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The Simon Kenton Trail is a tribute to the hardworking volunteer group that built and maintains the corridor, once part of the Erie-Lackawanna rail line. The western Ohio rail-trail stretches 35.5 miles, connecting the communities of Bellefontaine, West Liberty, Urbana, and Springfield. The route is part of the larger 330-mile Miami Valley trail system, one of the nation's largest networks of paved, off-street trails.
The trail begins at Carter Avenue on the south end of Bellefontaine and heads south, paralleling an active rail line through a tree-lined corridor. This northern half of the trail, between Bellefontaine and Urbana, has a crushed limestone surface best-suited for hybrids or mountain bikes. From Urbana southward, the trail is paved.
As the trail approaches West Liberty, it opens up and you will have views of farm fields. The trail skirts the western edges of the community.
Beginning at the Urbana YMCA, you’ll head into town, intersecting a short bike route to Melvin Miller Park, the city's main park with a pond, pool, athletic fields, skate park, and playgrounds. This stretch offers an excellent strip of rail-with-trail, where freight trains mainly hauling grain travel next to the path before you enter Urbana proper. While the trail passes through many of Urbana's industrial tracts, downtown is just a couple of blocks to the east.
You’ll have a pleasant surprise as you head under the Gwynne Street bridge. In the summer of 2014, two brightly colored murals depicting the city’s past and present were presented on the pylons of the bridge. As you continue towards Miami Street, you'll encounter the Urbana Station Depot, which offers a coffeehouse, restrooms and a community information center inside a restored railroad station.
South of the restored depot, trail signs are just 0.5 mile ahead. At the intersection of Edgewood Avenue and State Route 55, there is a trailhead with benches, a bike rack and parking lot. South of here the trail is nicely shaded, and a short trip west on Woodburn Road will take you to Cedar Bog Nature Preserve. The preserve has an ADA-accessible boardwalk that allows visitors to experience the unique environment without harming it. The preserve is home to hundreds of plant and animal species, including more than 50 that are rare or endangered. Cedar Run, a small tributary of the Mad River, for which the bog takes its name, is one of the few Ohio streams that has a native population of brook trout.
Head across County Line Road and enter Clark County. At Tremont City Road, pass the Clark State Community College Truck Driver Training Institute. After crossing the railroad tracks and several creeks, you reach a connecting trail to the west that accesses the Eagle City soccer fields 0.5 mile away. Just south of the soccer field connection is a short trail connection to the sparkling SplashZone water park. Though the trail crosses several more busy roads, including State Route 72, there are still pleasant views, especially of some of the beautiful old homes closer to downtown Springfield.
After you cross Buck Creek on a trestle bridge, you'll reach a connecting trail that heads to Buck Creek State Park, almost 4 miles to the east. Across Warder Street you begin to travel along another rail-with-trail. This continues for 0.75 mile past East Main Street and to Linden Avenue, where the trail turns into bike lanes on both sides of East Washington Street. The rail-trail picks up again after crossing East Limestone Street. At this point you have entered the Clark State Community College campus. Cross Fountain Avenue and you have reached the endpoint at South Center Street by the Heritage Center and Clark County Library.
On the northern end of the trail, you can access the trail from Carter Avenue in Bellefontaine. In West Liberty, access is available from Sidney Street at State Route 245.
To reach the Urbana trailhead at the YMCA, take US 68 to US 36 east (Scioto Street) for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Community Drive and look for the YMCA in front of you. Other parking options in Urbana include Urbana Station Depot (644 Miami Street) and Melvin Miller Park (731 Children's Home Road).
The Springfield trailhead is at the intersection of South Center Street and West Washington Street. From Interstate 70 take State Route 72 north for 1.7 miles. Bear left onto South Limestone Street. After a little more than a tenth of a mile, turn left onto West Pleasant Street for another 0.25 mile. Turn right onto S. Center and look for the trail on the far side of the intersection with W. Washington.
February riding outdoors @ 60 degrees in Ohio who would have dreamed it? Decided to enjoy the day and head to the SKT to check it out. Trailhead in Urbana in very easy to find (right on St Rt 36) and the restored Depot is very nice. Coffee shop inside was very nice too. Trail is relatively flat and in good condition has a little washboard in a few places but nothing too serious. There were a few places that are in need of repair that appeared to be new due to winter, I trust the maintenance crew will have repaired in a timely manner. Not as much canopy as some but still a nice 10 mile stretch from Urbana (Depot) to Springfield (Eagle City Soccer Fields). Check it out!!
Not very scenic in the rural areas, but we happen to enjoy cornfields and agricultural land. Springfield is the worst part of the section of trail from Xenia to Urbana, but we got through it without any problems. Not exactly an enjoyable part of the journey though!
North of Urbana the trail turns to gravel and it is substandard for rail trails. I wouldn't ride anything but a mountain bike on this section. We have a tandem with 32mm touring tires, which normally do fine on gravel rail trails. We turned around after about a quarter mile. The gravel is mostly 57s (not hard-pack), which is too course for hybrid type tires. We just couldn't see riding 16 miles up and 16 miles back on that stuff.
I don't want to complain too much, however. We live in northeastern KY where there are no paved bike trails and only one gravel rail trail that horses have tore up to the point that it is almost unridable on anything but mountain bikes. So the Ohio bike trail system is wonderful by comparison, even with its relatively minor flaws!!!
Hopefully they will be able to pave the northern section of this trail in the near future.
