NOTE: Although other segments of the North Coast Inland Trail may permit equestrians, this segment does not.
This portion of North Coast Inland Trail, managed by the Sandusky County Park District, includes 23.25 miles of paved trail from Elmore to Bellevue, through the towns of Lindsey, Fremont and Clyde. This section of the developing 65-mile North Coast Inland Trail is divided into two segments: Elmore to Fremont and Fremont to Bellevue, which are connected via a marked road route along the city streets of Fremont, which if included brings the trail's total length to 28 miles. The corridor is open all year and is plowed during winter, making cross-country skiing prohibitive in this segment.
The 12.75 miles from Park Avenue in Fremont through Clyde to the west edge of Bellevue serves up a slice of corporate America (Whirlpool and Heinz have factories here) with a heaping side of down-home Ohio countryside. Most of this section is a rail-with-trail, with an active rail line paralleling your path. Begin in Fremont at the corner of Park and Hayes Avenues, just more than 0.5 mile east of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and Library, or at Roger Young Park on Front Street, which connects to the main trail via a paved riverside path. A beautiful bicycle and pedestrian bridge carries you to the east bank of the Sandusky River. In the early spring when walleye run the river, you will see eager fishermen in the waters below. If Fremont triggers memories of hotdogs and french fries, blame it on the familiar fragrance wafting on the breeze from the Heinz Ketchup factory.
Just 1.5 miles into the trip you reach the picnic shelters, ball fields and playground in Biggs-Kettner Memorial Park. The park is the main access point for the trail and the site of the Fremont Community Recreation Complex. Refill water bottles or take a shade break beneath the many mature trees.
If you are starting here, you have the option of heading west to the Sandusky River bridge and the presidential library or turning east toward Clyde. Heading directly east from Fremont, you can look forward to 6.5 miles of rail-with-trail that is flat, paved and sprinkled with farms. Wildlife and natural wildflowers are abundant along the trail, and you may see many birds, squirrels, rabbits and even an occasional deer.
Arriving in Clyde you are greeted by the world's largest Whirlpool washing machine factory on the left side of the trail. Nearby bicycle parking areas are used by Whirlpool employees who commute to work via the rail-trail. The next mile of the trail winds through neighborhoods and passes through a quaint park near the historical downtown. There are a few restaurants available if you want an out-and-back trip with a lunch stop in the middle.
Beyond downtown Clyde is the newest section of this trail which extends 4.75 miles to the outskirts of Bellevue. After passing several factories on the east side of Clyde the trail slopes slightly through a wooded area, then returns to a flat and straight path along a farm field and tree-lined landscape. At CR 292 (Riddle Road) you will find a newly constructed trailhead parking lot, beyond which the trail continues for another half mile before ending at CR 177 on the westernmost edge of Bellevue. Those wishing to connect to the unpaved Huron County segment of the NCIT should turn south off the trail onto CR 292 and follow a marked road route that leads trough the city of Bellevue to that trail's western terminus.
The 10.5 miles from Elmore to Fremont serves up a slice of small village America and more Ohio countryside. From Fremont, the trail begins at the Walter Avenue trailhead parking lot and proceeds west through the villages of Lindsey and Elmore, passing parks in each, before ending just west of the Portage River. The small portion west of the river is unpaved, the only such section on this trail. The majority of the trail is lined by trees on one or both sides, with a couple bridges and even a bench or two for resting. It also passes by Wooded Acre Campgrounds between Fremont and Lindsey.
As you approach the village of Elmore, you pass by the beautiful Sugar Creek Golf Course. Upon entering Elmore, there is a bike shop right next to the trail and also an ice cream and sandwich shop: I Scream On Your Left, now with WIFI available. Downtown Elmore is less than a block north from the trail on Rice Street, with several antique shops, a coffee shop and a small restaurant and pub. The public library is also just about a block away, also with Internet access. Down Rice Street to the south is Tina's Carryout, where snacks and cold beverages are available. The trailside park in Elmore also features a restored railroad depot, serving as a reminder of the trail's history as a former rail line.
Parking and Trail Access
The only official trail access in Fremont is at the Fremont Community Recreation Complex at 600 St. Joseph Street. From State Route 20 turn south on St. Joseph Street and continuing about 0.75 mile until it ends at the park and recreation center. Trail access and parking are in the southeast corner of the park's parking lot.
To reach the trail endpoint in Clyde, take State Route 20 to Vine Street. Take Vine 0.5 mile south until it crosses the trail just after Eaton Road. Parking is available in multiple areas.
To access the section between Fremont through Lindsey and Elmore, you'll find trailheads, a parking lot and restrooms in Lindsey at Wendell Miller Park downtown (off SR 590), as well as at the trail end in Elmore at Walter Ory Park (near SR 51), which also has parking and restrooms.