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Park at Black River Reservation off 31st Street just west of the river. You can also park at the northern terminus off Colorado Avenue.
Back in May 2017 I rode the Bridgeway and Steel Mill Trails in Elyria, Ohio. While TrailLink lists these as separate trails, I view them as one continuous trail. On this out and back ride I traveled a little over 12.5 miles. If you started at the Day's Dam Picnic area and rode just the Steel Mill Trail you'd have a round trip of about 4 miles (currently). These trails are multi-use trails found in the Black River Reservation of the Lorain County Metropark System. I spoke with a Park Ranger who said that the Steel Mill Trail will eventually connect into Cromwell Park on the north end. I found this short trail interesting as you view the contrast between the U.S. Steel Mill on one side of the Black River to the almost park like setting on the opposite side. The difference will only be more apparent when the trail is extended into Cromwell Park. It would be nice if a route or bike line could be extended out of Cromwell Park up to the shores of Lake Erie.
The Steel Mill Trail is actually the northern extension of the Bridgeway Trail that runs from the Day's Dam picnic area located in E. 31st Street 41-26.569N and 082-06.492W up to Colorado Avenue at 41-27.698N and 082-07.392 W. There is paved parking at each end of this short trail although the parking lot at Day's Dam is considerably nicer and well-maintained while the parking lot on Colorado Avenue appears to be a park at your own risk lot.
Starting at Day's Dam lot, cross E. 31st Street and follow the trail north through a short patch of woods until you emerge within view of the US Steel plant. The trail then crosses Black River on the first of two bridges and runs between the river and US Steels slag fields where mountains of steelmaking slag are dumped. Continuing north, the trail crosses another nice bridge, ducks into the woods where there is a nice observation area of the river, and finally emerges on Colorado Avenue near a small marina and paved parking area. Round trip from Day's Dam to Colorado Avenue and back is 4.25 miles.
While I would not consider this to be a scenic trail by any means, it is a nice ride and would appeal especially to those interested in the steel industry. Steelmaking IS interesting to me so I actually enjoyed seeing this area.
In my opinion, I would ride this trail only in conjunction with the far more scenic Bridgeway Trail. That is, if I was going to park at Day's Dam to ride a trail, then I'd prefer to ride south along woods and rivers than north along slag heaps...but I'd ride north to extend my ride.
See my review of the Bridgeway Trail for greater elaboration. I'll post some pictures for you.
The trail is very well maintained for all activities listed. My wife rides the trail while I typically run it. We enjoy it because it offers the challenge of rolling areas, so the hills make the 2 mile trial a nice 4 mile round trip workout. The 2 high bridges over the river are a favorite feature of mine and they seem very well maintained. The trail takes you through approx 1/2 mile of shaded woods on each end of the trail with approx 1 mile of open trail in the middle (between the bridges), all nicely paved of course. We suggest starting and ending at the Days Dam area as there is plenty of parking and easy trail access, which is not the case at the Colorado Ave. end of the trail. ENJOY!!
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