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The Stillwater River Bikeway winds through Dayton's northern suburbs, following the tree-lined eastern shore of its namesake waterway for much of the way. Two disconnected segments of trail are currently open.
The shorter Northern Segment begins in the north at Englewood MetroPark, which offers a swamp forest for exploration. Winding south from the park, the trail passes under US 40 and Interstate 70 before ending at Grossnickle Park.
The longer Central Segment's northern end begins in Harrison Township at Sinclair Park, a pleasant place to picnic and play outdoors in a natural, wooded setting. From the park, the trail heads east, crossing the river before turning south to enter Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. In addition to the formal gardens for which it is best known, the park offers forests and prairies to explore with plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities.
The trail continues south past the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, worth a side trip with its interactive science exhibits and educational programming, and ends in Island MetroPark. This urban park is a popular place for summer concerts and other community events, and offers a connection to the Great Miami River Trail, an 80-mile adventure. Both trails are part of Miami Valley Bikeways, one of the nation's largest networks of paved, off-street trails.
For the Central Segment, parking at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark (1301 E. Siebenthaler Avenue) or at Island MetroPark (101 E. Helena Street) are both good options. You can also park along DeWeese Parkway next to the tennis courts.
To access the Northern Segment, park at Englewood MetroPark on National Road or at Grossnickle Park behind the Samaritan North Health Center on Heathcliff Road (both in Englewood).
I rode the two segments of the Stillwater River Bikeway back in July of this year, but forgot to review here at TrailLink.
I rode this trail a month and a half after a devastating Category F4 tornado tore through the area. Before my trip to Dayton, I just couldn't believe that I kept reading online that the trail was still closed. However, when I rode the southern section of the trail the destruction of what must of been a beautiful tree lined river pathway became more and more evident as I traveled north from Island MetroPark. It will take decades for the trees to grow back to the same conditions you see along the northern section of the trail. The trail it self is in good shape but becomes somewhat rough as the trail shares the park road north of the Wegerzyn Center. Here the road is marked with a number of potholes and rough patches.
In contrast, the northern section of the Stillwater River Greenway in Englewood MetroPark was not affected by the Memorial Day storms. The trail here is heavily shaded but has an excellent surface. There is one significant climb if you want to travel south of the of Englewood Dam but it is eased by one switch back in order to pass by the dam's spillway. There are several beautiful lakes both above and below the dam. One slightly disturbing aspect of the trail in Englewood Park is that in some areas of the park you have to share the single lane roadway with cars. Fortunately, for a Saturday I didn’t feel that the park was particularly busy.
It saddens me to think of how the weather has changed the face of the southern portion of the trail. Here's hoping that the damage caused by the Memorial Day tornado might spark the desire to connect the two sections in this trail. It might now be easier to complete the gap between the two sections of trail. First of all, the downed trees will have to be removed because as the piles of dead trees dry out they will become more and more of a fire hazard. Because these trees are such a jumbled and tangled mess, heavy equipment will need to be called in to remove the debris. This heavy equipment will create pathways for the equipment to move around in the debris field and perhaps these pathways can be turned into a good portion of the missing section of trail. Only time will tell.
My wife and I took up cycling earlier this year and have logged over 100 miles on the area trails. The northern segment of the Stillwater River Trail is one of our favorites. The uphill grade by the Englewood Dam spillway can be tough (especially on a hot day) but the rewards can be worth it. We often see several American Bald Eagles, Blue Heron, Osprey, and a myriad of other birds fishing on the lake at the Englewood MetroPark until the lake dries up in late August. also, the downhill grade from the spillway to Bower’s Lake is the best and longest downhill coast in the area. It’s personally my favorite stretch of trail in the area.
My wife and I are residents of the Englewood community and just took up cycling this year. We have ridden many trails in Dayton and the northern segment of the Stillwater Trail is fortunately one of our favorites. The climb up the spillway at the dam (US Route 40) is one of the hardest uphill grades of the nearly 100 miles of local trails we’ve ridden, but very doable on a geared bike. The effort is well worth it as you may get to see several Enhlewood MetroPark until the lake dries up in August American Bald Eagles fishing on the lake at tEnglewood MetroPark
"I envy the people of the Dayton area, having this terrific park and walking area. I took a couple of hours to walk the trails and only saw a fraction of the place. It offers a good variety of scenery -- forest, meadow, lake, and what looked almost like a reservoir.
Most of what I encountered was fairly level and easy to walk or jog. I just wish I had been able to see it all! It was very enjoyable."
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