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For running purposes it has a decent biking trail through a thin veil of trees.
I rode this section of the trail north in August 2017. Like the rest of the trail it is well-maintained and signed. The Middletown section is the most industrial portion of the trail. There is a 1.5 mile gap between where the trail ends north of Middletown and where it picks up again just south of Franklin, Ohio. This gap can be bridged by riding the shoulder of Route 73 until you reach Baxter Road. Route 73 is a divided roadway so the cars and trucks are traveling at high speed. Fortunately, the shoulder is pretty wide and the distance can be covered in 10-15 minutes. Once you are back on the trail heading north, you pass through the cities/towns of Franklin, Miamisburg, and West Carrolton before reaching Dayton and the UD campus. Like much of this trail the towns and cities nearby embrace the trail and cater to cyclists. This section of the trail is the least shaded of all, so those with fair skin definitely should lather up with sunscreen. You might also want to consider the temperature forecast before riding this section as it was pretty hot during my August ride.
This is a great trail. The surface is in good shape and the route is well signed. Despite traveling through the suburban/urban setting of the Great Miami River watershed much of this ride feels as though you are in a park like setting. Worth checking out more than once.
I struggle to call this much of a trail as it really isn't more than a glorified sidewalk that replaced an old railroad line through town. From what I've been able to ascertain from Google Maps this trail seems as though it has the possibility of being extended in both directions. However, it's hard to tell if it's the businesses on the Railroad Street end of the trail, the residences on the First Street end of the trail, the rail lines still used by CSX in the area, or the funding that is holding up future expansion. Another reviewer talked about expanding south to the Berlin Lake Trail.
I last rode this trail in July 2017 after completing a ride from Ashtabula, Ohio on the Western Reserve Greenway. The southern end of the Western Reserve Greenway connects directly to this trail when it crosses North River Road in the north end of Warren, Ohio. This trail crosses through most of Warren and ends just a few miles north of the Niles Greenway. If this gap on the southern end of the trail were closed one could ride on a trail from Ashtabula all the way to Canfield, Ohio.
This is a typical urban trail. It crosses many streets and has a couple of on-street sections. As is often typical of trails in urban settings there are sections where the rider needs to be aware of glass and debris on the trail. I found this trail visually appealing as it went through industrial and residential areas as well as through a park. Overall, the Garrett Wonders Bike Trail isn't necessarily a great trail but if it can be connected to the Niles Greenway to the south it will become an incredibly useful one.
I've ridden this trail several times. The last time was at the end of July 2017. The Western Reserve Greenway is a long, straight, flat, bike path that is easy to ride. According to TrailLink the trail is 42.8 miles long, but I don't believe that includes the mileage of the Paul E. Heltzel segment of the Greenway which connects this trail with the Garrett Wonders Bike Trail that goes through most of the city of Warren. The trail is well-maintained, and on a beautiful weekend day you will encounter numerous cyclists and pedestrians around the greenway's trailheads. The trail is long enough that it never seemed crowded. It is an enjoyable path and after having ridden it several times (This was my first end to end ride.) I would say that your best bet is to ride this trail in sections.
Here are my reasons for my previous statement. First, the area that the greenway traverses is very rural in nature. Other than Ashtabula and Warren, the two cities that anchor either end of this trail, there are not many towns or services in between. I think that a good many riders would assume that they would come across at least several small towns or crossroads where they could buy some food, or find some water, etc. I have seen several folks in previous Rails to Trails posts explain at which crossroads to turn and bike into a town for food/drink. That is all well and good, but if you are unfamiliar with the area or are someone who rides greenways and bike trails because you don't like to encounter automobile and truck traffic when riding then be warned that there really is not much along or right off this trail to service your needs. This could be a serious problem if you are riding this trail on a very hot day and run out of water. I know this from personal experience. Secondly, I personally find this trail somewhat boring. It is mile after mile of riding through a tunnel of trees or wide open farm country when it does open up. I think the fact that there are so few turns throughout the trail's length may contribute to this feeling. In addition, this does not mean that there are not some interesting spots along the trail. There is the Rock Creek Trestle, the observation deck at the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area, the old bridge near Austinburg, and the tunnels under the freeways south of Ashtabula. However, to see all of these things one has to ride a lot of miles of very repetitive scenery.
I rode this trail in July of 2017. The description here at TrailLink needs to be updated to reflect the opening of the half mile section of this trail known as the Lake Link.
I started with the northern section of this trail. I parked on Main Street on the West Bank of the Flats and road down Mulberry Street to River Road and then east to Elm Avenue. Where River and Elm meet the Willow Avenue Bridge crosses the Old Cuyahoga River Channel onto Whiskey Island. According to a June 7th Cleveland.com article, when this route is completed there will be an additional bicycle/pedestrian bridge built that will carry people over the very active Northfolk & Southern rail line and sidings into Wendy Park and the old Cleveland U.S. Coast Guard Station. Unfortunately, at this time this bridge does not exist.
The current Lake Link portion of the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail ends on River Road and runs south in a trench that once was a rail spur that ran down the center of the blocks between Mulberry Avenue and Center Street. The this section ends in about a half a mile when it reaches Detroit Avenue.
