The Prairie Grass Trail is an important piece of the Ohio to Erie Trail
, the extensive cross-state, 320-mile trail. This beautifully maintained asphalt rail-trail segment stretches 29 miles between London and Xenia, generally following US 42. The northern trailhead is located in London, behind the senior citizen's center, and has a picnic pavilion and public restroom. The first mile west of London has several benches and another small picnic pavilion for trail users. The trail takes a rural flavor immediately upon leaving London. The corridor has been planted with natural prairie grasses, surrounded by flat, open farmland. In keeping with the prairie grass landscape, there are few trees, which makes it important to keep your water bottles full.
After 10.4 miles you reach the small town of South Charleston. As it passes through town the trail diverts onto sidewalks for 0.5 mile. The South Charleston trailhead is highlighted by the wonderfully restored train depot; it also offers picnic tables, water and restrooms. The almost 10 miles between South Charleston and Cedarville are dominated by huge fields of corn and soybeans as far as the eye can see. There is virtually no tree cover, so protect yourself against wind and sun.
The trail travels close to US 42 for much of the way and also shares the corridor with power lines owned by Dayton Power and Light (which allowed an easement on the corridor that made the trail possible). About 7 miles after leaving South Charleston you cross the county line from Clark into Greene County. In Cedarville, the trail travels beside Massie Park, with parking, a playground, water and restrooms.
The trail runs another 9 miles from Cedarville to the endpoint in Xenia. As you head out of town you pass a good-sized lake to the right that is separated from the trail by a high chain-link fence. Just before the crossing at Murdock Road, 1.7 miles out of Cedarville, there are a couple of benches and a nice overlook. This is a great rest stop, offering views of a small creek and the farms that surround the corridor. Keep an eye out for the monarch butterflies that are prevalent in the area.
At about the halfway mark the trail is shaded by trees flanking the route, a welcome respite from the summer sun. There is a busy crossing of Business Route 35 coming into the town of Xenia. Note that the bridge just across Jasper Road is made of fiber-reinforced composite materials, the first of its kind in Ohio. The final mile or so has many road crossings; follow the well-placed signs.
The trail's endpoint is at Xenia Station, a wonderfully restored train depot. The station is also the hub of Green County's extensive trail system. From here you can head east to Dayton on the Creekside Trail
or south to Cincinnati or north to Springfield on the Little Miami Scenic Trail
The trailhead in London is behind the senior center that allows overflow parking in their lot. If you plan to park here overnight, you must inform either the London City Police at 740-852-1414 or the Madison County Sheriff at 740-852-1212 of your plans and give them your license plate number. Take Interstate 70 to Urbana-London Road south. Turn right onto West High Street, then turn left onto Midway Road. The trailhead is on the right.
The Cedarville trailhead can be accessed from US 42. As you enter Cedarville go straight across SR 72. Take a right onto East Street and look for Massie Park and the trailhead on the left.