Ohio to Erie Trail


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Ohio to Erie Trail Facts

States: Ohio
Counties: Clark, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Holmes, Knox, Madison, Stark, Summit, Warren, Wayne
Length: 293 miles
Trail end points: Edgewater Park, 7600 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway (Cleveland) and Smale Riverfront Park,166 W Mehring Way (Cincinnati)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6360452

Ohio to Erie Trail Description

Closure Notice: There are several closures and detours in place for the Ohio to Erie Trail. In Cleveland, there is an active closure for Franklin Rd. near Irishtown Bend and a detour is in place. A section of the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail between Alexander Rd. and W. Aurora Rd. has weekly closures in place M-F each week until May 3rd, 2024. In Columbus along the Scioto Greenway, Souder Bridge is closed. In Loveland, the bridge over O'Bannon Creek is closed with a detour in place. See here for more information.


The Ohio to Erie Trail is a colossal project, not just for the state of Ohio but also nationally. Dreamed up more than 25 years ago, this route will eventually connect the Ohio River in Cincinnati to Lake Erie in Cleveland. Trail lovers the world over can now come to the Buckeye State and enjoy either the entire route (with some on-road connectors) or choose from the myriad of completed trails that make up this corridor.

About the Route

Starting right in Cleveland, the Ohio to Erie Trail leads off from the shores of Lake Erie and heads first east along the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail then south along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which stretches more than 80 miles from the city, through beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the vibrant city of Akron, south to the village of Bolivar. As the trail approaches Massillon, the Towpath Trail connects to the Sippo Valley Trail in Massillon. From there, the Sippo Valley Trail heads west into Wayne County and reaches its westernmost end in Dalton.

Between Dalton and Fredericksburg, there is a 17-mile gap in the official trail, though it can be connected via. on-road sections and bike lanes. Once in Fredericksburg, the Ohio to Erie Trail picks back up as the Holmes County Trail, notable for the Amish buggy path and unique shared-corridor experience. Holmes County notably boasts one of the largest communities of Amish in North America.

From Holmes County, the trail enters Knox County and crosses the Bridge of Dreams, Ohio’s second-longest covered bridge. The bridge is part of the Mohican Valley Trail, which includes some more breathtaking vistas before its end in Danville. Just on the other side of town, the trail continues as Kokosing Gap Trail, which runs through Knox County seat of Mount Vernon. Though short (just a mile long), the Downtown Connector Trail, which runs through the heart of Mount Vernon, makes a crucial link to the Heart of Ohio Trail, a newly emerging route that connects many small towns on its route towards suburban Columbus.

The Heart of Ohio Trail takes travelers through the geographic center of Ohio and the appropriately named village of Centerburg. In Delaware County, the Heart of Ohio trail connects with the Meredith State Road Trail, which continues to the city of Sunbury.

In Sunbury, there is a small on-road section that fills the gap in between the Heart of Ohio Trail and the Galena Brick Trail, a mile-long pathway named after the town’s historical Galena Shale Tile and Brick Company dating back to the 1890s. On the south side of Galena, the trail joins with the Hoover Scenic Trail, a beautiful short, paved path with great views of the Hoover Reservoir. This route ends at Plumb Road, where trail users can connect to the Genoa Trail, just on the other side of the roadway. This 4-mile paved path weaves through many landscapes, including some wonderful residential neighborhoods, ending at the border of Westerville. Westerville offers an exceptional trail system—the Westerville B&W, part of which is included in the Ohio to Erie Trail path.

The Alum Creek Trail joins the route at Westerville’s Main Street; heads south, passing under I-270; and travels through Columbus as it follows a lush riparian corridor dotted with parks. At I-670, a short but important connector, the Downtown Connector Trail (Columbus), takes trail users into the city center. The Scioto River winds right through downtown, and the Scioto Greenway Trail hugs its banks, crossing the waterway via. an amazing bridge to get into the Hilltop neighborhood. Once in this neighborhood, the route connects to the Camp Chase Trail after a short gap. The Camp Chase Trail goes over I-270 and back into the country.

Seamlessly blending together, the Roberts Pass Trail picks up where Camp Chase ends in Madison County. Beautiful farmlands and wetlands take trail users into the county seat of London, where you meet the Prairie Grass Trail on the other side of town (there’s a short gap through town). This paved, 29-mile route crosses classic Ohio farm country with quaint small towns sprinkled all the way to Xenia in Greene County. Xenia Station is the terminus of this trail and the nexus for three other major regional trails.

South from here, the Little Miami Scenic Trail continues the Ohio to Erie Trail. This rail trail begins the final leg of the journey, which is about 50 miles from Xenia to just outside Cincinnati. A few short miles of on-street riding and a quick hop on a portion of the Lunken Airport Trail takes trail users to the Ohio River Trail in Cincinnati, which leads to the southernmost terminus of this epic Cross-Ohio trail at Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati.


