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The Fairfield Heritage Trail winds through and connects the community of Lancaster. It links a college, high school, junior high school and elementary school, as well as numerous parks and shopping and dining opportunities along its 9.5-mile path.
Well-maintained, the asphalt trail begins at the Ohio University Lancaster campus parking lot and heads south along the edge of campus. A small waterway, Fetters Run, borders the trail to the east. One-third of a mile from the trailhead is the John Bright #2 covered bridge, built in 1881 in nearby Carroll and moved to this site in 1988. Continue on your way to reach John Bright #1, another bridge, which was built by the Hocking Metal Bridge Company. Continuing on you pass Lancaster High School and its many athletic fields and tennis courts, an exercise course and the football stadium, all paralleling Arbor Valley Drive. After another 0.25 mile you cross Fetters Run via the painstakingly restored McCleery Covered Bridge, upon which you reach Thomas Ewing Junior High School.
A well-signed crosswalk guides you across Fair Avenue, where the trail then passes among a beautiful grove of trees before entering a neighborhood. The route becomes a painted bike lane once you turn south onto Franklin Street. At mile 1.5, cross 6th Avenue and ride through Lanreco Park, where the paved bike trail begins again. A quarter mile around the park brings you to a busy crossing of Cherry Street, so use caution at this junction.
The trail then passes over Baldwin Run on a bridge, at which point the trail transitions to a sidewalk. Keep an eye out for Goslin Street, which you follow for a short distance until the asphalt trail reappears on the right of the street. A shopping center dominates the landscape to the left before the trail dips beneath Main Street and continues south to a bridge crossing of Baldwin Run into Mary Burnham Park (baseball fields, basketball court, playground, picnic area, parking).
At mile 2.5 you leave Mary Burnham Park and cross active railroad tracks. For the next 0.25 mile the trail runs along the same tracks, a nice section of rail-with-trail. The Fairfield Heritage Trail then veers off the active corridor and, for the next mile, crosses several streets, while hugging the banks of the Hocking River. At mile 3.7 you come to Cenci Park and Cenci Lake, where you can fish and watch wildlife. There is parking and a 0.5-mile paved loop trail around the lake.
After leaving the park, the trail continues for just over another mile past Maher Park, across a well-preserved rail bridge, the Talmadge School, and then to Olivedale Park and Martens Park before taking a short hop onto West Main Street. At the Hocking River the trail leaves the street and runs along the river past the ball fields and city pool at Miller Park. After passing under 6th Street the trail keeps on the river side, goes under Fair Avenue then crosses the river once more and has a connection to the Lancaster Plaza shopping center. From here the newest extension of the trail is a well signed on road route along Beacon Avenue. At Hocking Park the trail takes a right for a short distance along Meda Avenue. The trail then goes off-road again and crosses the river once more. This next section goes alongside some picturesque wetlands where many birds are often seen. The final stretch goes from the wetlands, under a railroad bridge and out to Ety Road. A sidewalk is built along Ety road from the end of the trail which will take you to the commercial district on Ety.
To reach the trailhead at Ohio University Lancaster from Interstate 270, take US 33 south toward Lancaster. After 14.2 miles follow Business Route 33 to Lancaster. Go 7.3 miles and turn left onto Main Street. Take another left after 0.4 mile onto High Street. After 2.1 miles turn right onto College Avenue. The trailhead is on the left at the university campus.
To reach the Olivedale Park trailhead from Interstate 270, take US 33 south toward Lancaster. After 14.2 miles follow Business Route 33 to Lancaster. Go 7.3 miles and turn right onto Lincoln Avenue. After 0.6 mile turn left onto Boving Road. Olivedale Park is 0.25 mile down Boving on the right.
