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Located in central Ohio, the 14-mile T. J. Evans Trail is a popular route, attracting both locals and visitors. With its tree-covered canopy that provides respite from the sun on hot summer days, interludes in charming small towns, and a paved surface, the path offers an ideal day trip with multiple opportunities for side exploration. The corridor was once used by Penn Central Railroad, and railroad enthusiasts will enjoy learning more about this rail line at historical markers along the route.
Begin at the southern trailhead at West Main Street in Newark and head west on the T. J. Evans Trail. As you continue along, you’ll head into a beautifully shaded ravine area and hear the rapids of Raccoon Creek on the trail’s east side. After passing under OH 16, fields dotted with cows extend from both sides of the path.
At about 4 miles, you will come to Granville. If you’re interested in a side trip, visit Alligator Mound, located less than a mile off the trail, by turning right onto Fairview Drive and heading north. Overlooking Raccoon Creek, this is one of two local animal effigy mounds built by prehistoric people; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Continuing along the trail, follow the signage for a short climb to the beautiful New England–style downtown, where you can find many restaurants, shops, and lodging options, as well as Denison University.
If you remain on the trail, a pedestrian crossing guides you over OH 661 at the former Granville railroad station, which now houses a real estate agent’s office. Stop for a break at Wildwood Park, which features open fields and an incredible, wooden castle-shaped play area. Later, arrive at the ruins of Clemons Station. Several bridges span small creeks between here and Alexandria, about 2 miles northwest.
When you cross Raccoon Valley Road, you are in the village of Alexandria. The remaining 6.3 miles of trail to Johnstown pass alternately through woods, ravines, and farm fields. The setting is remote and relaxing, but the many rural road crossings require caution.
The Jersey Street trailhead in Johnstown signals the route’s end. The beautiful T. J. Evans rail-trail only gets better on the return trip, as a slight grade gives you a downhill advantage.
Once back in Newark, you can pick up the T. J. Evans Panhandle Trail on the east side of town. Near the Cherry Valley Road parking lot where you started your adventure, you can take a spur trail north under Reddington Road, which then shortly thereafter heads east, paralleling OH 16 toward downtown and leading to a shopping area, Flory Park, and the local YMCA. From there, it’s less than a 2-mile on-road ride to connect to the T. J. Evans Panhandle Trail.
To start the trail in Newark, take I-70 to 129A, and head north on OH 79. Go 6.1 miles, and turn left onto Irving Wick Dr. Go west 1.7 miles, then turn right onto Thornwood Dr. SW. In 1 mile turn right onto W. Main St. In 0.5 mile look for the trail parking area on the right.
To reach the Jersey St. trailhead in Johnstown: From I-270 on the northeast side of Columbus, take Exit 33 toward Easton. Keep left to continue to Exit 30 for OH 161. Once on OH 161, go 4.5 miles east to US 62/Johnstown Road. Turn left here and head northeast 7.9 miles. Turn right onto OH 37, and go 0.3 mile. Take a left onto Jersey St. Jersey St. dead-ends at the trailhead parking lot in 0.25 mile.
Rode the Alexandria to Johnstown segment last year as our inaugural ride on our new e-bikes. Came back today to take the trail Alexandria to Newark. Beautiful and easy ride both ways, although we missed peak fall colors by about a week!
Very casual bicyclist here who loves discovering and riding trails throughout Ohio and around the world for that matter. TJ Evans trail is a great, flat, smooth surfaced out and back trail. Very few folks using the trail on this hot 88 degree sunny Saturday afternoon. Very wooded trail that’s heavily shaded almost the entire trail length with a few brief interrupted stretches of farms and farmland.
I rode this route on 4/23, for the second time overall but first this year. It's a beautiful trail. Shade most of the way, so a good option in the summer. As you get towards Newark, it parallels Raccoon Creek. The trail is in good condition, and Wildwood Park on the west side of Granville (10 miles from Johnstown) makes for a great place to stop for a break on the way.
I'd put this trail up along the top Central Ohio trails for scenery and relaxing rides, alongside the Kekosing Gap and Alum Creek trails.
Johnstown is at a higher elevation than Newark, so if you want the second half to be downhill, start at Newark. It's only about 300 feet difference, but the steepest part is by Johnstown, so if you start there you'll hit the elevation right when you're most tired.
There's a connector at 40.04666448775512, -82.47659987791373 that lets you get close to downtown Newark, or to OSU Newark (the "Newark Trail" on TrailLink); or take an alternate route back via Newark-Granville Road in Granville (not on TrailLink, but a dedicated bike path most of the way). This would be a good area to add a sign with directions.
