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Beginning at a connection with the T. J. Evans Trail, this 3-mile paved pathway heads through Newark's western neighborhoods along the scenic Raccoon Creek to Flory Park. For much of the route, the trail parallels the south side of State Route 16, though there is a wide median and fencing between the roadway and the path.
Approaching its eastern end, the trail offers access to the J. Gilbert Reese Bridge, a pedestrian crossing over SR 16. If you take that spur, you will follow a paved trail north to the Ohio State University at Newark campus. If you don't take the bridge and continue east, the Newark Trail ends just a stone's throw from the Licking County Family YMCA.
On the west end of the trail, parking is available off Cherry Valley Road, south of its intersection with Reddington Road. On the east end of the trail, parking is available at the Licking County Family YMCA (470 West Church St.).
This is an easily-accessed trail that has a few hills, bridges, and spurs to various locations such as the local OSU campus. It is quiet, with the exception of a bit where it’s alongside highway 16. (There is a protective barrier separating the path and highway). It’s a great in-and-out ride for a quick outing.
I rode almost 10 miles on an out-and-back round trip on the Newark Trail. This is a paved commuter route that runs along the OH-16 freeway from the intersection with the T.J. Evans Trail just off of Cherry Valley Road on the western end to the Licking County Family YMCA off of 12th Street in the east. This trail needs to be extended further east to the county courthouse in downtown Newark, and then onto the T.J. Evans Panhandle Trail. When traveling eastward, once you reach the Y you can follow the designated route into downtown but you are no longer riding a trail nor riding in a bike lane but rather on streets marked with sharrows. There is an additional spur to this trail that crosses over OH-16 and connects to the campus of Ohio State University-Newark. This spur actually goes 1.5 miles further north of the OSU-Newark campus to Goose Pond Road which gives the trail user access to Rotary Park, the Lou & Gib Reese Ice Arena, and the Newark Area Soccer Association athletic fields. I only rode this spur up to the OSU- Newark campus as a weather front was coming in and I wanted to avoid getting wet.
For a commuter trail I think this trail has a number of unique sights and certainly a certain level of utility. However, I think that for this trail to become completely useful to the citizens of Newark, and Licking County in general, the city and county leaders must find a way to create an off-road trail or series of protected bike lanes from the eastern end of the Newark Trail into downtown Newark, and then on to connect to the T.J. Evans Panhandle Trail. It will be at this point where there will be a backbone of a regional trail system of which they can be proud.
I’ve ridden and walked this trail for 15 years. It gets you downtown (almost), to the Newark campus, to the west side of town. It’s not particularly well-maintained, though not bad (I’d bike but not skate). Mostly, though, it’s not scenic—it just gets you where you want to go. At the western end, it crosses a pretty metal bridge and connects directly to trails to Johnstown and to Granville. The hotel there makes a nice stop for food/drink.
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