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The Great Miami River Trail is the backbone of one of the nation’s largest paved trail networks, spanning 340 miles throughout Ohio’s Miami Valley. The route connects beautiful natural areas, small towns, and large cities across four Ohio counties.
Beginning in Piqua, the trail has a wonderfully maintained asphalt surface for its entire length of more than 86 miles. The majority of the trail keeps you close to the river, creating a prime opportunity to observe wildlife along the way. Riding along the river, you quickly see that the impressive levee system built to keep the river out of town has allowed the space for a trail to be built.
Leaving Piqua on your way south to Troy, you’ll be delighted with the Robert J. Shook Memorial Bikeway Bridge over the river. Entering Troy, you’ll experience some impressive routing through the city that allows you to maintain a trail experience in some tight space situations. As you regain the river, you’re greeted with an impressive city park along the waterfront.
Heading south, you will welcome the shaded tree canopy. Tipp City offers many amenities for trail users, including some of the best way-finding signage you can hope to see along a trail. The next stretch of trail is amazingly scenic and quiet as you ride through forests and a metro park before crossing the river again and continuing underneath I-70.
The trail entrance into Dayton proper is a great experience. You pass through five different parks and one island and cross two trail bridges! The path hugs the river through the city, with ample chances to turn off and enjoy amenities.
In Dayton, many trail connections are possible. On the city's west side, you can connect to the Wolf Creek Trail, which heads northwest to Trotwood, Brookville, and Verona. On the city’s north end, you can hop on the Stillwater River Bikeway to go to Englewood. In Dayton’s RiverScape MetroPark, the trail intersects with the Mad River Trail, which reaches the museums and attractions of the National Aviation Heritage Area and the Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
The Great Miami River Trail continues through small towns, including Miamisburg, which boasts many trail-friendly places to visit and helpful signage telling you how to get to them. The end of this long stretch of connected trail is just south of Franklin, 57.6 miles from Piqua.
After a short gap, the trail picks up again just southwest of Franklin and continues uninterrupted through the city of Middletown. After another gap, the final completed section of the path begins at Rentschler Forest MetroPark north of Hamilton. The trail travels through the city to its terminus at Waterworks Park just south of Hamilton.
The Great Miami River Trail connects several parks, which offer parking and other facilities (north to south):
I rode the section from Dayton to Troy and back on a 90+ degree day. It is a beautiful trail that is well signed, in a good condition, and has a fair amount of shade. There were some rough patches of asphalt near Troy but otherwise it was in excellent condition.
I rode this section of the trail north in August 2017. Like the rest of the trail it is well-maintained and signed. The Middletown section is the most industrial portion of the trail. There is a 1.5 mile gap between where the trail ends north of Middletown and where it picks up again just south of Franklin, Ohio. This gap can be bridged by riding the shoulder of Route 73 until you reach Baxter Road. Route 73 is a divided roadway so the cars and trucks are traveling at high speed. Fortunately, the shoulder is pretty wide and the distance can be covered in 10-15 minutes. Once you are back on the trail heading north, you pass through the cities/towns of Franklin, Miamisburg, and West Carrolton before reaching Dayton and the UD campus. Like much of this trail the towns and cities nearby embrace the trail and cater to cyclists. This section of the trail is the least shaded of all, so those with fair skin definitely should lather up with sunscreen. You might also want to consider the temperature forecast before riding this section as it was pretty hot during my August ride.
This is a great trail. The surface is in good shape and the route is well signed. Despite traveling through the suburban/urban setting of the Great Miami River watershed much of this ride feels as though you are in a park like setting. Worth checking out more than once.
On April 2, 2017, I rode the southern portion of the Great Miami River Trail from Fairfield, OH to Rentschler Forest MetroPark at the Reigart Road Entrance northeast of Hamilton, OH. Here the trail ends as there is a gap from here to the northern portion of the trail which picks up south of Middletown, OH. The round trip was just over 20 miles. This section of the trail is well marked. I was especially impressed that almost all of the driftwood and litter debris that the Great Miami River had deposited along the trail when the water level had been higher, had been moved off of the trail by either volunteers or City of Hamilton workers. It is nice to see the pride in what the trail means to the community. I'd love to see the gap between the Hamilton and Middleton sections of this trail completed and the GMRT become one continuous trail.
I rode only the northern end (Huber Heights to Piqua and back approx. 60 mi) and found it to be quite scenic and interesting ride. Surface generally in good shape and smooth. The southern portion of my trip, especially in Montgomery county was well signed and easy to follow where the trail diverts and how far to the next notable trailheads. The middle section (especially around Troy) was very poorly signed and more than once did I need to double back to find where the trail continued. The trail is marked every 1/4 mile, so in theory if you go on too far without the next mileage mark, you should wonder if you strayed, but that's not a reliable system. I particularly note the lack of signage at the Eldean covered bridge about the trail crossing the street and going behind a baseball diamond as an example. Signage picked up somewhat around Piqua.
