Big Walnut Trail


7 Reviews

View Trail Map
View Map
Send to App

Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Big Walnut Trail Facts

States: Ohio
Counties: Franklin
Length: 10.6 miles
Trail end points: Maxtown Rd & Sunbury Rd (Westerville) and Elk Run Park (Columbus)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 10239901

Big Walnut Trail Description


The developing Big Walnut Trail follows its namesake creek through Columbus and its eastern suburbs of Westerville, Gahanna, and Whitehall. Several disconnected segments of the paved pathway are open, currently totaling 10.6 miles.

About the Route

On its northern end, a highlight of the trail is its passage through Hoover Reservoir Park, which offers boating and fishing in the lake, as well as a nature preserve and idyllic habitats for bird watching. This segment ends at North Street; across the roadway, hop on a short spur called the Chipmunk Chatter Trail (part of the Westerville B&W) to reach Inniswood Metro Gardens, a beautiful, 123-acre oasis with gardens, woodlands, and walking paths.

South of Hoover Reservoir Park, other sections of the trail skirt Gahanna’s Academy Park, where numerous athletic facilities are available, and the Gahanna Municipal Golf Course.

Near its southern end, the trail loops through Columbus’ Elk Run Park, where there’s a playground and places to picnic.


Near its northern end, the trail connects to the Westerville B&W (Bike & Walk Route), an extensive system of paved multiuse paths including the Chipmunk Chatter Trail and the Towers Trail. 

Parking and Trail Access

The Big Walnut Trail is in several segments between the intersection of Maxtown Rd & Sunbury Rd (Westerville) and Elk Run Park (Columbus).

Parking is available at numerous locations along the route, including:

  • Hoover Reservoir Park (7701 Sunbury Rd, Westerville)
  • Academy Park (1201 Cherry Bottom Rd, Gahanna)
  • Elk Run Park (3600 Hendron Rd, Columbus)

Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.

Big Walnut Trail Reviews

Not a bike path

The trail path that you access from Academy Park is NOT a bike path…scenic? Sure! Bring your bike? Don’t waste your time…

Gahanna Section of Big Walnut Creek Trail Great for Residents

I recently rode the Gahanna Section of the Big Walnut Trail from end to end from Morse Road in the north to Price Road at the south end. This ended up being 12.3 miles for the entire round trip. This is a nice trail. Overall, the asphalt trail surface is in decent shape with little to no root uplift or potholes. The trail in this area is designed to connect residents with local parks and athletic fields. These parks (going from north to south) include Academy Park, Woodside Green Park, Lower McCorkle Park, McCorkle Park, Gahanna Municipal Golf Course, Creekside Park, Friendship Park, Gahanna Swimming Pool, and St. Matthew Athletic Fields. There are also a number of places to pick up food around Creekside Park. Thus, there is a lot of utility to Gahanna residents.

However, the lack of connectivity beyond Gahanna makes this section of the Big Walnut Trail lacking when compared to other Central Ohio Greenways such as the Alum Creek, Olentangy, and Scioto River Greenways. I also felt that signage was lacking particularly at trail intersections. Were you still on the Big Walnut Trail or had you just chosen wrong and now find yourself riding a neighborhood connecting spur? In addition, this trail seems more densely wooded than some of these other greenways which means that bike lights are a necessity if you are riding near dawn or dusk.

The Hoover Reservoir Section is Beautiful

As mentioned by other reviewers on TrailLink, this ambitious trail project is a work in progress and is broken up into many unconnected parts. I rode six and two thirds round trip miles on this northernmost section of the Big Walnut Trail. It was a cool day so a Jacket was required this morning. The trail follows the western shore of Hoover Reservoir, one of the sources of drinking water for the city of Columbus. The trail is has nice views of the reservoir and you can cross over the top of the dam to the Brent Hambrick Memorial Disc Golf Course in Cornell Park on the lake's eastern shore. The trail surface is asphalt and is in fairly good shape. If you enjoy being near water you will love this trail. The last 3/10ths of a mile south of Hoover Dam was closed on this day so I was unable to reach North Street where the trail ends and I couldn't connect to the Chipmunk Chatter Trail; another trail in the Westerville B & W trail network. My one complaint about this part of the trail was the fact the the small loop to the tunnel that takes the southbound trail under Sunbury Road at Marlene Drive was not marked with a sign. I ended up continuing south along Sunbury Road on a much narrower sidewalk until I could cross at a traffic light at Walnut Street. Coming back north you can’t miss the tunnel as it trail leads directly into it. I rate this section pretty high, but I'm not willing to give it a great score because too much of the planned trail is broken into unconnected segments. Connect these segments and the Columbus area will really have something.

Gahanna Section is Nice

Alright, let's get the lion out of the room - this isn't a continuous trail that you can ride for hours like the Olentangy, Alum Creek, or Scioto. That's probably why it has far fewer reviews, and generally less traffic.

But if you instead look at it from the possibility of an after work ride, perhaps with dinner in Creekside Gahanna, which connects up with it very well, then it's quite nice. The sections by the river are just as scenic as the Alum Creek Trail, and the bluebells in the forest are in full bloom this time of year.

The Gahanna section is also de facto connected, contrary to what TrailLink shows. The Central Ohio Greenways map at is more up-to-date, and shows that the only on-residential-road segment is on Nob Hill Drive. There's also one very short sidewalk-or-street section on Cherry Bottom Road just north of Johnstown Road; the full-width trail resumes north of Springbook Drive, one street later. But aside from that, you can get from Morse Road to I-270 by the airport on trail the whole way.

Signage could be better; it's very good for telling you which parks different cutoffs lead to, but not so good for telling you which way to go if you want to follow the main Big Walnut Trail. Gahanna could study what Columbus has done on the Alum Creek and Olentangy Trails for the next level of signage improvements; in the meantime have your preferred map available on your phone.

Longer term, it would be nice if more of this trail were connected; Big Walnut Creek appears to have the potential to support a trail rivaling its more well-known cousins. But until then, consider checking out the Gahanna section for a nice relaxed evening ride.


good trail

Straight line from Friendship Park to end of trail (connecting through Creekside and run through a neighborhood (.3 miles)) about 4.5 miles. If you take the turn off and run around the other trails and the park it might be worth another 4 miles.

10.6 miles? Maybe if you drive to each section. There are some nice parts, but very short, as the trail is broken up in to smaller sections.Creekside Gahanna is nice and the section by Hoover has a nice view.

10.6 miles? Maybe if you drive to each section. There are some nice parts, but very short, as the trail is broken up in to smaller sections.Creekside Gahanna is nice and the section by Hoover has a nice view.

very disconnected trail

Very disconnected. Multiple small trails intersections and signs are not clear going north to south.

Nearby Trails

Go Unlimited Today!

  • FREE Account
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Post your trail reviews
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Get a free map in the app!
Register for FREE
Purchase Unlimited

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

Log in with Apple


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 40,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

Register with Apple


Your account has been deleted.