There's also a short connector to Raccoon Valley Park near Granville, which isn't on the map but would be another valid area to park and start if you aren't from one of the communities along the route.
We rode the trail on a hot, sunny Sunday morning in Mid-September, but the trees along the trail provided shade keeping us much cooler than we expected. The parking areas listed on the county map were a little hard to find but once we found the Bicentennial Park (no amenities) all was well. We really enjoyed the ride as there's a little bit of everything on the trail as well as beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife.
The one downside is that the majority of the trail that we rode on had no berm and the drop off in some areas was a little scary for me (our home trail has a two foot berm on both sides except for bridges). The other bikers on the trail were great in going single file when they met us.
I would expect that it's a beautiful trail in every season based on the trees and plants that we saw. Granville is beautiful little town with a lot to enjoy in the down town area. It's definitely a trail and area that we would come back to.
Smooth trail through farms and woods with Nice break spots and mile markers!
I ran this train in the late afternoon after golfing at echo springs. Nice paved trail. Cars seem to go fast on some of the street crossings but there was not much traffic. Started in Johnstown. There is a small parking lot and 1 bathroom. I ran out 8 miles and turned back. Passed a parking lot and wished there was a porta potty. There is no bathroom for. Runner except at the entrance. Not sure where a female could go.
I did an out-and-back ride on this trail on a sunny October day. I started in Newark, Ohio and rode northwest toward Johnstown. If you start in this direction you will start out with a very flat ride between Newark and Alexandria. Once you reach Alexandria you will start a manageable yet steady climb to Johnstown where the trail ends. Along the way you transition from a city to a smaller towns and then into agricultural and rural areas. The trail is lined with trees for much of the way, but it opens up quite a bit in the middle of the trail as you travel through a number of farms. The fall colors were spectacular.
Some of the previous reviews of this trail complained that the trail was not well-kept and required quite a bit of maintenance because the trail surface was not up to road bike standards. I couldn't disagree more as I found the southern half of the trail in fine shape as if had been recently resurfaced. The northern half was not quite as smooth but I felt that there were not many areas where there was rough pavement. A few cracks here and a bit of tree root uplift there but not so much so that any stretch of trail would be considered in need of repair. On this day, there was a Licking County Park worker driving a pickup along the trail towing a leaf blower trailer blowing the fallen leaves off of the trail. Certainly, maintenance is being done to this, and probably all other, Licking County multi-use trails.
Rode this trail from Johnstown to Granville and loved it. Well paved and not at all dangerous. Beautiful scenery and mostly covered by the canopy of shady trees. My advice is take it east to west. The return trip will me much easier.
Granville: River Road Coffee Shop, Knuckleheads Ice Cream and sandwiches, bathrooms inside the IGA grocery store right off the path by the old train station. Lots of restaurants on Main Street in town. Alexandria: Ragamuffins Coffee Shop is open til 4:30pm (sandwiches, cookies) diagonal from Freedom Bikes
The trail is narrow with steep drop-offs on both sides -- very dangerous. As others have noted, the trail needs paving maintenance and cutting lots of weeds, trees, and grass. There are too many other trails that are much nicer. Scenery is pleasant, but its tough to enjoy it.
The description said it was paved. It I was glad we took our hybrids. A lot of people were riding road bikes but too bumpy for my taste of riding road. Easy ride. Scenery was amazing! Would definitely do trail again.
My husband and I biked this trail taking the advice of other reviewers by starting at the southern end in Newark which for us was a good decision. The scenery was very nice, a tunnel of trees a lot of the way. Some parts were recently paved but I think at least 25% needs repair with lots of bumps and some sections the maintenance could have been improved. There was a section where the greenery was grown out over the trail. Would have been nice if there were a restroom somewhere along the trail!
I have been on this trail three or four times this summer and fall, and many times over the past several years. I would rate this trail a 4-5 BUT on a road bike, will not be a smooth ride, and now developing some serious bumps, one of which west of Granville caught me off-guard and almost threw me off. Parts of the trail have been repaved-those sections are very nice compared to some that have not been repaved. There is a long uphill grade out of Granville to Johnstown, about 11 miles. Hopefully more of the trail will be repaved into 2018.