You can connect the Lake Link and the current southern section of the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail by riding on a closed section of roadway called Riverbed Street. It has a barrier near Columbus Road which prevents cars from using it. Riverbed Street follows a curve in the Cuyahoga River known as Irishtown Bend. This section was kind of creepy as it is overgrown with trees and shrubs and kudzu. What really makes it creepy is the sleeping bags you see just off the road that the homeless use to bed down. Since the road isn't used they probably don't get hassled too much in this area. When the groups developing the connecting of the towpath to the lake get to developing this missing section they will have to do some serious landscaping to open up the area to allow riders to see the river and to remove the ability for the homeless to hide. I did not encounter any homeless folks as I rode through but I came through in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. At this point, I'd say consider how comfortable you are with this situation.
What I really enjoyed with this trail was the architecture of bridges, buildings, and the combinations of old with new, of commerce and industry, and of nature and human endeavor. I can see riding this trail many different times as the the scenery will change drastically with changes in light and weather.
I rode this trail in June of 2017. One feature that I found unique or interesting about this trail was a sign at either end of the trail that pointed out different points of interest and their mile marker location on the upcoming trail. When you reached that point of interest their would be a sign indicating the mile marker and what you were looking at. I thought that was both interesting and helpful.
The Niles Greenway is designed to be part of the bigger Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway, a developing corridor that when completed will allow trail users to travel from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. The unfinished section in Niles could really open up the GOLR Greenway because it would link the Western Reserve Greenway, the Garrett Wonders Bike Trail, the Niles Greenway, and the Mill Creek Metroparks Greenway into one trail from Ashtabula, OH to Canfield, OH.
I rode this trail on June 24, 2017. The Mill Creek MetroParks Bikeway is a gem. It is well maintained and from the number of riders I saw on the trail on this Saturday, appreciated by local residents. It is well marked, features an award-winning trailhead design at Kirk Road, and also has a trail map available at the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm trailhead. You've got to love a 10.5 mile trail that comes with its own printed map. My only complaint is the number of road crossings that you experience on this trail and the odd crossing angles and near blindspots at a few of those crossings.
The MetroParks Bikeway is designed to be part of the bigger Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway, a developing corridor that when completed will allow trail users to travel from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. At its current southern end the trail just ends at Western Reserve Road. There is a small parking lot on the other side the road. There is the possibility that this trail could be extended beyond this current terminus and connect up with the Little Beaver Creek Greenway in Washingtonville, Ohio. When you ride north you will pass under the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) and when you cross into Trumbull County the trail becomes the Niles Greenway. If the gap between Niles and Warren, Ohio is filled in you will connect with the Western Reserve Greenway and will be able to travel all the way to Ashtabula, Ohio.
This was a fairly straight trail from Struthers, Ohio through Lowellville, Ohio and then on to close to New Castle, Pennsylvania. The trail follows pathway of an old electric rail line that traveled between the cities previously mentioned. I don't know if the original line was any longer than the route we traveled and I don't think that there is much chance of this trail being extended in either direction as it parallels a fairly active rail line.
This trail isn't exactly flat, but the length of climbs and the gradualness of the trails grade don't make this trail particularly difficult. I mention it simply because you find yourself comparing the elevation of the bikeway to that of the parallel active rail lines. Sometimes you find yourself looking down on the tracks, sometimes you actually find yourself several feet below them.
I rode this as an out and back on what was probably the first really hot day of the summer. Bring plenty of water, as the only source of water would be in Lowellville, Ohio at a grocery or convenience store. I did not see a source of water along the 10 miles of trail.
I rode the Little Beaver Creek Greenway in June of 2017. The trail is located in Columbiana County which is southwest of Youngstown, Ohio. It runs between Lisbon, Ohio and a little town called Washingtonville, Ohio. The trail is 12.5 miles long from end to end. It is a trail that is a part of the larger Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway a planned route that will run from Lake Erie in Ashtabula, Ohio to the Ohio River in East Liverpool, Ohio. On the northern end of the current trail a gap between Washingtonville and The Mill Creek Metroparks Bikeway south of Canfield, OH must be filled. On the southern end there is currently nothing beyond Lisbon toward East Liverpool.
What I found surprising about this trail was the amount of tree cover there was on the southern end of the trail between Lisbon and Leetonia. As you drive to the trailheads on either end of this trail you'll pass through farm country and plenty of wide open fields. I expected to be lathering up with the sunscreen to protect my fair skin. I put in the sunscreen but I really probably didn't need it until reaching Leetonia. From Leetonia north the trail is more exposed to the sun.
I rode the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway in June 2017 as a nice out-and-back ride. There is lots to see from Euclid Beach Park (on the East Side) to Edgewater Beach Park (on the West Side) as you ride through downtown Cleveland, Ohio. This route was pretty flat with no difficult hills at all. The bikeway itself was a combination of bike paths in and around the beach parks, on street bike lanes on Lakeshore Boulevard and Detroit Road, and on street riding in Bratenahl and Downtown Cleveland. The busiest street traffic was on the several blocks of street riding downtown.
I found the route to be well marked, particularly on the portions where you were riding on the street. Complaints made in previous reviews about the condition of the route are outdated as I found the trail surface to be in pretty good shape. Other review complaints about riding through a ghetto in the Manhattan Beach and North Collinwood neighborhoods seem exaggerated but are balanced out by the ride past the mansions in Bratenahl. Look for the Cleveland Script Signs on either end of the trail for great postcard-like photo opportunities.
For those interested in riding this route, I would definitely suggest lathering up with sunscreen because other than the 3 mile section through the tree lined streets of Bratenahl, you are always out in the open along the shore of Lake Erie.
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