I have logged 2300 miles on this path over the past 1.5 yrs. It's what we have available in Lancaster, so be it. But now I am at a point that other paths further away are going to be well worth the drive. The path is not maintained at all and is really degrading. People use the path at every ballpark as their bleachers and make it impossible to pass through and I get the path is for all to enjoy, but it has become an everyday experience path blocking by groups hanging out. But what is driving me to not use this path anymore are the multiple glass bottles being broken on the path. Seems like this is intentional to deter bikes from riding the path. I have had seven tires blown by glass and just bought a new set that was shredded, $80 down the drain. It's a shame because this is quite a challenging course with a lot of undulation and stops, along with some straight stretches to get serious speed going. Oh well, fun while it lasted.
Although I'm happy to have a trail in our town, I feel that the underpasses are too sharp of down and up to get under them smoothly. Other paths are more of a gradual transition to get under the over passes. The edges of the path in places are not kept up, and at times the weeds are so high you can't be seen, or safety is compromised. Other pathes always keep at least 3 feet or more on each side mowed at all times. Parts of the path that are located on the street are so rough it's almost unbearable to get through. Lots of starts, and stops.
So enjoyed our ride through business areas, housing developments (both old and newer), woods, prairie, lakes, ponds, naturalized areas, historic areas, etc. we got to watch a train padd additional cars, watched a little league football game (what a hoot), and even stopped at the local Krogers store to purchase eggs. Watch closely for the trail indicators because some of them are almost like going geo caching. We got lost and ended up at a McDonalds, which wasn't all bad). All in all it was a great ride
I usually walk the trail between Ohio University-Lancaster and Mary Burnham Park, but I decided to ride the entire trail today.
I'm not an avid cyclist, and the trail is very smooth and not too hilly. I've lived in Lancaster my entire life and I noticed some places on this ride that I have not seen before.
The stretch from Alley Park to the Olivedale senior center was very pretty.
After that, you do go through some poorer run-down sections of town, but the ponds behind the River Valley Mall were worth the ride. i had no idea these ponds were here and I stopped to do some bird watching behind the mall. I wish there were some places to sit and enjoy this.
I rode the trail the entire length, and back, on a Sunday afternoon. The trail was not crowded. This was only my second bike ride this summer and I found the 19 miles to be a very do-able and pleasant experience.
Went for a short 9.5 mile run last Saturday (Aug 9, 2014). My girlfriend dropped me off at the OSU-Lancaster Trail Head, and off I went. All went good until I came to the Sixth Street/Cherry Street Intersection. I somehow got on the wrong side of Sixth and missed the trail going off the right side (thought it was going to be on the left). Half mile down the road, I crossed the street, and turned around. So, an extra mile there.......
All went great from there until Cenci Lake area....I went clockwise around the lake when I entered the parking lot area.....this put the trail exit as a REALLY sharp left turn off the trail that I missed...since it wasn't marked.
Extra half mile there..........
Loved the run overall, people were very courteous along the route....wasn't over crowded either. Bikers were polite.
Because I ran the extra 1.5 miles, I had to go 11 miles to get to the Ety Road trailhead where my girlfriend was patiently waiting with lunch and water!
I'd do it again, now that I know where the 2 hidden turns are......it would be a smooth run now.
In the Spring of 2013, this trail was extended beyond what is currently listed. It now extends from the park, goes behind the mall and out to Ety Rd. I do not know if it extends much further than this, but the website needs to update this trail.
Even though this is a relatively short trail it does have some good points to it. If you know the trail, it will give you a pretty good work out. If you don't, I suggest that you take your time as it can be an obstacle course due to the underpasses and barriers to slow you down crossing bridges, railroad tracks and intersections. I've ridden it 3 times and am now getting use to it. It's more enjoyable than the first time I rode it. It does have some uphill grades and some straight stretches which will give you a pretty good work out. I plan on riding it several times a week due to being close to my new home.
A very pleasant walk along side of a small creek. The trail is easily accessible and clearly marked. If there's any elevation change I'd consider it as "extremely mild".
Although I was only able to walk it from OUL trailhead to the Fair Ave intersection (about a mile) before the path was too icy to walk along. The area behind the high school across the creek is wooded and very pretty. I especially liked the bridges that were transported and preserved on site.
Take it for what it is, a paved urban trail, and it can be very enjoyable. Time your arrival so you can avoid the busy school hours and it's downright peaceful.
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