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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):
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 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.
A friend and I rode this route in May 2017, from South to North. Signage is excellent in Cincinnati and as far as Columbus. Once we hit the waterfront in downtown Columbus signage was sparse, and we ended up missing the turn onto Neil Rd, which takes you to the area near the Arena, and instead rode several miles along the Scioto River trail before we realized our mistake.
Signage was also sparse (nonexistent) at the Cleveland end. We ended up following signs for the Towpath, which took us through a questionable part of town, and eventually reconnected with the end of the trail, off of Franklin. Signage even after we returned to the route was nonexistent all the way to the end at Edgewater Park.
I will say that the recent maps, issued in February 2017, are excellent and now include designations for bike shops, definitely a plus.
The route was for the most part fabulous riding. We were self-contained and did fairly short days, taking about 10 days to complete the route. We also did a spur up to Springboro, which was gorgeous horse country riding, and although on roads, fairly low traffic. We especially enjoyed riding around Millersburg and sharing the trail with buggies. All the trails were in very good shape, and even the crushed limestone (the Northernmost two days) was well maintained and relatively smooth to ride.
The State of Ohio definitely deserves kudos for what they’ve put together. It’s amazing to be able to ride across a state almost entirely on bike path. We came from California just to ride this route, and it was well worth it.
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.
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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