The Kipton to Elyria rail-trail is a 13-mile paved path and part of the 65-mile North Coast Inland Trail. The corridor is classic rail-trail: flat and mostly straight.
Heading northeast from Kipton's downtown community park and restored depot, you travel only 50 feet before encountering a plaque commemorating the Great Kipton Train Wreck. This was the scene of an 1891 train collision in which eight people died. The wreck was blamed on the station engineer's watch, which was slow by four minutes and caused him to delay moving one of the trains to a separate track. Railroad officials hired prominent Cleveland jeweler Webb Ball to investigate railroad timekeeping and institute precision performance and inspection standards. Locals credit Ball's capable work with the origin of the much-used idiom "on the ball."
Heading toward Oberlin you pass rural homes and take in sweeping views of a community golf course. Before entering Oberlin the trail turns off the rail corridor and onto country roads for less than 1 mile. The on-road bike lanes are well defined, traffic is light and the route is easy to negotiate.
The rail line picks up again in the beautiful college town of Oberlin. The trail travels through the town's central park, with drinking fountains and a playground, and passes Oberlin's restored train depot. Past Oberlin, the vista becomes rolling farmland, with herds of cattle and roaming horses. You also pass rural homesteads and are welcomed by the baying of kenneled hounds. Birdlife along the trail includes cardinals, turkey vultures, bluebirds, warblers and vireos.
The trail ends in Elyria when it hits Industrial Parkway. Plans are afoot to extend this trail in both directions between Elyria and Toledo.
Parking and Trail Access
The Kipton trailhead is easy to reach from US 20 by taking State Route 511 north for just over 0.5 mile to downtown Kipton. Park on the left in Kipton Community Park on Rosa Street.
To reach the Oberlin trailhead from US 20, follow SR 58 north to downtown Oberlin. There is a parking lot on the left at the Oberlin Depot.
Kipton toward Oberlin
Elyria, Oberlin and Kipton
As a novice rider, I really enjoyed this trail. Straight and mostly flat with very gradual inclines, the trail takes you through great farmland and small towns. Be careful at intersections. A lot of the trail is without shade, so an early start keeps ...
Elyria to Kipton
Words can not describe or do justice to this flat and easy to ride trail.
You must be careful as many of the streets to cross are highways. One especially is very blind. Signs warn you of this.
People are friendly to bikers there. Traffic stopped ...