Ohio to Erie Trail

Ohio

Ohio to Erie Trail Facts

States: Ohio
Counties: Clark, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Holmes, Knox, Madison, Stark, Summit, Warren, Wayne
Length: 274.1 miles
Trail end points: Lake Erie (Cleveland) and Ohio River (Cincinnati)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6360452
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Ohio to Erie Trail Description

The Ohio to Erie Trail is a planned 320-mile route via several existing trails that span the state of Ohio from the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland to the Ohio River in Cincinnati. When complete, the paved trail will connect residents in villages, towns and rural areas of all sizes with four of Ohio’s most populous cities: Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Akron.

More than 270 miles of the vast system are already complete and open for use, including long stretches extending north from Cincinnati and south from Cleveland. The trail uses former railroad corridors, canal towpaths and newly-developed greenways to cross the state, and the scenery is as varied as the corridor history.

Within Ohio’s larger metropolitan areas, the trail passes through vibrant urban centers, offering trail users access to museums, universities, sports facilities, restaurants and stores. In more rural areas, the trail courses through a diverse mix of farmland, wetlands, meadows, regional parks and nature preserves. In Holmes County, a unique stretch passes through the traditional center of Ohio’s Amish community, where the corridor is shared with local horse and buggy traffic.

As of 2016, 20 existing trails, all of which maintain their distinct identities, form the substantial open portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail. Refer to the individual TrailLink pages for more information on each segment. From north (Cleveland) to south (Cincinnati):

Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Sippo Valley Trail

Holmes County Trail

Mohican Valley Trail

Kokosing Gap Trail

Downtown Connector Trail

Heart of Ohio Trail

Galena Brick Trail

Hoover Scenic Trail

Genoa Trail

Westerville B&W

Alum Creek Greenway Trail

I-670 Downtown Connector Trail

Scioto Greenway Trail

Camp Chase Trail

Roberts Pass Trail

Prairie Grass Trail

Little Miami Scenic Trail

Lunken Airport Bike Path

Ohio River Trail

Two of the most anticipated future extensions along the route—bringing the Camp Chase Trail into downtown Columbus and the Little Miami Scenic Trail closer to Cincinnati—continue to be well-supported and well-funded. For now, visit IGotABike for information on how to bridge the trail gaps using on-road routes.

Refer to the Ohio to Erie Trail’s official website for more information on future additions to the trail, as well as a map, photos and instructions on how to donate to the organization’s efforts.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Ohio to Erie Trail is available at dozens of locations along its route. For more detailed information on trail access and parking, refer to the individual TrailLink pages for each trail segment.

Ohio to Erie Trail Reviews

I rode this route from Cleveland to Cincinnati over a six-day period from May 16-21, 2016. I mention this upfront because it may be relevant to my comments about going through Columbus later in the review.

Ohio and many of its communities and cycling enthusiasts deserve a hearty congratulations for taking on this ambitious effort, coordinating a route involving 10 or so independent, dedicated bike trails to allow the rider to travel the length of Ohio with only a few on-road segments. The amount of planning and cooperation required to do that is amazing.

Best parts:

The Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath Trail from Cleveland to south of Akron. Very easy getting out of downtown Cleveland. Beautiful scenery through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and beyond. Great little towns along the way, especially Peninsula and Canal Fulton.

Holmes County Trail in east-central Ohio. Shared use trail with a lane for bikes and a lane for Amish/Mennonite horse & buggy travelers – how cool is that? Hilly countryside with nice small towns – Millersburg was a favorite.

Little Miami Scenic Trail from Xenia to Cincinnati. Stunning scenery, and downhill all the way if you’re heading south.

Route markings: The entire route from Cleveland to Cincinnati is very well signed, with exceptions noted below.

Things that could use improvement:

Map set. The four-piece map set for the entire route is pretty to look at, and conveniently sized, but it lacks some critical information that multi-day cyclists need – namely, which towns offer food, lodging (campground/motel), and have bike shops. The maps say that “facilities” are available at some locations, but what does that mean? I’d suggest the designers of these maps take a look at what Adventure Cycling Association does with its route maps – they’re much better.

Route changes – Columbus in particular. A printed addendum I received with my map set said the route through Columbus had been changed. I followed the narrative instructions,got terribly lost, and ended up having to ride many miles on sidewalks through sketchy neighborhoods. It was a disaster. This may be better by the time you’re reading this review, however – I believe the changes in the Columbus route were under way at the time of my ride, and perhaps the problems I experienced have been fixed by now.

Lodging information. Again, for multi-day riders (and that’s pretty much inevitable on a 330-mile route), knowledge of where you can camp or find a motel is essential. Towns along the route could be more helpful in providing this information, as well as incorporating it into the map set.

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