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The T.J. Evans Trail is a very popular route, drawing both locals and visitors. The southern trailhead at Cherry Valley Road in Newark has a kiosk with a pay phone, drinking fountain and user guidelines. On the other side of town in East Newark, you can pick up the sister trail, the T.J. Evans Panhandle Trail.
Heading west on the main T.J. Evans Trail, just after you leave you pass a connecting trail to ranch-style condominiums. This is the first of several residential developments that tie in to the trail. After passing a second parking lot, you come to a connecting trail going east. Although unsigned, it takes you a couple miles to the Ohio State University's Newark campus and to the Newark YMCA.
Rapids in Raccoon Creek keep the pace on the trail's east side, while you trek through a beautiful shaded ravine area. A bridge across the creek has a marker discussing the trail's rail history. After passing under State Route 16, cow-dotted fields extend from both sides of the trail. At about 4 miles you come to Granville. There is a sign directing you off the trail to downtown Granville for shops, dining and overnight options. A short climb brings you to the quaint and amazingly beautiful downtown, where you can find many restaurants, as well as Denison University (a noted liberal arts school that counts Hollywood's Jennifer Garner as a graduate).
Continuing along the trail, a pedestrian crossing guides you over State Route 37 at the former Granville Railroad Station, which now houses a realtor's office. If you're looking for a break, stop at Wildwood Park near mile 3.5, with open fields and an incredible, wooden castle-shaped play area. Continuing north, you shortly arrive at the ruins of Clemons Railroad Station. There are several bridges spanning small creeks between here and Alexandria, about 2 miles northwest.
When you cross Raccoon Valley Road you are in the village of Alexandria. A marker at the trailhead describes the founding of Alexandria. The remaining 6.3 miles of trail to Johnstown pass alternately though woods, ravines and farm fields. The setting is remote and relaxing, but many rural road crossings require caution. Just before Johnstown you pass another housing subdivision, with connectors to the trail and a new subdivision being built on the other side of the trail. Then the Jersey Street trailhead signals the trail'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.
To start the trail in Newark, take Interstate 70 to State Route 79 and travel north for 6 miles. Turn left onto Irving Wick Drive, go west for 2 miles then turn right onto Thornwood Drive southeast. Thornwood becomes Reddington Road after about 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Cherry Valley Road and look for the trailhead on the right.
To reach the Jersey Street trailhead in Johnstown from I-270 on the northeast side of Columbus, take State Route 161 east for 6 miles to US 62 (Johnstown-Utica Road) then turn left and head north for almost 8 miles. Turn right onto State Route 37 for 0.33 mile and take a left onto Jersey Street. Jersey Street dead-ends in the trailhead parking lot after 0.25 mile.
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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