The loop around Piqua made the perfect turning spot and provided many interesting sights throughout town.
No, the Great Miami River Trail DOES NOT run from Piqua all the way south to Fairfield.
It comes to a dead halt at Middletown, and then picks up again in Hamilton, going south. That's a major gap, with no clear, safe way to bridge it.
It's a fine trail. I've ridden it often. It's particularly pretty along the river from north of Dayton to south of Piqua.
March 13, 2017: Good news for GMRT users. The I-75 renovation project in downtown Dayton is complete and the GMRT is no longer re-routed onto city streets. The original bike trail has been repaved and is open to riders.
PLUS, the two River Run Projects in downtown Dayton are nearly finished (Grand Opening of the River Runs scheduled for May 5th, 2017) The GMRT runs right past the two canoe/kayak river chutes next to RiverScape metro park.
Have ridden this entire trail in 20+ mile sections in 2014-2016. Great river scenery. The two sections in Hamilton, OH are now connected as of July, 2016.
We love the Great Miami River Trail. We always see wildlife and enjoy the natural setting. It would be wonderful if there was campgrounds that were located near the trail, so that people could rent a tent or small cabin. Middletown and Monroe area would be perfect.
I walk on this path often! Love it
Did 51 miles on the Great Miami going north 20 miles from Vandalia and 5 miles south ( and back.) Overall this trail is very pretty. I would strongly recommend it to avid riders who just want to have a good time. The scenery is varied, some city in Troy, lots of woods, river and canal views and some farmland.
I have done trails in 24 states and over half the rails to trails hall of fame and I have three comments that I hope will be construed as a suggestion for improvement and not a criticism. It is hard to be negative when I has such a great day.
1. The route was confusing in places, especially northbound. There were a number of side spurs and for the novice on the trail, the route especially around Troy was confusing. We missed a few turns and went on side routes. Better signage would be very helpful.
2. The lack of amenities on the trail. For this reason alone I like the Little Miami Trail better. I did not find anywhere we could get water on our trip and we wanted to get some lunch. However I saw nothing along the route to the metal walking bridge in Piqua that looked like a place to eat, even a gas station to get a drink. I am sure if we got off the trail there would have been places in Troy or Tipp City, but we were not sure where to even look.
3. The last relates to the first two and that is the lack of good maps online or on the trail. Navigating Troy would have been much easier if we had some kind of map of the town ( with restaurants or gas stations, e.g.) What I tried to download was just not adequate.
The Little Miami trail (in contrast) has wonderful maps although I realize there is no town as big as Troy to navigate through.
In conclusion, the scenery and the mileage makes this trail well worth your time and I would recommend it as a destination bike trip.( we traveled 2 hours to ride part of it and consider the day well spent). However, to get five stars from me a few improvements would be nice
August 9th, 2015 my wife and I rode the section of the trail that starts north of Middleton and goes south of Middletown. We parked at the second parking area from the north end of this section. The trail had a lot of gravel on it and it looks like it was blown there by a mower when the trail was mowed. There was a couple of places where gravel was washed over the trail. South of Middletown near Windsor Ave the trail was covered for an extended distance by water. We had to turn around a reach our milage goals on the other end of the trail.
The river and wild life made the ride interesting. At Hook Airfield Municipal Airport we enjoyed watching three static line parachutists and then eight free-fall sky divers.
Nice trail that would be much better if the gravel was not thrown onto the trail.
This trail is such an awesome trail! I've ridden it mostly north of I-70. It has minimal road interaction and is very smooth. Several miles between Tipp City and Troy are along the old Ohio-Erie canal pathway. There are a number of places to stop for a bite or fill up the water bottle. I can't say enough about this trail - you have to ride this one!
We have done this trail 2x's, one with trail a bike/5 yr old and one time without, both times just great and on road bikes. Although we did not do the whole trail, we did start at the trail head by Old River Park, and went to Franklin. The great thing about this trail is it follows the river 90+ of the way, lots of wildlife, a nice breeze and great scenery. Another nice thing about this trail is that there are plenty of places to stop along the way in the little towns, which is a plus with kids, and there are plenty of parks along the way for them to play and sit on benches alongside the river. The National Air Force Museum is in Dayton and it is free, very cool, so if you want to take a side jaunt it works! (you will be on roads to get there so not a good idea with kids on bikes). We drive from Indianapolis to do this trail because of its high quality of riding, not congested, (maybe a little on a cool day near Franklin), awesome scenery, nice people and things to do in Dayton. Oh, also, by Franklin there is a hill, I do not know the intersection, but it is near the south end of this trail, you will know the hill when you see it-it is a monster. If going south, and you meet a intersection-look to your right, if you can take a side jaunt up that hill and make it, you need to write about it!
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