North Coast Inland Trail (Lorain County)


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North Coast Inland Trail (Lorain County) Facts

States: Ohio
Counties: Lorain
Length: 19.3 miles
Trail end points: Ford Rd, 0.3 mile northeast of Midway Blvd (Elyria) and County Line Rd, 0.3 mile north of US 20 (Wakeman)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6121507

North Coast Inland Trail (Lorain County) Description

Closure Notice: The pedestrian bridge over the West Branch of the Black River, near the Western Falls and the southwest end of Cascade Park, is closed due to disrepair. Follow the alternative route provided by Lorain County Metro Parks.

The North Coast Inland Trail will one day stretch across northern Ohio from Indiana to Pennsylvania on a network of connecting off-road trails. Today, large sections of the trail, especially from the Indiana border to Lorain County, Ohio, are well defined. One of these segments, a 19.3-mile route from Wakeman to Elyria, formerly known as the Oberlin Bike Path, is a popular and well-used trail. The other components of the North Coast Inland Trail are located in Huron County and Sandusky and Ottawa counties.

The Lorain County trail follows the corridor of the former Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad along a paved pathway that offers a classic rail-trail experience: flat and mostly straight. Find the entrance to the trail on County Line Road (also called Green Street) at the Huron County border, less than a mile north of US Route 20, just east of the town of Wakeman. Enjoy a quiet ride through farmland for about 2 miles before reaching Kipton’s downtown community park. The park in Kipton has a porta-john and a gazebo. It also features a historic marker commemorating the Great Kipton Train Wreck. It was here in 1891 that two trains collided head on, resulting in eight deaths. The wreck was blamed on a train conductor’s watch, which was slow by 4 minutes and caused him to delay moving one of the trains to a separate track. Railroad officials hired prominent Cleveland jeweler Webb Ball to investigate railroad timekeeping and institute standards to avoid such accidents. Locals credit Ball’s capable work with the origin of the much-used idiom “on the ball.”

Heading toward Oberlin, open fields and farmhouses spread out again on both sides of the trail. Passing under an old railroad bridge, the trail empties briefly onto well-marked bike lanes on Hamilton Road, with the first glimpse of the Oberlin golf course alongside. In less than a mile, a left-right jog puts riders back on the path, which continues along the golf links. At the Professor St. crossing the beautifully restored Oberlin train depot comes into view. The site includes a grassy park and playground, outdoor exercise equipment, drinking fountains and picnic tables. (A side trip north on Ohio Rt. 58 puts one in downtown Oberlin with its many shops, restaurants, and Oberlin College.) The path continues east across Rt. 58 and within a few yards arrives at the George Abram Pavilion, newly opened in 2019, with picnic tables for 50, public restrooms (open April to November), twenty parking spaces, and a view of the historic restored Gasholder House, built in 1889 for Oberlin’s first street lighting.

Past Oberlin, the vista becomes rolling farmland, with herds of cattle and roaming horses, as well as rural homesteads. Birdlife along the way includes cardinals, turkey vultures, bluebirds, warblers, and vireos. This end of the trail has recently been extended and now continues to the Black River Reservation in Elyria. This trailhead provides restrooms and water fountains, as well as a connection to the Bridgeway Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

There is no parking at the western end of the trail. The Kipton trailhead has the closest available parking and is easy to reach. From the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/I-90), take Exit 135, and head south on Baumhart Road/County Road 51. In 1.3 miles turn right onto OH 113. In 1.4 miles turn left onto Vermilion Road, which becomes OH 511. Go 5.2 miles, and turn right onto Rosa St. Park on the right in Kipton Community Park. The end of the trail is 2 miles west.

To reach the Oberlin trailhead from the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/I-90), take Exit 140. Head south on OH 58 to downtown Oberlin. Go 6.4 miles to reach the parking lot on the right at the Oberlin Depot (240 S. Main St.).

There is an additional parking lot and portable restroom at the Butternut Ridge Rd trailhead, between Oberlin and Elyria. 

To reach the northern end of the trail: From I-90, take Exit 148 for OH 254 toward Sheffield/-Avon. Follow OH 254 west 1.6 miles, then turn left onto W. River Road. In 1.5 miles turn left onto Midway Blvd., and continue straight (veering left) onto Ford Road. In 0.5 mile turn left into the Black River Reservation and the High Meadows Picnic Area parking lots.

