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The 29-mile Prairie Grass Trail is one of four rail-trails that radiate from Xenia Station, the hub of a vast, paved trail network in southwestern Ohio. The site is a former Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) freight yard and includes a local history museum that features information about the three railroads that once ran through the town: the B&O Wellston Subdivision and two lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad (the Little Miami branch and the Pittsburgh to St. Louis Main Line).
Today, rail-trails pass through Xenia Station on the converted rail corridors, traveling throughout the scenic Miami River Valley, as well as connecting to the cross-state Ohio to Erie Trail. This route, which includes the Prairie Grass Trail, will span 320 miles of trail from the Ohio River in Cincinnati to Lake Erie in Cleveland, allowing for endless exploration.
The paved Prairie Grass Trail travels between Xenia and London, generally following US 42. If you are interested in connecting to additional trails in Xenia, begin at the northern trailhead in London, located behind the senior center. Here, you’ll find a picnic pavilion, restroom, and a newly added camping area with a shelter house. The trailhead is located across town from the Roberts Pass Trail, which heads east toward Columbus.
Leaving London behind, the path becomes quite rural. You’ll find a corridor planted with natural prairie grasses and 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 and sunscreen handy.
After 10.4 miles, you’ll reach South Charleston. As the route passes through town, it diverts onto sidewalks for 0.5 mile. A restored train depot highlights the South Charleston trailhead, which also offers picnic tables, water, and restrooms.
Almost 10 miles lie between South Charleston and Cedarville, and vast fields of corn and soybeans dominate the landscape. The route 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 path possible).
In Cedarville, the trail travels beside Massie Creek Park, which has parking, water, and portable restrooms. From here, the Prairie Grass Trail runs another 9 miles to its endpoint in Xenia. Just before the crossing at Murdock Road, 1.7 miles out of Cedarville, a couple of benches and a nice overlook provide a relaxing rest stop and views of a small creek and farmland. Also keep an eye out for monarch butterflies, which are prevalent in the area.
As you approach the town of Xenia, there is a busy crossing of Old US 35. The final mile or so has many road crossings; follow the well-placed signs. From the trail’s endpoint at Xenia Station, 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 trailhead in London, on the northeast end of the trail, is located behind a senior center, which allows overflow parking in its lot. From I-70, take Exit 72. Head south on OH 56/Urbana--London Road. In 4.7 miles turn right onto W. High St., then in 0.6 mile turn left onto Midway St. The trailhead is on the right. The senior center is 0.1 mile past Midway on US 42/High St.
To reach the Xenia Station trailhead on the southwestern end of the trail: From I-675, take Exit 13A and head east on US 35. In 9.1 miles exit onto US 42. Head north 1.2 miles, and turn right onto S. Miami Ave. Look for the restored depot on the left in 0.4 mile.
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