This is a very straight trail with a deceiving incline heading north. The bad part is on a road bike it will beat you up. Lots of roots, potholes and grade variances
Great trail with beautiful scenery & plenty of shade. Smooth surface overall. Numerous access points. A few road crossings in Granville & many roads/driveways between Alexandria & Johnstown. Traffic on SR37 in Granville is very respectful about yielding to the crossing. The following are minor, but... Keep your eyes open for overgrowth along trail edges, large bumps from tree roots under pavement (mainly in Granville area), & 2-3 inch difference in surface elevation at bridges & some tunnels. Surface needs TLC & resealed (except between Granville & Alexandria). RESTROOMS: Playground near OSUN/COTC campuses, restaurants in Newark on Church Street, soccer fields east of Granville (take split in trail near cow pastures - ends at soccer fields), & playground at west side of Granville.
Living in Johnstown for 20+ years now, our whole family has used - and enjoyed - the trail for walking, biking, jogging and even skating. I have "guestimated" that I have jogged more than 5,000 miles on the trail. Then I got hurt and now use a wheelchair to navigate the upper portion of the trail.
Dropped one star because (1) There are no handicap parking spots in the Johnstown end (2) The trail actually begins on West Main Street, NOT at the Cherry Valley Road parking lot. The current markings are incorrect. My son painted 1/4 mile marks over the entire trail for his Eagle Scout project 10 years ago (replacing the brown markers for those that can remember them!). The trail is 14 1/4 miles long.
The Licking Country Parks District got a levy a couple of years ago that in part was supposed to pay for resurfacing the entire trail over a period of years. Though it runs through my backyard I hadn't seen much progress on that until today. It has probably been over a month since I had a chance to do more than take walk, but today I took the bike down to the park in Granville and back to Johnstown. There is an almost two mile stretch of beautiful new pavement that ends where the city of Granville takes over. (Municipalities on the trail are responsible for trail within the borders.) I don't know if any of the trail from Granville to Newark has been resurfaced but I certainly hope so. This is long past due and would make a lot of people very happy.
A very popular trail on both ends. You'll pass plenty of bikers, joggers, walkers, and skaters. Well maintained. Tree canopys in some areas open up to nice country vistas.
Easy riding through woods, along fields, past ponds. Fairly smooth and flat.
This is a sweet trail. We rode from Johnstown to Newark which was mostly on a slight downhill grade so tougher coming back. Before we got to the end, we took the last left fork that takes you up behind Cherry Valley Lodge and we lunched at City Barbecue near the Country Club Drive exit. Starting at Johnstown, the first several miles are plenty shady then after that it goes in and out. Plenty of wildlife and a variety of birds.
This trail was one of the first real rides I took with a family member. I was still quite new at getting back into riding, but after riding his trail, I was hooked. So much beauty and interesting points. From there it was on to Blackhand Gorge and after that I was a totaal bike trail junkie...LOL
I love these trails and this one was definitely a five star trail!
I skated this trail from Johnston to Granville and back. First mistake was starting at the high end. Too much elevation gain on the return leg when pretty tired! Rough surface makes it a touch sketchy for skates. Will not skate it again unless re-paved. Nice trail for bikes.
What a great trip. Beautiful fields, rapids, calm winding rivers, downtown Granville for ice cream, and more.
This trip has it all.
One of my top trails
Great trail. Rode from Johnstown to Newark. Stopped in Granville and rode up to downtown to Whitts custard. What great scenery.
So far this has to be my favorite trail. I start in Johnstown and go to Granville and back; makes for a nice workout! The trail is very scenic and clean. Highly recommend!
We thoroughly enjoyed this trail! We started in Johnstown and worked our way to Newark, with a side trip into Granville. This trail is very scenic, with rolling hills, creeks, steer grazing within 20 feet of the trail and beautiful landscapes. Stopping in Granville is a must. A quaint town with lots of little places to eat and shop. We had lunch at a Mexican place called Day y Noche... Fabulous food!!! Then went next door to Whit's for awesome frozen custard sundaes. Back on the trail to burn off our indulgences!! Can't wait to ride this trail again...and again.
Took this trail today. Started at OSU Newark campus and went all the way to Jamestown. (I cheated and had someone pick me up at the end) The ride was wonderful. I found the trail to be in good condition. Even though it was hot, it was shaded most of the way. (about 80%) This trail was very scenic. Woods, streams, bridges, farm land. A great trip. Be sure to take plenty of water because once you pass Granville there is no handy place to stop. A kindly trail neighbor let me refill my water bottle. When I arrived in Johnstown I went downtown and ate lunch at Main Street Diner across from the courthouse. A very friendly place with the best tuna melt sandwich I ever ate! It was a great day and this is a wonderful trail.
