One of my favorite spring excursions is a bike trip along the Little Miami Scenic Trail – a paved bicycle and walking trail that runs from Xenia to Yellow Springs. I rent a bike at one of the rental sites along the trail and enjoy a day of leisure as I ride in the shade of trees and marvel at the scenery throughout the Miami Valley. When I arrive in Yellow Springs I enjoy an end-of-the ride bonus by visiting the small boutiques and savoring an ice cream cone at Young’s Jersey Dairy.
This is just one of hundreds of bike trails throughout Ohio from which to explore the state on two wheels. The network expands to every region providing comfortable routes no matter what your skill level. If you are a leisurely biker like me, you can enjoy dedicated bike paths like the Heart of Oho Trail that runs from Mount Vernon to Centerburg, one of the 95 Rails-to-Trails in the state. More advanced riders can tackle options like the U.S. Bike Route 50 that uses both off-road and on-road routes.
You might ask yourself, with so many trails from which to choose, how do you decide? Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- What kind of ride do you want? Leisure, challenging or a mix of both?
- What region do you want to explore? Do you want to stay in your region or travel through several?
- What is your skill level? beginner, intermediate, advanced?
- Do you need to rent a bike or do you own one? Some trails have bike rental depots available.
The answers to these questions will narrow down your options. To get you started, Ohio.org has organized some of the most popular bike routes in the state.
Ohio-to-Erie Trail (Cross-state)
The Ohio-to-Erie Trail is the longest trail in the state spanning 330-miles from Cincinnati in southern Ohio to Cleveland in northern Ohio. This cross-state trail is popular among avid bikers who can stay at Bed & Breakfasts or camping sites along the way.
Central Ohio Greenways (Central)
One of the best bike trail networks in the state is the Central Ohio Greenways that connects neighborhoods, cities and parks with more than 180-miles of trails around central Ohio. Take a ride along the growing Scioto Mile in downtown Columbus as part of the Scioto Trail or use some of the connectors to hit Columbus and its suburbs as you ride to the Ohio-to-Erie Trail. Bicycle rentals are available in downtown Columbus near the Scioto Mile from several CoGo Bike Share stations.
Little Miami Scenic Trail (Southwest)
This southwest Ohio trail runs 78-miles from Cincinnati to Springfield is one of the most popular in the state. It often goes by several names. The bike trail leads you through small towns with quiet scenic views of Ohio’s landscape. The Little Miami Scenic Trail crosses several other bike trails so you can detour if the mood strikes or stay the course to explore one of the best tours through the Ohio Miami Valley.There are several bike rental locations along this trail.
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath (Northeast)
The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in northeast Ohio is a work in progress that will run 110-miles from Cleveland to New Philadelphia when it is completed. Better known as the “Towpath” trail, it is one of the longest bike paths in the state taking you past the shores of Lake Erie and scenic agricultural areas. Bike Rentals for this trail are available from Century Cycles in Peninsula and Blimp City Bike & Hike in Akron.
North Coast Inland Trail (Northwest)
There are several sections to this trail that will eventually be 105-miles long running from Bellevue to Lorain. One of the most popular sections is the 28-mile stretch from Bellevue to Elmore with several access points along the way. The trail is a converted railroad track system for the Penn Central Railroad.
Hockhocking Adena Bikeway (Southeast)
The 21-mile bikeway from Nelsonville to Athens is a picturesque ride most anytime of the year. The trail follows along the Hocking River giving you a glimpse into the railroad roots of southern Ohio. Between Armitage and Chauncey you can even see what is left of the canal basin that was instrumental in the transport of goods to the Ohio-Erie Canal in the 1800s before railroad transportation. Bicycle rentals are available from the Athens Bicycle Shop, Black Diamond Bicycles, Rocky Boots Outlet and the Athens, Nelsonville and The Plains library locations through the Book a Bike program.
For more bike routes throughout the state, check out the Ohio Department of Transportation Ohio Bikeways & Trails map. More advanced riders can use the U.S. and Ohio bicycle route map that highlights designated routes that are the safest for bikers on trails that also use roadways.