North Coast Inland Trail (Lorain County) Reviews

It's a very nice trail, but hard to find the signs in Elyria

I was coming from the West. Once I got to the gateway trail head, there were signs at first to direct where to go, but it didn't prevent me from losing the suggested path. Once I pulled up the map from here, the line didn't align with any trail or road near Cascade park and it had it going right through a very closed, very tall fence at the Elyria Police station. Unless there is an underwound tunnel that I didn't see the entrance to, this map was apparently drawn by someone that hasn't been through there. Maybe it was "this is about where we want it to go" at one point, but don't trust the map.

Define Rail Trail

Overall I enjoyed riding the NCIT when I found what to me is the true start of a rail trail.

I feel both TrailLink and the Lorian County parks are misleading on the overall length and nature of the trail. Not all of the advertised 19.3 miles are continuous asphalt for pedestrians and cyclists. There are gaps that would require you to either use a dedicated bike lane (not too big of an issue) or sharing a sidewalk or road shoulder with no shade (a much larger issue to me).

To me the true rail trail experience starts at The Gateway Trailhead in Elyria (6302 Gateway Blvd, Elyria). From there it is a short on road section to a little over 15 miles of paved, mostly flat trail. The trail is in very good condition, has mile markers every half mile and although it has a fair amount of road crossings there was only one in the 15 miles that was busy.

Scenery is mostly farmland, with a small bit of woods and wetlands. Oberlin is a good stop off with many options for food only a short ride off the trail. If I had known to start at the Gateway Trailhead this would have been an easy 5 star trail for me.

Map is wrong in Cascade Park

The bridge that is shown going over the West Branch of the Black River in Cascde Park is closed. Lorain Metro Parks suggest a different route going through Elywood Park. See link to Cascade Park for recommended route.


Nice trail

Rode the full North Coast Inland Trail and in this county the trail is well maintained.

I was riding south to north toward Elyria and hit West 3rd St and there is a sign about bike lanes but does not really point you in the right direction. So seems it could be improved.


NCIT in Lorain County

The North Coast Inland Trail NE-bound extends beyond Elyria as shown in your map.
The NCIT continues to the shore of Lake Erie at the Lakeside Landing in Lorain, Ohio.

"On the Ball" on the NCIT

Rode from Elyria to Wakeman. Great trail and shaded most of the way in the morning. Bruce Chapman bridge in Wakeman has new approach from the east. Cinder surface but it gets the job done. Learned from the sign at Kipton how the term "Get on the ball" developed from Webb Ball hired in 1891 to get better watches for conductors on trains after 2 crashed into each other because one had time 4 minutes off. Look for historical marker when you ride through.

Easy trail to ride on!

Rode the entire length and also into Huron County onto the next trail. I found this trail to be one of the easiest to ride. Seemed downhill both ways on a very good asphalt paved surface. Trail goes through several small towns, aka villages and the scenery is mostly farmlands and wooded sections. The downside to this trail is there are a lot of road crossings, too many to count though someone else has already done that! Luckily the road crossings are small not a lot of traffic back roads so if there is a wait, it's not a long wait.
Parked in Elyria and headed West. There are mile markers going in each direction.
8 miles from Elyria is Oberlin. There's an old train station there and you could bike into town for trail services such as lunch. We ate at a pizza place which had outdoor seating.
A few miles west of Oberlin is Kipton which is just biking through a community park.
We biked to Green Road and did the share the road section for a little bit before entering Huron County (next trail section) and biked on into Wakeman.

Nice trail. Crosses 20+roads.

Nice trail. Crosses 20+roads.

Newly paved section near Kipton.

The North Coast Inland Trail has now been paved between Kipton and Wakeman. Enjoy it!

A Nice Start to a Grander Future Trail

In May of 2017 I put in 30.3 miles riding out and back on the Lorain County section of the North Coast Inland Trail from the Gateway trailhead in Elyria to 1.5 miles west of Kipton, OH. In Elyria, the trail extends beyond the Gateway trailhead up to the Black River Reservation Metropark. However, I would suggest that this section could be tricky as traffic will be heavy around the commercial/retail area near Midway Mall. The trail itself is a wide paved path in good shape except for the last 1.5 miles, which starting at Baird Road switches to medium sized limestone gravel -- probably not a good idea for skinny-tired bikes. West of Kipton the trail ends and you would have to ride the roads to reach the next completed section. Bring sunscreen with you as the further west you go the more open the trail becomes as you get into farming country.

According to this 15 mile section is part of the 67.5 miles of trail currently open. When completely done this trail will stretch from Elyria to Toledo, OH and will cover about 270 miles making it probably the penultimate East-West trail in Ohio.

