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The nearly 11-mile MetroParks Bikeway provides a scenic and well-designed link to communities and natural sites in this northeast region of Ohio. The rail-trail follows a corridor between Canfield and Austintown townships that was originally built in the 1860s as a portion of the Cleveland and Mahoning Valley Railroad. This rail line provided an important link between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, while also offering passenger service to towns along the way. Though rail service here is long since gone, today the rail-trail connects several of the communities that were once served by the railroad. For visitors and locals alike, the route provides an ideal way to discover the charms of this tranquil region of the state.
The paved MetroParks Bikeway passes through both suburbs and countryside. Traveling north from the trail’s beginning at West Western Reserve Road, find the Metro-Parks Farm. This 400-acre working farm sprawls along both sides of the trail and presents educational programs, tours, and agricultural displays seasonally. On the east side of the trail, the Canfield Fairgrounds holds one of Ohio’s largest fairs every year.
Farther along, you’ll travel alongside Sawmill Creek Preserve, a 154-acre forested area with trees and shrubs that prevents sediments from entering Sawmill Creek. This is a tributary of Meander Creek Reservoir, the major source of drinking water for the region. Keep your eyes open for diverse species of birds and other wildlife that live in the preserve.
Enjoy a break at one of the jewels of the trail: the Kirk Road trailhead. This award-winning, depot-themed facility provides trailside basics, such as a picnic pavilion, drinking fountains, and restrooms, and also hosts educational and trailside activities. Housed in a historical 1938 Works Progress Administration–built sandstone structure at the trailhead is a bicycle rental and repair shop. Spend time at the shop exploring both the interior and exterior of the site. Later, travel over the Mahoning Avenue overpass, and see additional nods to the route’s railroad past in this unique structure, designed to resemble a historical trestle.
The trail ends at County Line Road, where you can make a seamless transition to the 4.5-mile Niles Greenway.
There is no parking at the southernmost end of the trail; the closest parking is at MetroParks Farm. From I-80, take Exit 224A. Take OH 11 south 6.2 miles to Exit 34. Turn right onto US 224 and go 1 mile; then turn left onto OH 46, which becomes S. Broad St. In 0.8 mile, turn left to remain on OH 46. The bikeway parking lot is immediately on your right after turning.
To reach the Kirk Road trailhead from I-80, take Exit 223, and head south on OH 46 N/Canfield Niles Road. In 3.8 miles, turn right onto Kirk Road, and go 1.4 miles. The trailhead and parking lot are on the left, just before you go under the I-76 overpass.
To reach the Mahoning Ave. overpass from I-80, take Exit 224A. Head south on OH 11, and go 1.4 miles to Exit 39. Turn right onto Mahoning Ave./County Road 18, and go 1.9 miles. Immediately after traveling under the overpass, turn right onto Harold St. to reach a small trailhead with a gravel parking lot on the left. This access point is approximately 2.5 miles from the northern end of the MetroParks Bikeway.
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