Biking the Ohio to Erie Trail - Columbus to Cleveland
Hi, I'm Sara Petyk with Noble invention Bike Touring. Today I am starting on our second video of the Ohio to Erie Trail. We are riding out of Columbus towards Cleveland. In our first video we rode from Cincinnati here to Columbus. The Ohio to Erie Trail route north of Columbus is a nice mix of surfaces. We are for the most part on bike trails but we also do get to ride on some miles of farm roads and secondary roads. We also get to take a nice long time on the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail which is a crushed gravel trail. We'll cover about 180 miles on this Cleveland to,
or sorry, 180 miles on the Columbus to Cleveland portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail. I do sometimes get the question of which direction is better to ride. It's generally believed that south to north will more likely have a tailwind but it's very changeable. You can't you can't say for sure there
will be a tailwind just because you ride south to north. Also with the elevation changes it's really six of one, half dozen of the other. You're going to be climbing and descending no matter which way you go. So for my money I say whichever direction makes the most sense for you logistically is probably the best one to go. I think a lot of people though do probably ride south to north. Well I'm ready to get started on our Day 1 ride out of Columbus so why don't we start.
This is a great trailhead to keep in mind as a rest stop because it actually has bathrooms, water, and shade. So they've actually done a really nice job with the park here and have it on your list of places, once you've gone through the Columbus area and figured out all of your directions and you're finally back on the bike trail, you can take a moment here catch your breath and then start back on the Ohio to Erie Trail north. I'm in the town square of Sunbury and the bike route actually comes straight through the town here. We also passed by the smaller town of Galena. The bike trail doesn't go through
Galena but you are just off of that and there is a bike lane that can take you there. I wanted to point out that both of these towns do have multiple restaurants. They also have these nice town square areas where you can find some picnic tables and just some shade and a place to rest if you need it. I didn't see any public bathrooms or public water in these two locations but I did want to point out that there are good options here for both food and, if you've packed your own food, a place to sit and have your own lunch. I've arrived in Mount Vernon. Just before I got to this trailhead I, the bike trail and I,
went past the Ariel Foundation Park and if you are new to this trail and if you like seeing art installations I definitely recommend just taking a really quick side trip to look at the art they have there. There is also an observation tower if you don't have a fear of heights you can walk all the way up and get a nice view. But then just past that park is where we are here at the Mount Vernon trailhead. Behind me this building was built in 1905 and it was a train depot for the Cleveland, Akron, and Columbus Railway. Today the Knox County Visitor Center uses the indoor space. They also
have bathrooms and water inside which you can use during the regular office hours. On the outside even if you're here outside of those hours there are water fountains as well as some picnic tables and benches and a bike fix-it station. We are about 50 miles north of Columbus. So often riders who are looking to have a daily mileage in that 40 to 50 range will stay overnight here. There are plenty of restaurants and there's a hotel and some other places to stay in Mount Vernon. We have been riding on the, we've been riding on the Heart of Ohio bike trail since Centerburg and but here in Mount Vernon we are going to switch onto the Kokosing Gap Trail. So we're going to take the Kokosing Gap Trail out of Mount Vernon and north to north towards Millersburg.
So that was the end of the Kokosing Gap Trail. That trail ends in the small town of Danville. At the end of the trail we take a few turns through Danville until we reach the Mohican Valley Trail. You see the very cute sign behind me. We are also starting in the portion of the Ohio to Erie route where you're going through Amish country and these trails and roads you will be sharing with horses um usually a horse and buggy. Usually not a horse by, with just a rider,
but and then also walkers, scooters, you know all a variety of things. So a couple points of horse and bike etiquette. If you are biking and a horse is coming at you generally or almost always you want to stop first. You want to make eye contact with the rider or driver and verify
that they're okay with you continuing. This is the, one of the only areas where I would say these horses and the drivers are so used to being around vehicles, including cars, it's very unlikely that they're going to have a problem with you continuing on. Just get a feel for the situation. The other direction would be coming from in the same direction as a horse. I can't imagine a situation where you want to ride right up on a horse and no matter how well trained that horse is it is going to not enjoy that at all. So to be courteous you want to again
get a sense of what's going on. On these trails you're you're probably going to be fine to just slow up a little bit give a lot of room. Start making, getting on the opposite side of the road well before you're towards the vehicle so that when you are passing the horse you're not just making the swerve then. But again if you can tell what other trail users around you are doing or if there's you know apparently no problem with you passing, go ahead and do that. So that's just a bit of horse and bike etiquette to prepare you for this part of the Ohio to Erie route. Well that is one good reason to ride south to north. That is a fantastic downhill on
the Holmes County Trail. After you hit the Bridge of Dreams there's a bit of an uphill and then there's a super fun downhill all the way here to Glenmont. In Glenmont the bike trail changes to road and we're actually on road for I think almost 7 miles between the towns of Glenmont and Killbuck. So this next section is probably the most heavy traffic,
heavy road portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail. Once we're in Killbuck we are back onto bike trail however and that bike trail is going to take us all the way to Millersburg and beyond. We made it to Millersburg and behind me is the actual trailhead building. The town itself is just up a hill, unfortunately, a short hill. Millersburg is probably one of the more well-known stops along the Ohio to Erie Trail. The town is in the heart of Central Ohio's Amish Country so it does serve a lot of the tourism activities around Central Ohio. And so this is
a popular destination both for cyclists and just for tourists coming to visit the area. We're about 40 miles outside of Columbus, no 40 miles outside of Mount Vernon, so this is another good place to stop as an overnight there are restaurants and hotel options in town. The Holmes County Trail ends in the small town of Holmesville appropriately enough.
