The Scioto Trail is an early urban greenway at its best. The 10-mile multiuse trail hugs the banks of the Scioto River and connects parks, links with other trails and offers fabulous views of downtown Columbus. Portions of the route are considered the state's oldest rail-trail.
The trail starts just north of State Route 104 and follows the west side of the Scioto River. However, the best place to park and access the trail is at Berliner Park, across the river from German Village. The park is a hot spot for team sports, with ball diamonds and athletic fields. From the park you can travel north or south on the rail-trail.
If you head south, the trail travels though lush forest all the way to the endpoint near State Route 104. Going north takes you to downtown Columbus. The start of this section is also densely forested, making it easy to forget that you are traveling in a large city. At Greenlawn Avenue you can ride or walk straight across the street or descend a steep slope below it to get to the other side. Once you get onto Greenlawn Avenue, cross the Scioto River on the Greenlawn Avenue Bridge. The bridge has a great bike and pedestrian-friendly path along the edge.
The next 0.3 mile along Front Street alternates between brick and concrete sidewalk. The route here is unmarked. Turn left and head west on Whittier Street to regain the paved rail-trail route. You pass a trailhead at Lower Scioto Park on the left. The trail curves along the river on the Whittier Peninsula. Interstate 70 roars overhead near mile 10, followed by a breathtaking view of the Columbus skyline. First Bicentennial Park and then Battelle Riverfront Park provide vantage points overlooking the river, the urban environment, and a replica of Christopher Columbus's sailing vessel the Santa Maria.
At North Bank Park, a good stopping point, you can enjoy the million-dollar view of downtown Columbus and the previously mentioned parks that make up its riverfront. Restrooms and parking areas are available here, along with an excellent observation deck over the river from which to take in the views. A short half-mile ride takes you across the river once again and into Confluence Park, on the spot where the Scioto and Olentangy rivers meet. From this park the Scioto River Greenway goes another mile to the northwest, separate from, but adjacent to, city streets. Confluence Park serves as the northern trailhead for the trail, as the endpoint a mile away does not have any public facilities. The park also serves as the southern trailhead for the Olentangy Trail, a 13-mile trail to the community of Worthington.
Berliner Park is the best southern trail access point. From Interstate 71 take Greenlawn Avenue east for just under 0.25 mile. Turn right on Deckenbauch Road. Berliner Park is on the left. Travel east from the parking lot to access the trail.
To reach the Confluence Park trailhead from Interstate 70, take State Route 315 north 1 mile and take the Dublin Road exit. Turn left onto Dublin Road, and after just 0.1 mile turn left onto North Souder Road. Take your first left onto Rickenbacker Drive. Confluence Park is at the road's end about 0.25 mile.
Parking is also available in Dodge Park (667 Sullivant Avenue).