From March 16 to April 6 of this year, local bike trail use was up 30 percent compared to last year — some trails even tripled their traffic, according to Tri-State Trails, which “connects people and places via a regional trail and bikeway network” — as people started using their quarantine time to get outdoors and exercise.
“Trails and bikeways are one of the few places that remained open during the stay at home order, and have proven to be an essential amenity for our community during this crisis,” said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails at Green Umbrella.
And that trend has continued, with media outlets like CNN and The Guardian calling bicycles the “new toilet paper,” as demand has them flying off store shelves.
With more than 570 miles of trails, we asked Tri-State Trails’ Johnston his picks for the six best trails people should bike this summer — especially with social distancing in mind. Here’s what he said. Learn more at tristatetrails.org.
Little Miami Scenic Trail
“One of the most popular — and busiest — trails in the region. It traverses 78 miles from Cincinnati to Springfield, Ohio. It’s the southern leg of the 326-mile Ohio to Erie Trail, and Great Parks of Hamilton County is about to start construction on a bridge that will connect to Lunken Airport. The rural sections are definitely less busy if you are trying to social distance. From Loveland south it’s always packed on a nice day. There’s an 8-mile spur into Lebanon called the Countryside YMCA trail.”
Ohio River Trail
“There’s about 3 miles downtown in the Cincinnati riverfront parks, and another 4 miles around Lunken; these sections are connected by bike lanes along Riverside Drive. The section at Schmidt Field is right along the river and extra wide for physical distancing. Cincinnati is currently building a connection from Salem Road out to Sutton Road to connect Lunken Airport to Coney Island. You can also explore the Kentucky side of the Ohio River on the Riverfront Commons trail. There’s about 2 miles through Covington and Newport — also known as the Riverwalk — as well as shorter segments in Dayton and Ludlow. The Dearborn Trail also follows the Ohio River for about 6 miles from Lawrenceburg to Aurora, Indiana.”
“This is the region’s newest rail-trail. Right now there’s about 1.5 miles between Madison Road and Montgomery Road. Tri-State Trails helped secure $6 million last year to extend the trail west to Avondale and east through Ault Park to the Murray Trail. Through our #CROWNcincinnati project, we are working to connect this to the Ohio River Trail and Mill Creek Greenway to create a 34-mile trail loop around the city.”
Mill Creek Greenway
“There’s about 2.5 miles from Spring Grove Village through Northside to South Cumminsville. There are public art installations, including Space Walk, a to-scale model of the solar system that glows at night. There’s also a public orchard installation. You can ride on Canal Bikeway, following Central Parkway and Eggleston, to connect to the Ohio River Trail at Sawyer Point.”
Devou Park and Mt. Airy Forest
“Beautiful natural surface trails right in the heart of the city. Great for mountain biking and hiking.”
Great Miami River Trail
“There’s 7 miles from Fairfield to Hamilton, 9 miles in Middletown, and 55 miles from Franklin through Dayton to Piqua. The connection between the Middletown and Franklin sections is scheduled to start construction this year!”