The Simon Kenton Trail is a tribute to the hardworking volunteer group that built and maintains the corridor, once part of the Erie-Lackawanna rail line. The western Ohio rail-trail stretches 35.5 miles, connecting the communities of Bellefontaine, West Liberty, Urbana, and Springfield. The route is part of the larger 330-mile Miami Valley trail system, one of the nation's largest networks of paved, off-street trails.
The trail begins at Carter Avenue on the south end of Bellefontaine and heads south, paralleling an active rail line through a tree-lined corridor. This northern half of the trail, between Bellefontaine and Urbana, has a crushed limestone surface best-suited for hybrids or mountain bikes. From Urbana southward, the trail is paved.
As the trail approaches West Liberty, it opens up and you will have views of farm fields. The trail skirts the western edges of the community.
Beginning at the Urbana YMCA, you’ll head into town, intersecting a short bike route to Melvin Miller Park, the city's main park with a pond, pool, athletic fields, skate park, and playgrounds. This stretch offers an excellent strip of rail-with-trail, where freight trains mainly hauling grain travel next to the path before you enter Urbana proper. While the trail passes through many of Urbana's industrial tracts, downtown is just a couple of blocks to the east.
You’ll have a pleasant surprise as you head under the Gwynne Street bridge. In the summer of 2014, two brightly colored murals depicting the city’s past and present were presented on the pylons of the bridge. As you continue towards Miami Street, you'll encounter the Urbana Station Depot, which offers a coffeehouse, restrooms and a community information center inside a restored railroad station.
South of the restored depot, trail signs are just 0.5 mile ahead. At the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and State Route 55, there is a trailhead with benches, a bike rack and parking lot. South of here the trail is nicely shaded, and a short trip west on Woodburn Road will take you to Cedar Bog Nature Preserve. The preserve has an ADA-accessible boardwalk that allows visitors to experience the unique environment without harming it. The preserve is home to hundreds of plant and animal species, including more than 50 that are rare or endangered. Cedar Run, a small tributary of the Mad River, for which the bog takes its name, is one of the few Ohio streams that has a native population of brook trout.
Head across County Line Road and enter Clark County. At Tremont City Road, pass the Clark State Community College Truck Driver Training Institute. After crossing the railroad tracks and several creeks, you reach a connecting trail to the west that accesses the Eagle City soccer fields 0.5 mile away. Just south of the soccer field connection is a short trail connection to the sparkling SplashZone water park. Though the trail crosses several more busy roads, including State Route 72, there are still pleasant views, especially of some of the beautiful old homes closer to downtown Springfield.
After you cross Buck Creek on a trestle bridge, you'll reach a connecting trail that heads to Buck Creek State Park, almost 4 miles to the east. Across Warder Street you begin to travel along another rail-with-trail. This continues for 0.75 mile past East Main Street and to Linden Avenue, where the trail turns into bike lanes on both sides of East Washington Street. The rail-trail picks up again after crossing East Limestone Street. At this point you have entered the Clark State Community College campus. Cross Fountain Avenue and you have reached the endpoint at South Center Street by the Heritage Center and Clark County Library.
On the northern end of the trail, you can access the trail from Carter Avenue in Bellefontaine. In West Liberty, access is available from Sidney Street at State Route 245.
To reach the Urbana trailhead at the YMCA, take US 68 to US 36 east (Scioto Street) for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Community Drive and look for the YMCA in front of you. Other parking options in Urbana include Urbana Station Depot (644 Miami Street) and Melvin Miller Park (731 Children's Home Road).
The Springfield trailhead is at the intersection of South Center Street and West Washington Street. From Interstate 70 take State Route 72 north for 1.7 miles. Bear left onto South Limestone Street. After a little more than a tenth of a mile, turn left onto West Pleasant Street for another 0.25 mile. Turn right onto S. Center and look for the trail on the far side of the intersection with W. Washington.