miami Golf Center (3811 Newtown Rd.), where you will find the trailhead and parking.
Midtrail, Xenia Station is located on South Detroit Street (State Route 380) in Xenia, 1 mile south of the US 35 and US 68 intersection. Take US 68 south until it becomes State Route 380. Travel 1 mile and look for the caboose on the right. Turn right onto North Miami Avenue at the traffic signal and turn right again into the parking lot.
At the northern end of the trail, parking is available in Springfield at the Heritage Center of Clark County (117 S Fountain Ave.) and at Beatty Station (3200 Springfield-Xenia Rd.).