The following trails (listed North-South) make up parts of the Ohio to Erie Trail: Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail, Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Sippo Valley TrailHolmes County TrailMohican Valley Trail, Kokosing Gap TrailDowntown Connector TrailHeart of Ohio TrailGalena Brick TrailHoover Scenic TrailGenoa TrailWesterville B&WAlum Creek TrailDowntown Connector Trail (Columbus)Scioto Greenway TrailCamp Chase TrailRoberts Pass TrailPrairie Grass TrailLittle Miami Scenic TrailLunken Airport Trail and the Ohio River Trail  Many of these trails only share parts of their route with this trail and trail users can veer off the Ohio to Erie Route and continue along the individual trails.

The Ohio to Erie Trail is part of the Great American Rail Trail, a 3,700-mile route from Washington to Washington D.C. 

The northern portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail is part of the Industrial Heartlands Trailsa developing network of trails across West Virginia, Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. 

Parking and Trail Access

The Ohio to Erie Trail runs between Edgewater Park, 7600 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway (Cleveland) and Smale Riverfront Park,166 W Mehring Way (Cincinnati), with parking at both ends.

Some additional parking options (out of numerous options along the route) include:

  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 1550 Boston Mills Rd (Peninsula)
  • 501 S Main St (Mount Vernon)
  • 90922 S Detroit St (Xenia)

There are public transportation options for accessing the trail within the three major cities along the route: Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

With such an extensive trail network, there are numerous points at which to park and access the Ohio to Erie Trail system. Please refer to the individual TrailLink pages or see TrailLink Map.

Ohio to Erie Trail Reviews

We did a 8.45 mi round trip between Harvard Rd and Warren Rd overhead bridge. Being in a wheelchair we had no issues whatsoever with the surface of the trail.

We did a 8.45 mi round trip between Harvard Rd and Warren Rd overhead bridge. Being in a wheelchair we had no issues whatsoever with the surface of the trail.

Enjoy Ohio on a bike...

• If you are a gravel enthusiast, you will be very disappointed as the OTET is 92% either paved or concrete.
• I would not attempt to experience the OTET without GPS guidance {bike computer or 3rd party software on a smartphone {i.e. Ride with GPS} or you will experience navigation set backs on your adventure.
• Areas that are crushed limestone/chert have a sparse covering and could be messy after a rain as there was plenty of exposed hard packed dirt due to a lack of limestone/chert covering.

Cleveland to Massillon 5 October 2022 ~ 70 miles
• Trails Experienced:
o Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail

• Beautiful views of the Cayuga river and Canal tow path with some locks in remarkable condition.
• Detour at the city limits of Massillon and as we arrived at end of the workday and the transition through was met with heavy traffic. You will need to make the downtown transition to rejoin the OTET on the Southside of Massillon.
Massillon to Mount Vernon 6 October 2022 ~ 80 miles
• Trails Experienced:
o Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail
o Sippo Valley Trail (10 Mile)
o Holmes County Trail (23 Mile)
o Kokosing Gap Trail (13.5 Mile)

• Expect rural road riding (20+ mile) through Mennonite/Amish communities from Dalton to Fredericksburg. This transition was well marked at every turn and you can see an example in the photo section for this trail.

Mount Vernon to Columbus 7 October 2022 ~ 52 miles
• Trails Experienced:
o Heart of Ohio Trail (17 Mile)
o Alum Creek Trail (25.2 Mile)

Columbus to Xenia 8 October 2022 ~ 60 miles
• Trails Experienced:
o Camp Chase Trail (15.9 Miles)
o Robert’s Pass Trail (6.5 Miles)
o Prairie Grass Trail (29.2 Miles

Xenia to Cincinnati 9 October 2022 ~ 70 miles
• Trails Experienced:
o Little Miami Scenic Trail (78.1 Miles)
o Armleder-Lunken Connector Trail (1.0 mile)
o Lunken Bike Path (5.0 Miles)
o Ohio River Trail (7.6 Miles)

• There is a detour on the Little Miami Scenic Trail halfway to Cincinnati near Kings Mill Bike Trail Access. After talking to some local runners on the Trail, they highly recommend not taking the detour due to road safety for cyclists. You can safely and easily make it through the detour and once you make it to the construction area with the buildings, head to the Cartridge Brewery and on the backside of it you can rejoin the trail.

Astounding experience: add to your bucket list, now!

The OTET is not the ETOT. I found out why when cyclists were flying past me Northbound as I fought headwinds Southbound. Yes the winds wind up the Ohio Valley hence the trail is named Ohio To Erie Trail. I was southbound because after my glorious arrival and celebration in Cincinnati I continued through Louisville, Mammoth Cave and Nashville to our daughters horse farm in Shelbyville TN totaling 721 wondrous miles of memories and new acquaintances both 2-legged and 4-legged. I suggest using credit card

Great Experience

A huge shoutout to the organizations that put this trail together, maintain, and promote it - its remarkably well done. There are a few spots that could use some more signage (Westerville is pretty bad) but overall from top to bottom it's hard to get lost. I did this trail in 4.5 days from Cincinnati to Cleveland the last week of October with almost no bike experience. I also used a busted up old mountain bike from the 90s and had pretty much no problem with it.


