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Once the corridor of the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway, today the 11.2-mile Conotton Creek Trail offers complete immersion in a bucolic setting in northeastern Ohio. Situated in the rolling Appalachian foothills, the route has a significant coal-mining past.
At one time, the line was used to transport iron ore from Great Lakes ports to the steel mills of the Ohio River Valley, and haul coal mined from Harrison County to markets in all directions. Today, one of the rail lines is still used, carrying coal, raw materials, and manufactured goods.
The Conotton Creek Trail models the rustic beauty of its surroundings, and its careworn surface covers a paved, albeit bumpy in sections, undulating route. Several particularly rough spots may bounce you around a bit, but the rest of this trail lulls you into a state of relaxation and delivers a serene setting rich in wildlife.
Riding from quaint Bowerston east to Jewett makes your return trip slightly downhill. The ponds east of Bowerston provide a wonderful environment for birding, as do the berried bushes along the route and more than 40 birdhouses. A colorful palette of wildflowers and pastoral landscapes dotted with horses and cattle completes the picturesque backdrop.
A highlight of the experience is passage through the trail’s five covered bridges crossing Conotton Creek. The waters below the bridges eventually feed into the Ohio River, as well as into the Mississippi River more than 500 miles away.
The final few miles into the town of Jewett are just as calming and refreshing as those from Bowerston to the trail’s midpoint at Scio. Jewett, similar to Bowerston, has fewer than 1,000 people, but the town was an important cog in the wheel of this region’s development. Jewett was not only an important stop on the railroad, like the other towns you pass, but was also once home to a streetcar manufacturer and an opera house.
To reach the trailhead in Bowerston: From I-77, take Exit 65 for US 36. Head east on US 36, and go 14.2 miles. Continue straight on US 250 another 1.3 miles. Turn left to stay on US 250, and go 4.5 miles. Turn left onto OH 151, and go 5.3 miles northeast toward Bowerston. Just past downtown Bowerston, find signs directing you to the trailhead on the right (south) side of OH 151. The trail terminus is near 416 Broadway St.
To reach the trailhead in Jewett: Follow the directions above to OH 151. Once on OH 151, go 16.8 miles to Jewett. Turn left onto Cadiz St., and in 0.1 mile turn right onto Water St. Look for the well-marked trailhead on the right.
I drove about an hour and a half to ride this trail. The trail has quite a few amenities, a paved surface, rain & picnic shelters, benches and bird boxes. There are quite a few points of interest that are visually appealing -- small ponds, covered bridges, a Natural Gas Gathering facility, the architecture of older manufacturing towns. For an April Sunday, there were quite a few people out riding or walking on the trail, but it never felt crowded. It certainly seems that the people of the area enjoy and use their trail.
My one complaint is that the trail surface while paved, is of an inconsistent quality. Numerous areas of the trail give the rider a washboard effect why passing over them. It would certainly help to have the entire length of this trail resurfaced.
My wife and some friends of ours went with me over to the Conotton Creek Trail from Pittsburgh and we found it to be a pretty and interesting trail. The surface wasn't as bad as I expected from reading other reviews. The covered bridges were picturesque additions to the trail and we saw a doe and many birds during our ride. The pond between Scio and Jewett was lovely and we saw a great blue heron on the far shore. Being a remote trail and not connected to a major system made for low trail traffic, even on a perfect day, weatherwise. We also saw a horse and buggy on a parallel road. We may return sometime in the fall.
Rode this trail on June 23 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed the 11.4 miles each way.Used our cyclocross bikes but might have been able to use the road bikes if we paid attention to the covered bridge approaches of which there are many.The surface is consistently good and the miles pass quickly with ponds and creeks quite numerous along the trail.We parked at the trailhead in Jewett which has ample space.Take your time on this one and enjoy what nature has to offer along the way.
Rode this trail for the 1st time today on my recumbent trike. Of the 15 or so paved trails I've ridden in Ohio, this trail is by far the bumpiest, but not bad enough to keep me from returning. Of course, my trike has small, high-pressure tires and no suspension, which enhances bumpiness. The trail offers gorgeous scenery, 4 covered bridges, lots of rest spots, and several port-a-pottys along the way. I saw more than a dozen different kinds of birds and a fox ran across the trail about 20 feet ahead of me.
