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The Genoa Trail runs between Northgate Way in Westerville and Plumb Road south of Galena, paralleling the east side of State Route 3. The trail is separated from the road by a nice corridor of trees, shading nearly the entire length of the pathway.
The paved trail was extended in 2010 from Plumb Road to Weise Road in Galena, following the northwestern shoreline of the sprawling Hoover Reservoir within a scenic nature preserve. This short stretch of pathway, now open as the Hoover Scenic Trail, includes a pedestrian-bike bridge over Old 3C Highway.
Both the Genoa Trail and Hoover Scenic Trail are also vital components of the Ohio to Erie Trail. The planned 320-mile route, of which over 240 miles are complete and open for use, will eventually span Ohio from the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland to the Ohio River in Cincinnati.
The trail can be easily accessed at any one of the main cross streets, including Maxtown Road, Mt. Royal, Freeman, Big Walnut, and Lewis Center. There are also foot and bike accessible entry points at Highland Lakes Avenue and Interlachen Avenue, and nearby Westerville Elementary School (at Freeman & Old 3C). You can park at
- Highland Lakes Avenue
- Church at SR3 & Freeman
- Fire/Police station at SR3 & Big Walnut
- Church at SR3 & Lewis Center
Wow! I see that one certainly can't predict what artifacts might be present on an abandoned rail corridor in regards to its trail length or urban versus rural location! This one blew my mind! The trail begins, of all places, in a busy and beautiful new shopping area complex, at the north end of Westerville, specifically, in the Northgate Shopping Center, on Route 3, at the north end of Westerville. Parking here is a good idea, with lots of room, but I ended up parking at the huge lot of the Northside Fellowship, two miles north of there, at Trail Milepost 2, just as spacious. The trail mile markers run in both directions, but we will start at the north end of the trail, where, as noted, there is absolutely NO parking area. But first, I'm going to send you up the old line a mile or two farther, to the town of Galena, a future extension of this trail, which is eventually headed for Lake Erie. I had some trouble detecting that this trail was not one single trail, at least currently, but was 3 individual trails. The first starts right at the center of little Galena, on Walnut Street, east off of Route 3. From the trail lot, everything here is visible along the full length of this 1/2-mile long trail. Right at the trail entrance stands classic concrete PRR Milepost 125, with raised embossed numerals (very nice and clean), indicating this location is 125 miles south of Hudson, Ohio (See my CA&C review notes on the Kokosing Gap Trail 30 miles north of here). The Galena depot was located on the other side of Walnut Street, near the classic point-topped PRR whistlepost. Heading south over that neatly rescued high trestle, note that the picnic pavilion south of it was built on the concrete footings of an OLD PRR WATER TANK! Is this cool or what!? Now, I moved the car south, to the very short HOOVER SCENIC TRAIL. This 0.6 mile trail just descends from Plumb Road (east from Route 3) down to the reservoir level. Very little of this little scenic trail is on the railroad grade, if any, as all of the property south of here seems to have been devoured by lakeside residences. Now, the heart of the matter. We'll use Weise Road, at the north end of the Genoa Trail, as our southbound Mile 0, for our scouting the 4-mile trail. At Mile 0.25, an absolutely astounding find - I couldn't believe my eyes!.. The lower half, or perhaps a third, of a the northbound cast iron PRR KEYSTONE SHAPED WHISTLEPOST for the Weise Road grade crossing (now solid trees across the road from the north end of the trail!), still intact, rusted over with traces of Penn Central green paint! Once ubiquitous over the massive Pennsy system, there are scant few of thse still in place anywhere on the property, their PRR keystone outline once clearly proclaiming the identity of the Standard Railroad of the World! Next, a series of three of specialized PRR mileposts. At Trail Mile 0.75, PRR Mile Marker 127 was denuded of its riveted-on letter and numerals, but new similarly styled numerals have been screwed into the old marker. Next up the trail, at Trail Mile 3, is PRR Milepost H128 ("H" for Hudson, Ohio depot and block station, where this line hooked on to the Pittsburgh-Cleveland mainline heading for the North Coast. While its northbound face still holds its orginal letter and numerals, the southbound face holds those replacement numerals only, as does Marker H130, at Trail Mile 3.8, just 1/2-mile short of the south end of the trail. A few miscellaneous historical notes: Several two-arm telegraph poles are still intact along the lower 0.6 miles of the trail, one right behind the H130 marker, "FN" block tower ("Frankin") once stood at the north end of a passing siding on this PRR' single-tracked "Akron Secondary Track" at Mile 127.4. -Rich Ballash, Latrobe, PA
I have ridden this trail several times and love it everytime. Passing under the shaded tunnel like tree limbs is a cool and relaxing feeling. Just in front of the Genoa TWP fire department is a refreshing water jug to refill your water bottles, or get a drink of the coldest and finest tasting water ever. Caution though, that hill to the Sunbury Road bridge is a very challenging hill. I made it twice and walked it the rest of the times. Definitely a ride you won't forget and will take a second or third time!
In 2010 a brand new traffic signal will be installed at SR-3 and Freeman Road (thanks to Genoa Township). Crosswalks will added to facilitate safer ped/bike east-west crossing of SR-3 55 mph 2-lane highway stretch. The community on the west side of the busy roadway will now have easier access to the east side trail along with reaching two adjacent Westerville public schools.
The two year postponed already financed trail expansion from Plumb Rd north following the eastern bank of Hoover Reservoir through Galena (utilizing two rail to trail bridges-spanning over the Big Walnut & Little Walnut Creeks) to Joe Walker Woods is scheduled to start in 2010. In the future it'll head to the town of Sunbury as part of the Ohio-To-Erie trail.
The Genoa Trail is the northern continuation and juncture of multiple paved trails existing from Westerville, OH (Delaware County) to the south, east & west. http://www.westerville.org/Portals/0/2008%20Bikeway%20Map.pdf
On the southern most end of Genoa Trail within Genoa Township - start from the traffic signal intersection of Maxtown Rd and McCorkle Blvd. (As of March 2009 no directional wayfaring signs have been posted). Proceed north crossing Maxtown Rd, jog to the east and then quick north jog onto Northgate Way, (behind the Home Depot), along a wide sidewalk. Mind all the curb cuts into the adjacent retail shopping center. Follow trail signs and cautiously cross over Northgate Way (at-grade mid point street crosswalk), which takes user on trail behind alley of a small strip center, cutting across UDF gas station driveway, and then cross Mt. Royal Ave. at traffic signal with crosswalk. You are now on the rail to trail. This very straight flat paved path is parralled by Westerville Rd/SR-3 to your immediate west and old 3-C a few blocks to the east. Between are two schools, two parks, churches, and new condos/housing developments rising from former farm land. The trail currently dead-ends onto Plumb Road
(note there is no parking on Plumb). Only public rest rooms and shelter along the trail are located at the Genoa park adjacent to Genoa Township Fire station, just northeast of Big Walnut Rd.
Just a couple of blocks east on Lewis Center Rd is a nice point of interest to picnic and perhaps stretch your legs with a nature walk is Delaware Preservation Park's 'Char-Mar Ridge Preserve.' It features a 1 1/2 mile loop nature trail - mostly dirt, with some gravel & woodchips where dogs are allowed but no bikes. Wonderful birding including some waterfowl since this watershed supports Hoover Reservoir to the immediate east. http://www.preservationparks.com/index.asp
This trail is straight and flat. It's great for a beginning rollerblader such as myself. Park in the church parking lot off of Freeman Road for easy access.
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