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Though not far from two of Ohio’s largest cities, Cleveland and Akron, the Bike and Hike Trail passes alongside beautiful natural areas, including the 65-foot Brandywine Falls, a stunning cascading waterfall. With its first section opening in 1972, the pathway was one of the first rail-trail conversions in the country. The 34-mile route follows the corridor of two former railway lines, the Lake Erie & Pittsburg Railway, which later became part of the New York Central Railroad, and the old Akron, Bedford & Cleveland Railroad (AB&C), often referred to as the Alphabet Railroad.
The Bike and Hike Trail is a rambling route peppered with bridge crossings and neighborhood roads in both rural and suburban settings. Unlike most rail-trails, which are fairly flat, this route has delightful dips and rises. Playgrounds and restroom facilities are ample, though you may want to stock up on drinking water and snacks before striking out for the day.
Starting at the northern end on Alexander Road, experience a beautiful, mostly secluded, multiuse, paved trail, much of which borders Cuyahoga Valley National Park. If you wish to explore the park, travel 1.6 miles west from the Alexander Road trailhead to reach the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which traverses the park and spans a whopping 81 miles.
As the trail winds south, it passes through rural neighborhoods and wooded areas. With an early enough start, you might see some deer grazing at the path’s edge. The trail’s southern loop has some on-road sections; look for the green trail signs to guide you along the route. In Munroe Falls, an observation deck on the Cuyahoga River offers lovely scenery, as well as an opportunity for fishing.
Once you complete the southern loop, you can finish the trail by heading back to the northern trailhead. If you still have energy to burn after the return trip north, complete your day’s adventure by exploring Cuyahoga Valley National Park. With miles of hiking trails, breathtaking views, and wildlife—ranging from bald eagles to coyotes—the national park is the perfect complement to the northeast Ohio nature that this rail-trail serves up.
To reach the northern trailhead on Alexander Road in Northfield: From I-271 N, take Exit 23. Turn left onto Broadway Ave., and in 0.1 mile turn left onto Oak Leaf Road. From I-271 S, take Exit 23 for OH 14 W. As you exit the interstate, you merge with Oak Leaf Road. In 1 mile turn right onto Alexander Road (a sign at the intersection indicates that this is toward Walton Hills). Drive 2.7 miles west on Alexander Road to the trailhead and parking lot.
To reach the southern trailhead in Munroe Falls: From I-76, take Exit 27 for OH 91N. Continue north 0.3 mile to OH 91 and turn right (north). Follow OH 91N for 5.3 miles (it becomes Main St. north of Tallmadge) to the parking lot and the trailhead, located on the right immediately after crossing the Cuyahoga River.
Additional parking waypoints are available; see the map for locations.
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