Rode the trail on my mountain bike October 16th 2016. A very picturesque ride. The trail from start to finish is asphalt. Mostly old asphalt with some sections of new asphalt but smooth enough for a mountain bike not so much for a road bike with high pressure tires! The trail was well maintained and completely flat. No weeds or debris. Numerous covered bridges. A few port-a-johns along the trail. The trail was too rough for in-line skating, in my opinion but otherwise a very enjoyable mountain bike ride. 11 miles one way.
WE drove over an hour to get to the Bowerston Trailhead. It was worth it. Well maintained. We took the trail all the way to Jewett and back. Trail was great. Paved. Mostly flat. Scenery was varied and beautiful. Five covered bridges. Found wild hops growing along the trail. Stopped in Scio for lunch.
The only drawback was the PortoPots. They need more attention than what they're currently getting. All in all it was a nice day in ohio.
We drove 70 miles to give this trail a try. We're always up for a drive to try a different trail. It was very rural with little exposure, most of the time, to the small communities nearby. We rode hybrids, with no shock absorbing systems, and didn't have any trouble. The small covered bridges were nice. There wasn't much protection from the sun, but with proper sunscreen we safely finished. Our only disappointment was that the trail was not longer. We started in Bowerston, and enjoyed a fine lunch at the nearby Western Grill, afterward.
We are from FL., brought our bikes for an extended vacation. Rode this trail on July 31st, 2016. We almost didn't go on it because the reviews said how rough it was. They have fixed all the pot holes...lots of deer, beaver lodge, ducks, 3 covered bridges. Both shaded and open spots. Great ride. Beautiful country.
Construction at the staring point made us find another entryway, they have a massive hole dug so water can flow. The trail has a lot to look at while riding, we stopped a handful of times to get pictures, I would recommend this trail if your looking for a peaceful ride.
There is a new, large covered bridge near the Conotton staging area that is over the Conotton Creek. This bridge makes four on the trail. It gives great views of the creek and of an old sandstone railroad bridge. This is a great ride to view Ohio's Autumn colors!
I had been wanting to ride this trail for quite some time and was finally able to do so. My plan was to ride from Jewett to Bowerston then return. I left Jewett around 7:30am on a beautiful Saturday and in the 11.4 miles to Bowerston, I did not pass a single person. I saw a lot of wildlife, mostly small mammals such as rabbits and squirrels, but it was still a beautiful ride. Once I arrived in Bowerston, I turned around and started back east towards Jewett. As I was approaching Scio, I was passing a large natural gas industrial plant on my right (south side of the trail) and I was entering a shaded area when I see something large come running out of the bushes on the left of the trail. Turns out, it was two adult cows and a calf. Once I was able to safely pass them, it was smooth sailing from there. I passed probably 5 bikers and 2 or 3 walkers/runners between Scio and Jewett on the return trip.
The scenery is fantastic. There aren't beautiful vistas or anything like that, but the trail is very secluded and is always surrounded by nature. Aside from the trail surface itself, the trail facilities and amenities get 5 stars. The only reason this trail gets 4 is because of the poor condition of pavement in some areas. Around Jewett, the pavement is in very bad condition with weeds growing up through it and random spots of gravel. Outside of Jewett it gets better but the whole trail could use some new pavement.
Love this trail it like walking into pbs nature show you never know what you see ..Trail itself is good and clean little building along it the cover bridges are cool..it's little rough now from the winter..but still great ride.
Wife and I rode this yesterday,(Oct 17,2014) Started out sunny ,cool 55 degrees, end up about 65 and wind 15 to 20 enough to push trikes. Chip and seal surface, couple of other bikers. Mostly flat, some incline at road crossings. Had to call it quits before doing whole trail ,black clouds set in looked like rain. Made it to covered bridge, very nice. Lot of leaves on trail ,had to stop a couple of times to clear leaves from chains. Only bad thing Porta john at Bowerstown needed cleaned. Will be back to finish. Good food in Dennision about 10 miles from trail head, also there is a train museum also. Have to watch out for squirrels, they are running around gathering nuts,If you would pick up a black walnut squirrels will mug you for it.
Very nice paved trail with lots of wildlife. The only thing I don't like is stopping while riding but it's not too bad so I can deal with it. Will be riding it again at least a few more times before the end of the season.
