The T.J. Evans Trail is a very popular route, drawing locals and visitors as well as through-travelers on the Ohio to Erie Trail
that counts this rail-trail among its 300+ miles from the Ohio River to Lake Erie. The southern trailhead at Cherry Valley Road in Newark has a kiosk with a pay phone, drinking fountain and user guidelines. On the other side of town in East Newark, you can pick up the sister trail, the T.J. Evans Panhandle Trail
Heading west on the main T.J. Evans Trail, just after you leave you pass a connecting trail to ranch-style condominiums. This is the first of several residential developments that tie in to the trail. After passing a second parking lot, you come to a connecting trail going east. Although unsigned, it takes you a couple miles to the Ohio State University's Newark campus and to the Newark YMCA.
Rapids in Raccoon Creek keep the pace on the trail's east side, while you trek through a beautiful shaded ravine area. A bridge across the creek has a marker discussing the trail's rail history. After passing under State Route 16, cow-dotted fields extend from both sides of the trail. At about 4 miles you come to Granville. There is a sign directing you off the trail to downtown Granville for shops, dining and overnight options. A short climb brings you to the quaint and amazingly beautiful downtown, where you can find many restaurants, as well as Denison University (a noted liberal arts school that counts Hollywood's Jennifer Garner as a graduate).
Continuing along the trail, a pedestrian crossing guides you over State Route 37 at the former Granville Railroad Station, which now houses a realtor's office. If you're looking for a break, stop at Wildwood Park near mile 3.5, with open fields and an incredible, wooden castle-shaped play area. Continuing north, you shortly arrive at the ruins of Clemons Railroad Station. There are several bridges spanning small creeks between here and Alexandria, about 2 miles northwest.
When you cross Raccoon Valley Road you are in the village of Alexandria. A marker at the trailhead describes the founding of Alexandria. The remaining 6.3 miles of trail to Johnstown pass alternately though woods, ravines and farm fields. The setting is remote and relaxing, but many rural road crossings require caution. Just before Johnstown you pass another housing subdivision, with connectors to the trail and a new subdivision being built on the other side of the trail. Then the Jersey Street trailhead signals the trail's end. The beautiful T.J. Evans rail-trail only gets better on the return trip, as a slight grade gives you a downhill advantage.
To start the trail in Newark, take Interstate 70 to State Route 79 and travel north for 6 miles. Turn left onto Irving Wick Drive, go west for 2 miles then turn right onto Thornwood Drive southeast. Thornwood becomes Reddington Road after about 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Cherry Valley Road and look for the trailhead on the right.
To reach the Jersey Street trailhead in Johnstown from I-270 on the northeast side of Columbus, take State Route 161 east for 6 miles to US 62 (Johnstown-Utica Road) then turn left and head north for almost 8 miles. Turn right onto State Route 37 for 0.33 mile and take a left onto Jersey Street. Jersey Street dead-ends in the trailhead parking lot after 0.25 mile.
WOW--you can really get a workout on this one if you do the straight route from James Rd. north and then the east extension which takes you to OSU Newark campus. Don't follow the bike route signs, though, since they end abruptly on the side streets of ...
I love to ride this trail, but the root damage is starting to get out of hand. There are several places where the ride is very rough, and the yellow "alerts" have faded to the point of not being noticeable until you are on top of them. Other than that, ...
This was my first ride and it was great. The trail was in great shape even after all the rain we have had. A nice run with 80% wooded and the rest in full sun. It was not crowed at all. I was out late afternoon (3:30 pm -- 6:00 pm) and saw enough folks ...