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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.
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