This trail is in a scenic rural area borderd by farms and wetlands. I always start my ride on the east end in Jewitt, Ohio since it is the closest to my home. There is a nice parking area there. The entire trail is asphalt, the first couple miles is a little bumpy but pretty good for the most part. There is one slight hill maybe 75 yards long just outside of Jewitt. About the first half of the trail is bordered on both sides by farms. The town of Scio is about at the 5 1/2 mile mark, where you will find a nice ice cream store and an IGA store next to the trail. From Scio west to Bowerston is mostly wetlands. A couple hundred yards from the south side of the trail a new facility for prosessing Utica Shale gas is being built, it covers about a mile. There are numerous bird houses, benches, shelters, and picnic tables scatered the length of the trail. I have seen heron, egrets, swan, squirrel, woodchucks, deer and a couple black snakes. There are two covered bridges one at Scio is about 50 feet in length with benches running the full length on each side. There are several road crossings but very little traffic. You may see an Amish buggy or two on the roads, they are not permitted on the trail.
This is a great trail for a casual easy bike ride. At times the pavement is a bit rough but for the most part it is very smooth. The trail is well maintained along with attractive mile markers. There are porta-potties, attractive benches, and shelters along the trail. In addition to natural beauty that surrounds the trail it is enhanced by the landscaping. We were pleasantly surprised by this trail and we highly recommend it.
We found ample parking at the Bowerston end and it was well marked.
Rode from Bowerston to Jewett. Very enjoyable, highly recommend to those of any skill level.
This is truly rural America.
Thanks to those that maintain this stretch of trail.
Would normally not make a special trip from pittsburgh for a 22 mile ride, but had plans later in the day, so 22 miles fit the bill. Drove from Pittsburgh with GPS, which had no trouble finding the town of Jewett. Not much signage to direct people to the trailhead, but easily found in this small town. Trail was paved the whole way, and mostly flat except for one 100' hill. Good shape overall except a few portions that were washboard-like, unfortunately a problem with older paved trails. Beautiful scenery, wetlands, farms, and if you're lucky, you get to see a train or two passing on the tracks on the other side of the creek. Would not recommend on a hot day, as the whole trail is in the sun. Nice benches and shelters along the way. Didn't see any portajohns until after I used the woods, but plenty of privacy! Saw only about 5 people the whole way out and back. Not sure what one reviewer said mentioning hills, as there aren't any except a short one near Jewett. Slight grades throughout, but less than 1% overall. Think I changed gears once or twice during the whole ride.
Rode this trail today and loved it. If I had arrived earlier I would have turned around and done it in the other direction. Yes, I was challenged by the hills. I had to push 4 hills, but I made it up most of them. This is a good cardio challenge (at least for me, because I'm old). It was 90 degrees today and I appreciated the shade almost all the way. Lovely, lovely trail.
My husband and I rode the Trail on June 1 and found it to be very enjoyable. this was our first trail ride. we did the round trip which was 12 miles. Plan to do the trip from Scio to Jewett in the near future.
Rode this trail on Memorial day, Thought it was a very nice trail. Lots of benches and shelters along the way. There is a couple of rough spots but not all that bad. A few road crossings but the roads were not busy at all. Seems they take care of the trail as there were new trees planted. We had a good time on the over 22 mile round trip.
I rode this trail on march 30 and it is a beautiful ride. very flat. I really enjoyed it. I liked the 2 covered bridges, very nice added touch. I would recommend riding this trail when it is cooler out and not in the hottest part of the day as this trail is in the sun all the way. fortunately it was in the 50s and sunny and was a wonderful ride and yes I was able to work on a tan in March in Ohio. can you say awesome
This is a quiet, scenic stretch of rural countryside between small towns, running alongside a small creek/river and a railbed still in use. It is entirely paved and easy, flat riding. Kingfishers, herons, etc along the waters, nice covered places to picnic along the way, several benches. Even on a very windy week-day late afternoon there were many people using the trail and benches. A lovely jaunt.
This trail is out in the middle of no where hard to get to it, but once you do the scenery is beautiful there is no doubt about it, the trail it self is clunky bumpy and somewhat uneven, few bridges along the way and the big pa friendss supposed to be the covered bridge, i wasnt impressed with it very old covered in graffitti it was sad to see. i think this could be a great trail if the community puts some work into it, in the mean time if you ride this trail make sure you bring lost of water and a hat. keep biking my friends.