After that you are on roads for quite a while. This is a beautiful section of the Ohio to Erie route. It is quite hilly, so you get uphills you do get downhills as well. I think going into that section it's a good idea just to know that you should pace yourself so that you can actually enjoy the whole of that part. Lots of beautiful farms to see, just beautiful scenery,
but it is kind of a change after being on bike trail for a while. You are back then onto bike trail just past the town of Dalton. And pretty quickly after you get onto the bike trail it becomes this crushed gravel. This is the first crushed gravel we've seen coming from south to north. So we're on this Sippo Valley Trail into Massillon. And then at Massillon we actually turn north and we start on canalway on our way up towards Akron and Cleveland. We got onto the canal towpath in the town of Massillon or Masalin or Masin, however you want to pronounce it. It's a pretty large city. It's about roughly 30 miles both from
Millersburg and from Akron. So some folks do use that as an overnight. There's a hotel there as as well as multiple restaurants. There's also a nice big bike shop there. Others would use it as a lunch stop or just a nice rest stop. A little bit further along the towpath is the smaller town of Canal Fulton. This also is a good stop for lunch or just a break. There's probably three
different ice cream shops and a coffee shop and I know there's a restaurant or two as well. So a good place for us a stop and a little bit of a rest before you continue on your way to Akron. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trail which we got on around Massillon does continue into Akron and beyond. So Akron can be a good last stop if you want to overnight or it's a good rest area before you get into the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Just past Akron you're on that crushed gravel towpath there's a little bit of pavement but essentially you're on that towpath almost to the edge of Cleveland. As you approach Cleveland you're going to be
on a series of bike trails. It does become paved again. And you do want to have your mapping available because there are a number of trails and you do get off of the towpath at one point and get on to some linking trails if you want to to get straight down to the lake and the official end of the Ohio and Erie Towpath, sorry I knew I was going to do that, the Ohio and Erie TRAIL route. So we're going to continue on the towpath but as we get close to Cleveland you do depart from just the edge of the towpath and get onto link trails which take you to the end of the Ohio and Erie Trail route. So enjoy this next section of the route. Here we are at the edge of Lake Erie, at the end of the Ohio to Erie Trail. In this video we have covered the northern half from Columbus all the way here to Cleveland. As you saw coming
in there are a lot of little links and turns that you need to be aware of. So it is really, I don't want to say it's required to have a digital map on the trail, but again it's just really strongly recommended if you can. Or even have something on your phone to follow. If not, there are paper maps and I would definitely research these sections coming into and out of the cities. The Ohio to Erie Trail as a whole is surprisingly beautiful which I, which I expected to be beautiful, but I think what surprises me is the changes that you see on the entirety of the trail. You're obviously going through the urban areas Cleveland Cincinnati, Columbus. You're definitely going through farm areas. You're going through Amish country. But you're also going through bike trail and crushed gravel and towpath and road. And it's not all flat
so there's a lot of up and down. So it it actually does give you quite a robust experience as a bike tourer. Answers to some basic questions which I've probably gone over in either this or the other video but which I will reiterate now that you may have in mind. I think any type of bike is
going to be appropriate for this trail as a whole. The portions where you are on road if there's a certain type of bike that you like for dealing with traffic that might make the decision for you. There are services basically along the entire length of the trail. That includes places to stay, restaurants, bathrooms, water. And free water. water fountains for the most part. The portion from Mount Vernon to Millersburg has probably the least amount of services. There's a convenience store in Killbuck. So you probably want to have food with you for that section. For the most part
all of the other portions of the trail have plenty of options. Always of course research ahead. So thank you so much for following along with me on my ride along the Ohio and Erie Trail. If you're interested in getting more information on our self-guided bike tours on this trail or just information on the other bike touring services that we offer, please visit us at nibiketouring.com. That's NobleInventionBikeTouring.com