Bike Trails: Ohio Erie Towpath Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH

This is the second in a continuing series of Bike Trail posts.  Like the back roads of America, the recent interest in bike paths and rails-to-trails paths provides a new insight on “back roads”.  Each Bike Path post will include surrounding information, vehicle support info and trail ratings as provided by my wife Julianne.  One bike pump equals a “poor” rating while five pumps equals an “excellent” rating.  We’ll also provide links to the RTC TrailLinks overview of the trail. Complete Trails Overview Post is HERE
OhioErieCanalway
BlackPump3Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail – Cuyahoga Valley N.P., OH

Click here for RTC TrailLink Details

Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley NP, Ohio
Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley NP, Ohio

The Ohio Erie Towpath Trail runs along the old Erie canal towpath and covers approximately 85 miles. It has trailheads in Cleveland and continues south through the Cuyahoga Valley Valley National Park and further south than that.

Towpath Trail as seen from the Boston Visitor's Center
Towpath Trail as seen from the Boston Visitor’s Center

There are portions of the trail that are paved and many other portions that are crushed limestone or hard packed, dirt making this accessible for most bikers.

Take the Train to a trailhead
Take the Train to a trailhead

This trail is also unique in that when you’re in the National Park, there is actually a train that can run you to a number of trailhead stops up the road with your bikes on the train and then you can ride back.  This allows one to park and have transportation to the trailhead. From April through October, you can bicycle one way and return by train for $3 using Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Bike Aboard! service. Runners and hikers pay $9. You can catch the train at any boarding station. There are no guaranteed seats. Schedules are available at boarding stations, visitor centers, and online at www.CVSR.com.

Hanging around at the Boston Visitor's Center in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Hanging around at the Boston Visitor’s Center in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

If you are following the riders along this trail as a support driver, there are plenty of places to stop and, of course, the National Park has some wonderful places including the visitor center in Boston. Across the street from the visitors center is a very nice snack shop that sells some local granola and treats and also some locally made drinks. They also have ice cream, which is a common amenity among many bike trails nowadays.

Julianne and Laura after their bike ride on the Towpath Trail
Julianne and Laura after their bike ride on the Towpath Trail

Julianne and her sister Laura rode about 15 miles of this trail during our visit to the National Park in May 2016. But they did enjoy the ride immensely and hope to make a trip back and take on more of the trail in the future.

Typical signage on the Miami Trail in Ohio
Typical signage on the Miami Trail in Ohio

Ohio is a state that has made great strides in creating nice bike trails and to promote bicycling as a major activity for families and others. In future  posts you will see info about the Greater Miami Bike Trail, the Little Miami Scenic Trail, theTri-County Triangle trail and more.

The Hunt House in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Stanford House in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Trail Mix Shop
Trail Mix Shop

A visit to the Canal Exploration Center, the Boston Store Visitor Center, Peninsula Depot Visitor Center, or Staford House can make your outing on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail even more enjoyable. At these stops you can talk to a park ranger, see exhibits, and get information.

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Bike Trails: The Legacy Trail – Lexington, KY

This is the first in a continuing series of Bike Trail posts.  Like the back roads of America, the recent interest in bike paths and rails-to-trails paths provides a new insight on “back roads”.  Each Bike Path post will include surrounding information, vehicle support info and trail ratings as provided by my wife Julianne.  One bike pump equals a “poor” rating while five pumps equals an “excellent” rating.  We’ll also provide links to the RTC TrailLinks overview of the trail. Complete Trails Overview Post is HERE.

legacytrail_logosmall

BlackPump4THE LEGACY TRAIL – Lexington, KY

Click here for RTC TrailLink Details

DSC_4870The Legacy Trail in Lexington, Kentucky is a totally paved bike trail that basically covers a 12 mile distance from downtown Lexington to the Kentucky Horse Park.
Legacy Trail Flags
Legacy Trail Flags

Though not a “rail trail,” per se, the trail is well-maintained, has ample parking on both the north and south ends of the trail and also includes a parking spot midway in the trail at Coldstream. All along the trail are flag banners that can be seen from quite a distance.

The trail runs through farmland after it leaves the city and then eventually enters into horse farm country. For the bikers that want a little bit more ride than the 12 mile trail offers, there is an extension that can be taken through the Kentucky Horse Park that is about 8 miles and goes through some beautiful horse farm country where one can see the plank fences, horses grazing in the fields, etc. My daughter Marissa took this video of horses following them on the trail.
Plank Fencing along the trail...a sign of horse farm country
Plank Fencing along the trail…a sign of horse farm country

One of the scenes of Lexington's Legacy Trail including the iconic stone walls that line the entire Bluegrass area.
One of the scenes of Lexington’s Legacy Trail including the iconic stone walls that line the entire Bluegrass area.

The rail trails typically are straight and fairly level with slight hills and slight curve. The legacy trail, according to my wife Julianne, is a bit more challenging in that it has some pretty heavy duty Hills and there are a couple nearly 90° turns, including one at the bottom of the hill they can be even dangerous.  These are a downside to this trail, as far as my wife is concerned, but since she has ridden it numerous times, she knows when to be cautious.

Sumoflam at Legacy Trail
Sumoflam at Legacy Trail
Julianne and Marissa after a nice ride on the Legacy Bike Trail in Lexington
Julianne and Marissa after a nice ride on the Legacy Bike Trail in Lexington

She loves this trail and has only rated it lower than a five because of the hills and the curves. Julianne and our daughter Marissa also enjoy adding on the Horse Park portion of this trail as it is a biweekly adventure for them to come out and get some good exercise and still get in about 16 or 17 miles of riding.

More flags along the Legacy Trail
More flags along the Legacy Trail
Bike Pump and Tools on the Legacy Trail - provided by Lexington's Pedal the Planet
Bike Pump and Tools on the Legacy Trail – provided by Lexington’s Pedal the Planet

Other amenities included on this trail are drinking fountains, bike air pumping stations with a variety of useful tools and each parking area does have a portable restroom. I should note that the bike pumps and tools were kindly provided by local Lexington company Pedal the Planet where both Julianne and Marissa got their bikes.  I hope to get mine there in the near future as well.

PedalthePlanet
Happy to promote a great bicycle vendor. Give them a visit. (This is not a paid promotion)

Other non-motorized vehicles can be used on the trail including skateboards, in-line skating and walking.

A bridge along the Legacy trail
A bridge along the Legacy trail
Signage on the trail with history and more
Signage on the trail with history and more
The Legacy Trail Map as seen at the Iron Works (Horse Park) trailhead
The Legacy Trail Map as seen at the Iron Works (Horse Park) trailhead
Julianne enjoying the Legacy Trail
Julianne enjoying the Legacy Trail

In terms of vehicular support, there are actually three areas along the trail with good parking.  The main trailheads are at the Northside YMCA in Lexington (near Lexmark), the mid-trail Coldstream parking area and then the Horse Park trailhead on Iron Works Pike, across the road from the Horse Park.

There are  ruminations that the trail may be extended further north towards the town of Georgetown, but I have not been able to find anything definitive regarding this at this point.

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