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The developing Big Walnut Trail follows its namesake creek through Columbus and its eastern suburbs of Westerville, Gahanna, and Whitehall. Several segments of the paved pathway are open, though disconnected.
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, you can hop on a short spur called the Chipmunk Chatter Trail 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.
On the north end of the trail, parking is available in Hoover Reservoir Park (7701 Sunbury Road, Westerville). Mid-trail, parking is available in Academy Park (1201 Cherry Bottom Road, Gahanna) and, on the trail’s southern end, parking is available in Elk Run Park (3600 Hendron Road, Columbus).
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 http://centralohiogreenways.com/interactive-map/ 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.
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.
Very disconnected. Multiple small trails intersections and signs are not clear going north to south.
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