It took much of the last decade for
Mills and others to succeed in getting
the trail built through Terrace Park.
Now trail advocates are pushing to
continue it into downtown Cincinnati,
a planning challenge that is among the
thorniest in all Ohio.
This is the southern completion
of the Ohio to Erie Trail—the last
miles,” says Mills. “The City of
Cincinnati wanted it next to the Ohio
River, but the riverbank was giving way,
and industries wouldn’t let it go behind
their facilities for security reasons.” The
solution, he believes, is to build the trail
alongside the dormant Oasis railroad
line. Hopeful that the line could soon be
reactivated for light rail service, officials
initially resisted the idea. Now they have
embraced the idea of a “rail-with-trail”
into downtown. “There are over 200
examples of rail-with-trail around the
country,” says Mills. “The trail would
simply be built next to the rail, with fenc-
ing; we’d probably have put up [a fence]
Ohio River Way, a nonprofit organiza-
tion formed to spearhead development
of this portion of trail, is embarking on a
campaign to raise $4 million to complete
the work. When it’s done, cyclists will
be able to commute into downtown on
an off-road, paved trail—enhancing the
bike-friendliness of a city that is in the
throes of revitalization.
Twenty-three miles north of
Cincinnati, the Ohio to Erie Trail has
made the small town of Loveland a
recreation destination and attracted more
economic activity to its center. Loveland
is now seen as an outdoor activity hub
that connects visitors to recreation oppor-
tunities throughout the region—from
Xenia to Cincinnati, Columbus and
With its amazing setting right on the
Little Miami River, Loveland was primed
for this renaissance,” says Oberg. “What
the trail did was turn many of the busi-
nesses’ back doors into their front doors,
opening right onto the trail. They have
capitalized on the trail so well that for
many Cincinnatians, the entire trail is
known as the ‘Loveland Trail.’”
Local Color
Loveland is not the only small town that
has benefited from its proximity to the
Ohio to Erie Trail. The town of London,
located 30 miles southwest of Columbus,
Ryan McKenzie, a bike mechanic at Century
Cycles in Peninsula, makes repairs for a visiting
customer. The towpath trail runs through this
picturesque village, and trail tourism supports
a number of local businesses.
Below, the Holmes County Trail has made
buggy travel much safer for the local Amish
communities; at right, cyclists and runners
share the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail
in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.