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The paved Prairie Grass Trail stretches 29 miles between London and Xenia, generally following US 42. The northern trailhead is located in London, behind the senior citizen's center, and has a picnic pavilion and public restroom. The trailhead is located across town from the Roberts Pass Trail, which heads east towards Columbus.
The first mile west of London has several benches and another small picnic pavilion for trail users, but the trail takes a rural flavor immediately upon leaving the city. The corridor has been planted with natural prairie grasses, surrounded by flat, open farmland. In keeping with the prairie grass landscape, there are few trees, which makes it important to keep your water bottles full.
After 10.4 miles you reach the small town of South Charleston. As it passes through town, the trail diverts onto sidewalks for 0.5 mile. The South Charleston trailhead is highlighted by the wonderfully restored train depot; it also offers picnic tables, water and restrooms. The almost 10 miles between South Charleston and Cedarville are dominated by huge fields of corn and soybeans as far as the eye can see. There is virtually no tree cover, so protect yourself against wind and sun.
The trail travels close to US 42 for much of the way and also shares the corridor with power lines owned by Dayton Power and Light (which allowed an easement on the corridor that made the trail possible). About 7 miles after leaving South Charleston, you cross the county line from Clark into Greene County. In Cedarville, the trail travels beside Massie Park, with parking, a playground, water and restrooms.
The trail runs another 9 miles from Cedarville to the endpoint in Xenia. As you head out of town you pass a good-sized lake to the right that is separated from the trail by a high chain-link fence. Just before the crossing at Murdock Road, 1.7 miles out of Cedarville, there are a couple of benches and a nice overlook. This is a great rest stop, offering views of a small creek and the farms that surround the corridor. Keep an eye out for the monarch butterflies that are prevalent in the area.
At about the halfway mark, the trail is shaded by trees flanking the route, a welcome respite from the summer sun. There is a busy crossing of Business Route 35 coming into the town of Xenia. Note that the bridge just across Jasper Road is made of fiber-reinforced composite materials, the first of its kind in Ohio. The final mile or so has many road crossings; follow the well-placed signs.
The trail's endpoint is at Xenia Station, a wonderfully restored train depot. The station is also the hub of Greene County's extensive trail system. From here you can head west to Dayton on the Creekside Trail, east to Jamestown and beyond on the Xenia-Jamestown Connector, and south to Cincinnati or north to Springfield on the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
The Prairie Grass Trail, Little Miami Scenic Trail and Roberts Pass Trail—along with several others—are also integral components of the Ohio to Erie Trail. The planned 320-mile route, of which over 240 miles are complete and open for use, will eventually span Ohio from the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland to the Ohio River in Cincinnati.
The trailhead in London is behind the senior center that allows overflow parking in their lot. If you plan to park here overnight, you must inform either the London City Police at 740-852-1414 or the Madison County Sheriff at 740-852-1212 of your plans and give them your license plate number. Take Interstate 70 to Urbana-London Road south. Turn right onto West High Street, then turn left onto Midway Road. The trailhead is on the right.
The Cedarville trailhead can be accessed from US 42. As you enter Cedarville go straight across SR 72. Take a right onto East Street and look for Massie Park and the trailhead on the left.
Rode it in its entirety today before too many trees have many leaves. Surface is in good/great shape, especially notable in Madison County (north). A cross wind was very noticeable both directions as there is very little to stop a breeze. Also very little to shade the trail and an early case of sunburned arms as a result. Few rest areas and water/bathroom stops --only in London, S. Charleston, Cedarville and Xenia, so be well stocked.
A very smooth and well maintained trail. Plenty of open vistas leave the sky visible most of the way, but offer little escape from the elements.
A friend and I rode this trail as part of a 12-day, 460 mile “Tour of Ohio Trails” – riding as much of the network of Miami Valley trails as we could. This trail is also part of the Ohio to Erie Trail and goes 29 miles from Xenia to London. The trail head is located across town from the Roberts Pass Trail, which heads east towards Columbus (which we also rode!). It is prairie/farmland near London and goes through some parks. The entrance to London is very cool with this incredible “bicycle” sculpture announcing that you are in London – in bright red. Very nice! This route has a couple of great places along the way: South Charleston (with a restored train depot—plus we stayed here in the Houstonia B&B – food was minimal in this town though – kind of limited to pizza and we are old enough to be well beyond pizza and hope for Salmon with bourbon glaze or something along those lines (salads with goat cheese and cranberries, etc. etc.). Cedarville: which is loaded with coffee shops and a University that is worth seeing – have never seen such beautiful landscaping at a University (other than Stanford, of course—we are from California). This trail offers more open farmland that some of the other trails in the network so I imagine that is might be uncomfortable in the summer. We were riding in Sept/Oct and it was absolutely lovely. There is access to water and restrooms along the way. Seems to me that it was never too far between restrooms! One crosses a lot of roads – but most aren’t a problem, there isn’t much traffic – and when there is, people in this area stop for bikers – especially if you are an old woman!
Only road out 15 miles, but will be back to complete the whole trail. This is a nice ride, long spots of shade for those hot sunny days, and not terribly busy.
The article below says they will be shutting down a section.
We just completed our first ride on the Prairie Grass trail to Xenia then on to Yellow Springs on the Little Miami trail. As in previous posts, we found the trail very well maintained and very scenic. The rest areas in London, South Charleston, Xenia, Yellow Springs, were clean and beautiful. We planned a 2 day ride (100mi.) Staying overnight in Xenia at Victoria's B&B and returned to London the next day. I would recommend Sunscreen, insect repellant, lots of water. The payoff; beautiful flowers, birds, swarms of butterflies, geocaches, smooth riding on well marked trails, friendly well-mannered cyclists. We give it 5stars!
September 2009. I rode the 18 miles from Xenia to South Charleston. A bit tricky finding the trail when you exit Xenia Station, signs do not mark it well. Once on the trail, you can not get lost. It is a very straight path, with a slight uphill most of the way.
The section from Xenia to Cedarville has a good amount of shade. From there to S. Charleston, is mainly open. The paved asphalt surface is in very good condition. Several restaurants and shops in Cedarville.
This is not as scenic as the Little Miami trail, but a nice ride.
"This trail is also known as Prairie Grass Trail. The asphalt portion as of Nov 2006 was 29 miles long and extended from Xenia to London. The asphalt part was in very good shape. The scenery is mostly open farmland on this trail. There is a gap on the trail from the west side of London to the east end of town with a well signed bike route to guide you. The trail east of London was a rough limestone gravel. If you are used to the finely crushed limestone used on the Katy Trail in Missouri or on many Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa or Nebraska trails, you will be disappointed by the roughness of the gravel. "
We rode from Xenia to South Charleston. This trail was nice but no bathrooms were open in South Charleston. They have a new building with bathrooms but it wasn't open yet. On the way back we stopped and had lunch at Cedarville Community Park. Ladies use the bathroom next to the trail at Cedarville. It is the only woman's bathroom my wife has seen with a urinal. A nice park.
"I love the Ohio to Erie Trail. I use it at least twice a week for cycle riding and various other times for walking or bike riding with other family or friends. We are very fortunate to have this and many other paved trails in our area.
I do have a complaint to address, however. East of Cedarville and west of Townsley Road, horse users are leaving horse dung on the path. I do not feel this is conducive to maximum use for the path as it is unsightly and unsanitary. If I continue to find this mess on the path I will have to consider recreation elsewhere.
I do realize this path is authorized as a horse riding path but question that as a legitimate use where walking, running, cycling etc. is desired and encouraged. I for one do not want to ride, walk, or jog through horse manure. "
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