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The Scioto Greenway Trail is an early urban greenway at its best. The 10-mile multiuse trail hugs the banks of the Scioto River and connects parks, links with other trails and offers fabulous views of downtown Columbus. Portions of the route are considered the state's oldest rail-trail.
The trail starts just north of State Route 104 and follows the west side of the Scioto River. However, the best place to park and access the trail is at Berliner Park, across the river from German Village. The park is a hot spot for team sports, with ball diamonds and athletic fields. From the park you can travel north or south on the rail-trail.
If you head south, the trail travels though lush forest all the way to the endpoint near State Route 104. Going north takes you to downtown Columbus. The start of this section is also densely forested, making it easy to forget that you are traveling in a large city. At Greenlawn Avenue you can ride or walk straight across the street or descend a steep slope below it to get to the other side. Once you get onto Greenlawn Avenue, cross the Scioto River on the Greenlawn Avenue Bridge. The bridge has a great bike and pedestrian-friendly path along the edge.
The next 0.3 mile along Front Street alternates between brick and concrete sidewalk. The route here is unmarked. Turn left and head west on Whittier Street to regain the paved rail-trail route. You pass a trailhead at Lower Scioto Park on the left. The trail curves along the river on the Whittier Peninsula. Interstate 70 roars overhead near mile 10, followed by a breathtaking view of the Columbus skyline. First Bicentennial Park and then Battelle Riverfront Park provide vantage points overlooking the river, the urban environment and a replica of Christopher Columbus's sailing vessel the Santa Maria.
At North Bank Park, a good stopping point, you can enjoy the million-dollar view of downtown Columbus and the previously mentioned parks that make up its riverfront. Restrooms and parking areas are available here, along with an excellent observation deck over the river from which to take in the views.
A short half-mile ride takes you across the river once again and into Confluence Park, on the spot where the Scioto and Olentangy rivers meet. From this park the Scioto Greenway Trail goes another couple of miles to the northwest, separate from, but adjacent to, city streets. Between Interstates 670 and 70, the new Hilltop Connector takes trail users over the Scioto River to Columbus' Hilltop neighborhood and the village of Valleyview.
Confluence Park serves as the northern trailhead for the trail, as the endpoint to the west does not have any public facilities. The park also serves as the southern trailhead for the Olentangy Trail, a 13-mile trail to the community of Worthington.
The newer portion of the Scioto Greenway Trail heading west from its junction with the Olentangy Trail to the Hilltop Connector is also a critical component 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.
Berliner Park is the best southern trail access point. From Interstate 71 take Greenlawn Avenue east for just under 0.25 mile. Turn right on Deckenbauch Road. Berliner Park is on the left. Travel east from the parking lot to access the trail.
To reach the Confluence Park trailhead from Interstate 70, take State Route 315 north 1 mile and take the Dublin Road exit. Turn left onto Dublin Road, and after just 0.1 mile turn left onto North Souder Road. Take your first left onto Rickenbacker Drive. Confluence Park is at the road's end about 0.25 mile.
Parking is also available in Dodge Park (667 Sullivant Avenue).
I rode from the W5th Ave beginning to the end. I did one way on the northside and back on the south. It ends (south end point) in the middle of the woods. Kind of strange. No sign no bench it just stops dead. Through the downtown is very nice. Could use better marking as it has lots of cross trails and spurs and it is not easy to tell which way is the main trail. No rough hills all gentle slopes.
This trail has some not so scenic parts from Berliner park to downtown but does go thru the brewery district and Germantown so we detoured for some adventures. But don't go too far into Germantown as it has cobblestone trees.
Once you are downtown it improves greatly as there are lots of things to do and see in downtown with the rivers, overlooks and fountains. There were a few detours on the trail lately and some were well marked and some not so we got turned around a little.
There are some very scenic shots north of town and the trail is short enough to finish it and get back to the Olentangy trail at the Boathouse restaurant.
If you go I highly recommend you supplement it with a ride on the Olentangy trail as well
This is a lovely ride but gets a bit dicey at times. Below the city, if you look up in the trees you will see tents/tarps where homeless ppl live. I haven't had any problems here and will ride by myself (female) during the week, normal business hours as there are plenty of ppl using the trail. Also the Audobon Center has opened so there are many more ppl about. That being said, I would never bike down near Berliner Park alone. It is very wooded and quite pretty but some strange happenings are going on. People meandering about, coming out of the woods, hunkering down in the bushes. I will go with my husband though. He says that the city has torn down some abandoned buildings down there so now maybe it is better.
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