Another good TrailLink suggestion

I parked at the Wilbeth Road lot, and from the suggestion of a local, turned left, towards the 40.4 mile marker.
First mile or so is paved, then turns into small crushed stone. A level and flat trail. A couple small inclines by the underpasses. The bridges that pass over the canalway are in excellent condition and give even more variety to run/bike on.
A little bit of trash along the sides for the first mile or so, but once I got up to the next parking lot, and onwards, the trail is excellent.
The trail is marked every mile, definitely a plus as well.
This trail really deserves a 4.5, and if I had started at the next parking lot and missed the trash, it would deserve a 5.
So, as always, if in the area and want to get a couple miles in, head here.
You should also enjoy your run or bike.

Southbound Journey July 2020

We have ridden quite a few of the long rail-trails (GAP/C&O, Katy, Couer d'Alene, Chief Ladiga/Silver Comet, White Pines, Pine Creek, Greenbrier, Northbend) and The OTET is unmatched for the variety of things to see and do along the way. The landscapes vary from the lake to the industrial history of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, The Towpath, Amish country, Columbus, the soybean and cornfields of western Ohio, the Little Miami River and Downtown Cincinnati.

The trail will be finished next year in Cleveland and there will be only a small road section on W25th and Franklin. Then its path all the way to Dalton (once the temporary construction of the CSO project in Akron is complete and the trail restored and the detour removed). The 17 miles on the back country roads between Dalton and Fredericksburg were pleasant with very little traffic. Same with the 10 mile section between Centerburg and Sunbury. The Downtown Connector Trail between Alum Creek and the Scioto River had its interesting moments but wasn't bad (but it wasn't rush hour when we did it). The Camp Chase Trail is temporarily rerouted along Wilson Rd but pay attention to the detour signs so you don't get off track. Only other section that was a little rough was Just east of Cincy on Wooster Pike - rough road, and fast moving traffic that doesn't like to give you 3'. But its only a couple miles.

All in all a wonderful trip. We took 4 days to do it but we had ridden most of the sections in the last few years so were less compelled to stop. If this is your first or only time take a few extra days, make a lot of stops and enjoy all this route has to offer.

The Ohio to Erie Trail Has the Potential to be One of America's Great Trails

I've ridden the Ohio to Erie Trail (OTET) three times; first in July of 2013, again in May 2016, and most recently in October of 2019. It is interesting to note the progress that has been made in filling in the on-road gaps in the trail between each ride. However, it is frustrating to witness the glacial pace at which this trail is being completed.

Currently, the largest on-road gaps in the OTET exist between the end of the Sippo Valley Trail in Dalton and the beginning of the Holmes County Trail in Fredericksburg; between Killbuck and Glenmont on the Holmes County Trail, and between the end of the Heart of Ohio Trail southwest of Centerburg and the beginning of the Sandel Legacy Trail in Sunbury. There are a few smaller gaps in the OTET among which include, the bike lane in the Ohio River Trail in Cincinnati, the missing bridge over Little Miami River at the end of the Little Miami Scenic Trail needed to connect to the Lunken Airport Bike Path and a less than 1 mile gap between the Prairie Grass Trail and the Roberts Pass Trail in London.

The Ohio to Erie Trail is a paved trail except for the portion of the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail that runs through northeast Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It is unlikely that the National Park Service will pave this portion of the trail due to the canal's historical significance in developing the Ohio territory and helping to expand our nation from the original 13 colonies.

This trail links the three C's of Ohio -- Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. These are Ohio's 3 largest cities. In between you will encounter a variety of cities and towns; rivers, wetlands, and forests; industrial, commercial, and agricultural areas; and different types of topographies. This variety makes the Ohio to Erie Trail unique when compared to the nation's other long-distance trails.

It is important to understand that the OTET is still a work in progress. While some locations have embraced being a part of the trail, others seem to have completely ignored it. Communities that embrace the trail offer bike friendly establishments whether they be bike shops, hotels, Bnb's, restaurants, or trailheads. There just are not enough of them. The state of Ohio should be looking into promoting such businesses along the trail. One thing that is certainly needed are more official, recognized campsites along the trail. Whereas riders of C&O/GAP Trail, or Missouri's Katy Trail can expect to see a campsite roughly every 8 to 12 miles, the OTET has some areas where such campsites are 60 miles apart. Such distances don't make the trail appealing those that would prefer to camp. It also doesn't give riders much wiggle room in their itineraries to explore around the trail or deal with the unexpected such as a flat tire. Perhaps more campsites and other amenities will become a priority once the trail is fully completed.

My complaints are not intended to be a trashing of this trail but rather constructive criticism designed to help improve this into one of America's great trails. With the Rails to Trails Conservancy designating much of the OTET as part of its route for the Great American Rail-Trail through Ohio, I'm hoping that improvement and completion of the trail will become more of a state priority. If you are considering riding the Ohio to Erie Trail, don't hesitate. It is worth every pedal stroke.

Ohio to Erie Trail

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.

Ambitious, amazing, and room for improvement

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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