Oberlin New Bike Rules

Went on our normal bike ride on the NCITrail with 12 people stopped at the Oberlin Café for lunch . Found out the city of Oberlin passed laws against locking your bikes to lamp post ,park bench, tree, they will confiscate your bike. Charlie

North Coast Inland Trail

I came from Michigan rode my bike from Monroe I rode the segment from Elmore to Bellevue I'm planning to ride the hole length nice

North Coast Inland Trail

"Dave" August 17, 2016 The west end of the trail is rough gravel and leads to a busy road (RT20. The east end leads to a 2 lane one way Ed with the trailhead nowhere near the end. The best part was a McDonald's smoothie in Oberlin.

Usually a nice trail, but . . .

We've ridden the entire length of this trail several times, from Kipton to Elyria and back. It's typically a very pleasant, easy ride with friendly people who always say "hi" as we pass. However, today (7/4/2016), on our way back from Elyria, we encountered a "gang" of at least 15 youths (probably aged 10-14) between the "green" crossing after McDonald's and before the golf course.

They were grouped together both deep and wide. We saw an opening on the right and said "excuse us...on your right" and they started trash-talking, challenging us to race them (they would have lost), being rude and threatening. We did not engage them, hoping they would lose interest.

They continued taunting and jabbering for about 4 minutes, before turning left off of the trail.

We've seen the occasional "shady" individual or groups of two on the trail, and just continue on our way. But, this was a bit scary. Knowing the Oberlin area, I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened before. So, be careful out there. Maybe carry a small can of mace, just in case.

North Coast trail

I guess im spoiled riding in PA and WV . Gave this a try being only an hour away . Next time ill make the extra drive out of state or at least the Towpath in Cuyahoga Valley . If you like a bike road that is straight and flat with no scenery than this is for you .

North Coast Inland Trail

this is our closest & one of our most favorite trails! we either ride a quick 11 mile roundtrip Kipton to Oberlin or time permitting Oberlin to Elyria 16 miles roundtrip or the full 26.2 miles Kipton to Elyria on the weekend. beautiful countryside, smooth & flat ~ always fun! excited to see work at Baird Rd to extend the trail westbound. we LOVE this trail!

Nice flat trail

Love this trail. If you park in Elyria there are no bathrooms & really none on the trail. Only a few benches along the way. There is a McDonalds about 8 miles in to the ride. The trail is not usually too crowded. There are stretches with direct sun exposure so sunscreen is suggested and plenty of water. The trail ends and you have to ride on the road for about 1.5 mile but there is a designated lane for bikes. It's worth it to do it because the trail picks back up and it's a nice part of the trail.
There is an option to ride into the college town of Oberlin. There are some sandwich shops and ice cream.

Very nice ride

The trail is as discribed. We rode from Kipton east to Elyria and back. Was a nice early fall day for the 26 mile round trip. I would imagine that in the dog days of summer, during mid day, this might be a rough ride as the trail is not overly canopied.

Anyway, we traveled from the east side of Cleveland to check out a new trail and found it well worth the trip. Enjoy!

Good ride!

This is one of my favorite places to ride. I can use my headphones and not worry about car traffic, other than crossing backroads. It's very pretty, even in winter. Go later in the evening and you'll see rabbits and deer crossing your path. It's a gradual incline and decline so you will pedal. If the winter is not harsh this year, I will keep riding all winter as well.

Kipton toward Oberlin

We rode on the Ohio North Coast Inland Trail, starting in Kipton and heading toward Oberlin, in August 2012. Our ride was unfortunately shortened by a rainstorm, but we had a great time and the trail is in great shape. We look forward to returning!

Elyria, Oberlin and Kipton

As a novice rider, I really enjoyed this trail. Straight and mostly flat with very gradual inclines, the trail takes you through great farmland and small towns. Be careful at intersections. A lot of the trail is without shade, so an early start keeps you cool during summer months. Get off the trail in Oberlin to see the historic college's great buildings, have brunch in one of the small restaurants, and head back to finish the trail. The trail still ends outside of Kipton. I don't know if anyone will connect this great trail as was mentioned in the reviews from a decade ago but if they do, I for one will be riding it.

Elyria to Kipton

Words can not describe or do justice to this flat and easy to ride trail.

You must be careful as many of the streets to cross are highways. One especially is very blind. Signs warn you of this.

People are friendly to bikers there. Traffic stopped in both directions so we could cross. I have not seen this before.

Thank you.

Peaceful trail

"This is a peaceful trail, great for biking. It is presently underutilized even on weekends, and I selfishly hope it stays that way for a while."

Great trail

Great trail -- can't wait until they get it all done.

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