Carving a semi-circular route between Butler and Mansfield, the Richland B&O Trail zigzags across the same several roads and weaves in and out of rural landscapes, moving northwest from Butler. From Hitchman Park in Butler, commemorative benches depict the history of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway that operated on the route. Your first of several crossings of State Route 97 is just 1.5 miles into the trip. Continue on cross Elm Street and leave the town of Butler.
After traveling through a wooded area you cross the clear fork of the Mohican River via a bridge offering beautiful views of the river valley. On the far side of the slow-moving river, the trail takes you into quiet, rural fields. At the next crossing over State Route 97 you have a stop sign and motorists have a warning sign. Crossing the river again on a unique curved-deck iron trestle bridge brings you into Bellville, about 5 miles from the start. Just over the bridge, the Bellville trailhead is located in a restored railroad depot built in 1906. The depot offers restrooms, parking and some interesting information about area history.
Several more road crossings are ahead, as is a view south toward downtown Bellville, with its classic small-town main street shopping district. After crossing SR 97 again, the trail crosses Alexander Road. If you need a refreshment stop, there are plenty of restaurants; just take a right at this crossroads. Continuing on, take the trail and sail below Interstate 71. The following 2-plus miles are serene, with only one rural road crossing and a few farm fields breaking up the pleasant forested environment.
Coming out of the forest, the trail parallels South Mill Street for about 1 mile and passes a water treatment plant just before arriving in Lexington. The Lexington Senior Center Depot on the left side of the trail offers a restroom, and you can fill up your water bottleyour last opportunity for nearly 7 miles. Soon the trail passes through another forested and passes a small lake, though some road crossings will keep you on your toes. Deer Park, at mile 15, has basic trailhead amenities, and shortly after the park you reach Home Road Marsh. The marsh is home to an abundance of bird species, from swallow to hawk, as well as an assortment of other animals, including turtles, snakes, deer and raccoons. Benches offer a nice place to rest and observe wildlife in marsh.
A trailhead at Millsboro Road, with parking and emergency call phones, welcomes you to Mansfield. Crossing Millsboro Road, you enter a wooded area with a creek flowing at your left. The trail dips under Park Avenue West. You can access the trail here but the approaches are very steep. Another underpass carries you under West 4th Street.
The northern end of this trail is lovely. North Lake Park, with a shallow pond, attracts geese and even a few anglers trying for the stocked fish. Restrooms, a year-round heated pavilion, playground, tennis courts and a lake make for a nice ending to your journey.
Parking and Trail Access
The trailhead in Butler is in Hitchman Park. From Interstate 71 take State Route 97 east toward Bellville. After about 8 miles SR 97 becomes Main Street in Butler. Cross Elm Street and look for Hitchman Park, just south of the gas station, on the right.
The Mansfield trailhead, in North Lake Park, is accessible by taking I-71 to State Route 13 for 5 miles to downtown Mansfield. Turn left on West 4th Street and go 1.2 miles; turn right onto Parkway Drive. You will be forced onto a one-way to the right on Hope Road. North Lake Park is to the right after this.
A great early summer walk from North Park Lake TH to Butler
Visiting in Mansfield, I discovered the Gorman Nature Center -- beautiful and nice hiking -- and the Richland B&O trail. I'm used to Ozark's hiking so the paved, relatively level B&O sounded like a distance challenge. The flora and fauna were wonderful ...
Mansfield to Lucas April 18,2012
I rode from Mansfield to lucas and back today, Wed April 18, 2012. The pavement on the trail is in good condition and there were several riders out on this beautiful sunny day. I stopped at the I71 and Rt. 97 exchange for lunch at Wendy's on my way. This ...
Latest visit to the Richland B&O
It’s been a few years since I rode this trail. Myself and two friends rode the trail yesterday. I thought I would give an update.
We decided to ride the full length of the trail and started at North Lake Park in Mansfield. We found the trailhead with ...