We cycle 2 to 3 thousand miles every years on the bike paths in western Ohio. We would love to cycle from Buck Creek State Park to Bellefontain. However, we will not ride the trail from Urbana to Bellefontain unless it's paved, it's not worth tearing our bikes up and having a less than enjoyable ride. Maybe someday we'll make it to Bellefontain on a paved path.
Rode the Urbana to Springfield side. Started at the Y in Urbana and went up the north part to parallel the airport. I got to see someone flying one of those parachute gliders. Turned around and picked up some glass in my tire at the railroad depot downtown. Fixed it and continued south to Springfield. Mostly surrounded by highways and farms it offers some nice sky viewing. I went as far as downtown Springfield near the water then went back.
Never too far from a city but with a rural feel in a lot of places.
I've been all the way to Xenia on this bike path...very nice enjoyable ride. I'm not much for the Xenia ride b/c it was too much city and loud town for me but still very enjoyable ride. I have seen multiple doe and 1 buck while on this path. Very awesome to see nature like this.
I rode the portion from Bellefontaine from Carter Ave. I went a little past West Liberty and turned around to go back where I started. it would be nice if it would get paved. it would then be great for Handcycles, racing wheelchair, and recumbents. This trail is alot safer than riding on the roads The scenery is real nice. This trail is really made for runners and mountain bikers.
We are preparing to do the Pine Creek trail and wanted to try our new tires out on a 'crushed stone' path. So we started out in Bellefontaine. We have taken crushed stone paths before and had no difficulty. We only made it about 1/2 mile on this part of the trail. It was too rough -- the stones are not crushed fine enough and packed down as other trails with the same description. So we packed up our bikes and headed to Urbana. We found the YMCA and started off. Be prepared for hills! I had read where some folks had trouble getting out of the recreation park so after riding through the sports complex we came to an intersection where the path turned right but I remembered crossing the path as we came through town on Main street so we turned left and followed the street for a short ways and found the entrance to the trail via a few 'marked' streets. The path was excellent through Urbana. You do have to stop for busy streets. We rode for ten miles before turning back. After all the comments we were not prepared to go through Springfield. Would someone please post the directions to get through Springfield as everyone we have talked to said it is not clearly marked Or that the signs give you a couple of options and unless you are familiar with Springfield you could easily get lost. The last mile of hills gave us fits as we are 'flat lands/rails to trails people.' All-in-all we did enjoy this section of the Simon Kenton from Urbana to outskirts of Springfield. Hopefully the volunteers will get a grant and get the section from Bellefontaine to Urbana paved!
The Champaign County portion is beautiful and well maintained. Clark County section is quite a bit different. The new extention, North of Urbana the gravel section, begins and winds you through some beautiful, gently rolling farm land with long, unobstructed views well clear of US 68. Unfortunately, as you enter Clark County to the South you are faced with getting through Springfield. It's unfortunate that there isn't a better way. I've encountered plenty of broken glass, youths throwing firecrackers at me, verbal posturing from malcontents, etc. It's a bit like a demilitarized zone until you get back on dedicated bike bath well South of Springfield. Urban blight left behind, points south through Yellow Springs and to Xenia are a joy. Look for route alternatives that bypass City of Springfield entirely.
The trail was in good shape. It is very difficult to find from Miller Park in Urbana or the Urbana Y. The best place to hop on the trail in Urbana is Depot Coffee House, depotcoffeehouseurbana.com
(937) 653-3768, 644 Miami St, Urbana, OH. Rode 9 miles from Urbana Y to Bollesville, to find a porti potti. Parts of the trail go through the industrial parts of urbana which are not scenic. Lots of busy street crossing between Y and coffee depot. I would ride again but not a favorite. Reminded me of the urban trail in Munice IN
We started this trail in Urbana and ended in Springfield. We were disappointed on a few levels. The trail is a straight shot down to Springfield with almost no scenic views the entire way. It's basically cornfields, railroad tracks and flat lands. The trail crosses many streets, some dangerous, so one has to be very careful when crossing. We also heard several gun shots at a particular point, which was unnerving, to say the least! We were told to not go all the way into Springfield because it's a seedy part of town. We went within two miles of downtown and the neighborhood became less than desirable and at that point we turned around. Sadly, the only plus to this route is that it's flat, well paved and an easy ride. It's pretty much full sun the whole way too, which can be a good thing or not, depending on the temperature outside. Sunscreen may be needed...
We started at the spur trail that starts at the Urbana YMCA. This spur trail connects to the SKT trail, but we missed the turn, and asked for directions. The trail is paved, mainly flat. This is a very nice trail.
We have ridden this trail many times this year. Start at the depot in Urbana (great coffee shop)and take off for Springfield, maybe go on to Yellowsprings (great little college town) and then Xenia. Trail is flat and well taken care of. Nice shelter house mid point to Springfield to stop and rest, also has restrooms. Urbana is a great town for antiques and ambiance.
I and my wife rode the trail from Urbana to Springfield, a little over 30 miles of it. The trail is very nice, clean, well maintained. Very ideal for a 69 yr. old couple.
But, the internet site directions for the YMCA are not good. It is Community Drive and not Commercial Drive that you use to get to the Y. (Commercial Drive is on the other side of Urbana, per my GPS. The Y would not come up on my GPS ! Also we passed the Y 4 times before realizing that it was set back from Rt. 36 a ways and hard to see behind the business buildings. There are no signs identifying the Y along the highway.
This trail is now a complete trail from the north side of Springfield to the north side of Urbana. The trail scenery is a mix of woods and open farmland.
The bike route connecting this trail to the Little Miami Trail on the south side of Springfield is a mix of bike paths and surface streets that is not always signed.
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