WOW--you can really get a workout on this one if you do the straight route from James Rd. north and then the east extension which takes you to OSU Newark campus. Don't follow the bike route signs, though, since they end abruptly on the side streets of Newark. They have an overpass over OH 16 now near the YMCA area, and if you just stay on that main road you will get to the campus area. Watch out or you will miss the trail going under you as you cross a little bridge near there. If you miss it, you should still be able to turn into the campus area and find it. It has several finger-trails there as well. I did this whole thing in 2010 and ended up with 43 miles total.
I love to ride this trail, but the root damage is starting to get out of hand. There are several places where the ride is very rough, and the yellow "alerts" have faded to the point of not being noticeable until you are on top of them. Other than that, this in one of my favorite rides in central Ohio. There are several good access points with good parking, few road crossings and just plain beautiful Ohio scenery!
This was my first ride and it was great. The trail was in great shape even after all the rain we have had. A nice run with 80% wooded and the rest in full sun. It was not crowed at all. I was out late afternoon (3:30 pm -- 6:00 pm) and saw enough folks to not feel alone but still had an open trail to go at the pace I wanted. A few serious bikers, some families, some walkers and joggers in the more populated areas. I really liked the mile markers on the trail so I knew my progress and I saw some historical markers but did not stop to read them. I live on the north-east side of Columbus and it was 12 miles drive to the Johnston Jersey Road parking lot. I can't wait to ride it and the other Licking county trails again.
We rode the trail yesterday from Johnstown to Granville round trip. It is a beautiful ride 90-95% shade and for a Sunday afternoon not crowded. A storm must have gone through the day before because the trail was blocked in two locations with downed trees. We were able to lift our bikes over and climb over the trees that were totally blocking the path(including damage to the bridge railing). The trail is slightly downhill from Johnstown to Alexandria and level into Granville. If we do it again we will start in Granville so as to do the uphill part at the beginning.
I have traveled the Granville portion of this trail several times...until today, my son and I rode our bikes from Johnstown to the YMCA in Newark ( I believe this is actually a different trail on the last portion) we are both fairly new to riding and it was a very nice ride. The terrain was relatively flat, well shaded for about 80-90% of the way and there were some nice views. I would recommend this trail to anyone looking to travel some miles on level ground. See you on the trail.
I just ran this trail for the first time and it is perfect for both running and biking. I ran the whole trail from Johnstown to Newark just to get a feel and it was perfect. Set in a nice quiet area where there are plenty of serious bikers as well as a few families, not overcrowded, but enough people to know your not alone out there.
"July 05 ride on shaded,paved trail. Awesome views, lots of wild life. Granville is a city everyone should visit. short side trail up into Granville a little testing"
I took my first trip on the trail today from Newark to Johnston and it was just beautiful. The trail is in excellent shape. I appreciated the historical markers. I will come back in the fall when the leaves are changing since so much of this trail is in heavy woods. The only thing the trail needs is some port-a-johns at a couple spots.
"This is a beautiful trail! Watch out for all the chippies trying to race with you! I lost my binoculars on Sunday, June 27th, either at Clemons station or along the road that is off of Rt. 37 that goes into Granville. If found e-mail or call 740-964-0611. Thanks.
Enjoy the Ride!"
New asphalt is being laid down. The surface is fantastic!
"Yes, the trail is in moderately rough condition and bumpy in places. But expanses of goldenrod, blue aster, prarie sunflower and a myriad of other fall wild flowers make the ride well worthwhile. Patches of sunny fields then tunnels of overhanging tree branches provide for varied scenery. This will be an excellent ride during peak leaf season.
This was our first time on the trail. We parked at the intersection of county road 539 and Raccoon Valley Road where the trail crosses CR539 just west of Granville at approximately the 4.5 mile marker. From there it is a mostly uphill (but a very mild grade) 10 some miles to Johnstown (we turned back about 1.4 miles from Johnstown). There is another parking area with picnic tables in Alexandria at approximately the 7.5 mile marker. Alas, as we approached nearer to Johnstown, we found that the mile markers had been broken off and we could only estimate the distance.
Returning to our car was literally a breeze - mostly down hill - great way for middle agers to end the ride! We will return to this trail.
As we were loading up to leave, another cyclist was just arriving. He reports that the scenery traveling toward Granville and Newark is just as good. Travel there is in the Raccoon Creek bottom land, and very close to the creek in many places.
Yes - it would be nice if the foundation that originally built the trail (or another organization) would now provide the funding to bring it back to its original pristine condition."
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