Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5 Great Ohio Bike Trails

1. Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route: The video above from our pals at Discover Ohio and the Ohio News Network speaks for itself when it comes to the Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route in Lorain County. Riding along the shores of Lake Erie makes this one of the most scenic and interesting bike paths in the state. The path starts in Vermillion at Mill Hollow Park and heads east 22.5 miles to Avon Lake. It is part of the greater biking site, the Lake Erie Coastal Bike Trail (a mammoth path that contains over 300 miles of multi-purpose trails).

Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route offers a much less intimidating route than the Lake Erie Coastal Bike Trail as a whole. It is perfect for visiting wineries and the quaint Northern Ohio towns such as Oberlin, Sheffield Lake, and Avon.

 2. Ohio Erie Towpath Trail The Ohio Erie Towpath Trail is 101 miles long and is right alongside the Cuyahoga and Little Cuyahoga Rivers. It stretches south to north from New Philadelphia in Tuscawaras County, through to Canton in Stark County, Akron in Summit County, and ending at Lake Erie in Cuyahoga County. It follows the path of the Ohio & Erie Canal built in the 1800s. It is notorious in the area and the best place to take your bike (or go on a nice stroll). I noted this as one of the things to do while in Akron.

Everyone you encounter on the bike path is courteous and polite. The trail twists and turns through parts of the city tucked-away amidst trees and rivers. It provides a nice and safe way to enjoy bike riding for either recreational or transportation purposes. Check out extensive information about the Towpath on the Ohio Bikeways web site.

Riding the Olentangy River Greenway. Photo by OHventures.

3. Olentangy River Greenway: This trail is found going south to north in Franklin County from Downtown Columbus to Worthington.This 15-mile trail has many on and off points along the way so you can pick and choose exactly how long your trip will be, and what parts of Columbus you would like to see most. From  beginners to the most seasoned of bike riders, the entire trail will be enjoyable. It is not too difficult, yet not too simple. There are some hills sporadically, but great views the entire way through and through.

The bike path is how I was able to discover a large number of parks I never knew about in the city...from the smallest and tiniest park I have ever seen (Side By Side Park in Harrison West) to the majestic Antrim Park in Worthington. The path also goes through the Park of Roses in Clintonville, along the ravishing Olentangy River (of which it gets its name), and right past the Santa Maria ship downtown.

4. Little Miami Scenic Trail: For Southwestern Ohioans or those visiting the area, the Little Miami Scenic Trail is perfect for a leisurely bike ride or a day-long adventure. Also known as the Loveland Bike Trail or the Rails to Trails Bike Path, this 78 mile long stretch goes from Springfield in Clark County south to Milford in Warren County. I came to know about the Little Miami Scenic Trail from my former boss who was a huge fan of all things Warren County. I have never been to the trail but I trust and highly respect his judgment!

5. Ohio to Erie Trail: This is the ULTIMATE bike trail that only should be tackled if you are a seasoned biker and you have carved days out of your week for the trip. The trail actually includes both the Little Miami Scenic Trail and the Towpath, both mentioned above. It starts at the Ohio River in Cincinnati to Lake Erie in Cleveland. Read all about it at the official website.

For an extensive list of all bike trails in Ohio, as well as maps, please visit the Ohio Department of Transportation Bike Maps page.

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