We rode this trail on the hottest day of the summer, July 5, 2010, so we found out the hard way. There is no shade! If it's a hot day, plan on finishing your ride before 10 am or don't start until evening. We started about 9:30 in the morning and it was great, but by the time we finished, the sun was roasting our brains. Bring a hat or visor and plenty of sunscreen.
We had the hats and sunscreen, but not the mosquito repellent. Especially along the first leg of the trail, between Bowerston and Scio, the trail runs close to the creek and the mosquitoes were on the warpath. We had our picnic on a bench (one of the few semi-shaded ones at noon) and fed at least three dozen mosquitoes at the same time.
Facilities are basic. Port-a-Potties serve the Bowerston trailhead and an intersection about a half mile from the Jewett trailhead. We had stopped at a McDonald's outside of Uhrichsville on the way down and had used their facilities and bought some orange juice, so I didn't need the Port-a-Potty before starting the ride. Unfortunately, about two miles in, the orange juice had percolated through my system and I was in dire need of facilities. My choices appeared to be: get lost forever in the deep greenery on one side of the trail, disappear into the swamp on the other side, or grin and bear it. I chose choice #3. Things were not improving when, lo and behold! at the 6-mile mark appeared an IGA about a quarter mile off the trail. Not only is it a full-service grocery in case you are in need of sustenance, but kindly provided what I needed. Ahhh.
Now the ride was much more enjoyable, and we could admire the covered bridge and multiple memorial benches and unique trailside shelters along the way.
The surface of this trail is chip-seal and not great. We found our teeth rattling a bit along the first leg, though it smoothed out some after Scio and the covered bridge. A variety of ripples and bumps didn't allow for napping either, but we found it quite passable on our recumbent tricycles. Just don't expect a smooth or fast ride.
Signage at the Jewett trailhead calls this trail one of the best for viewing fall foliage, and I believe it. It's very rural, surrounded by fields and forests, but not too hard to get to. Come fall, when the sun is a bit lower in the sky and the temperatures have moderated, we plan to ride it again.
I want to put a good plug in for this trail. This was the first time I used this trail, but I knew about it from bike trail maps for several years. It was spring time weather and a friend and myself walked this whole trail twice. Step by step 7 to 8 miles a day, out and back from the parking lots until we did the whole trail. That took us about 3 days total.
I like trails that are out in the country with seclusion and privacy.
This trail and the towns traveled along it are just that. Rurally comforting and relaxing to the disposition of one’s self.
The trail surface is paved. You know how some pavement has a “chip and seal” beginning, but after time smoothes out. Some sections of the trail started out being of finer consistency. But all of it has smoothed out with time. A person could, ride a road tire on it now. Flat, mostly long straight stretches with a creek and some wetlands. A couple of covered bridges, and a few uncovered. Benches, picnic tables, trash cans, and nice trail-side shelters are a plenty. There is an active railroad running alongside, a short distance across the creek from the trail. You should see a train or two. Wildlife of birds, beavers, ground hogs, rabbits. Rolling hillside and valley farms with cattle. But most of all: To View the Wilderness ! - So Nice and Peaceful -
I would like to recognize and Thank all parties involved in establishing and maintaining the Conotton Creek Trail. A Great Trail
"I rode the Conotton Creek trail on July 2, 2005. Of all the rail-trails I've ridden in Ohio, this one is the most rural. It's also among the most difficult to locate if you aren't familiar with the area. The Bowerston trailhead is located off route 151 in a residential neighborhood (there is a small sign on 151 pointing the way). From here to Jewett is slightly uphill, so it's best to ride from west to east and back. Lots of country scenery and wildlife on this trail--I encountered turtles, frogs, rabbits, feral cats, and all types of birds along the ride. Unfortunately, there isn't much shade, so on hot days this trail may be a punishment. Overall, a good ride, but frankly there are better trails elsewhere in eastern Ohio."
"For a small rual community this is one nice trail. It has a tar and chip type surface and well done trailheads, some with super Clean Porta Potties. A standard station at the 10 mile mark has drinks and goodies. There's also some nice scenery.
-Douglas L Wilson Sr."
This trail is paved and an easy ride. The Porta Potty at the start of the trail in browerston was clean. Scio is a good place to stop for lunch. We ate in the shade of the covered bridge. There's nice scenery and the gas station near the end of the trail had drink machines with nice and cold beverages.
Frinedly folks on the trail made for a pleasant afternoon. There were lots of little animals scampering around.
I would recommend this trail.
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