Ohio to Erie Trail Tour
9 Day Inn Tour
Get to really know and love the Buckeye State as we traverse all 326 miles of the Ohio to Erie Trail, from the Ohio River in Cincinnati to Lake Erie in Cleveland. Meandering through four major cities and numerous small towns, traversing numerous rivers and tracing old canals, and crisscrossing Midwest farmlands and Amish Country in their summer glory, we’ll experience the full range of Ohio culture and geography. Join us!
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Mostly flat terrain on paved trail, with a few rolling hills. About 15 miles of the trail is crushed limestone or hard-packed dirt, and about 15% of the tour is on roads through cities and rural areas. Average 47 miles per day. Moderate cycling level or leisurely for e-bike riders.
All hotel lodging, 7 breakfasts, 6 dinners, 3 picnic or sack lunches, daily snacks and support along the route, luggage transfer, mechanical support, detailed maps, cue sheets and GPS files, trained guides and shuttle back to the start of the tour if you've driven.
$195 for Specialized women-specific road or hybrid bicycles. $295 for an electric-assist e-bike. We recommend bikes with tires at least 28c in width.
Fly or take the train into Cincinnati, OH and out of Cleveland, OH. Or drive and leave your car in Cincinnati, and we will shuttle you back to your car on the last day of the tour.
Day 2: We will leave our Newport hotel and ride to Mile 0 of the Ohio to Erie Trail, crossing the Ohio River via the iconic Purple People Bridge to get to the magical Smale Park. The ride through this stretch of Cincinnati is enchanting, with photo opps at Sawyer Point and the International Friendship Park. As we veer north, we’ll eventually meet the Little Miami River. The trail skips back and forth over the river under shady sycamores, with wildflowers in bloom.
Along the way you’ll pass a hauntingly beautiful abandoned munitions factory that was active in World War II. The highlight of the day may be the chance to take a short detour to Fort Ancient Earthworks, where miles of earthen walls enclose a high flat bluff created by the Hopewell Indians thousands of years ago. We’ll rest for the night in Xenia, once a safe haven for enslaved people traveling to freedom along the Underground Railroad. 68 miles, +1465’/-1029’.
Day 3: Hello Ohio Farmland! Corn, soybeans, grain silos and outposts for the state’s robust agricultural industry are apparent for much of today’s ride. You’ll also get a real taste for small town Americana as you pass through rural communities and ride along the forests, prairies and wetlands of Darby Creek.
Soak it in while you can, because the landscape changes dramatically as you approach Ohio’s largest and fastest growing urban area, Columbus. We’ll be staying in the heart of the Arch City’s downtown, with plenty of great restaurants for you to explore—dinner is on your own. 61 miles, +817’/-991’.
Day 4: Today’s cycling is a sampler plate of urban, suburban, small town and park-like surroundings along multiple regional trails that are part of the Ohio to Erie Trail system. Of note is the Alum Creek Multi-Use Trail, with its woodsy surroundings and multiple boardwalks that make it hard to believe you are not in the wilderness.
Be sure to set aside time to visit the Ariel-Foundation Park on the outskirts of Mount Vernon. The old glass factory has been repurposed into a charming green space and public art venue with an observation tower, park museum, labyrinth and three lovely lakes that were once gravel quarries. We’ll be staying the night in Mount Vernon, a well-groomed college town. 52 miles, +1059’/-803’.
Day 5: Today’s ride takes us into the heart of Ohio’s Amish country and the second largest settlement of Amish in the United States after Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. Expect to share the trail with local residents traveling by horse and buggy.
Perhaps the most photogenic part of the day is when we cross the Mohican River near Brinkhaven via the Bridge of Dreams. This 370-foot covered bridge is the third longest covered bridge in the country. Listening to the clip-clop of horse-drawn buggies traveling the bridge is a sound to cherish. We spend the night in Millersburg, known for its Victorian architecture. 41 miles, +1279’/-1444’.
Day 6: Some of today’s route goes off trail and onto picturesque rural roads with rolling hills. You’ll be able to watch Amish farmers working the land with their horse-drawn plows. Then it’s a gentle downhill into Massillon, our home for the night. 38 miles, +1154’/-1037’.
Day 7: Ohio history is on the horizon as we enter the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area. The Ohio and Erie Canal, completed in 1832, connected Cleveland on Lake Erie and Portsmouth on the Ohio River, creating the state’s most important superhighway. More importantly, it connected the Ohio frontier with New York and New Orleans that helped fuel westward expansion.
While in Akron, we‘ll be within walking distance of the Akron Art Museum and other cultural attractions. 30 miles, +497’/-515’.
Day 8: On our last day of riding we continue on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Look for locks that raise and lower the boats and savor the forests, fields and wetlands that flank the trail.
The tour’s final stretch comes to a picturesque end at Edgewater Park on the shores of Lake Erie, with the famous Cleveland sign and the downtown skyline as the backdrop. We will celebrate the completion of our journey at dinner. 40 miles, +802’/-1085.
Day 9: You’re free to take a taxi, Uber or Lyft at your leisure to the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport or Cleveland Lakefront Train Station. If you have time to stay longer, our ending hotel is within walking distance of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. If you need to return to your car, we will shuttle you back to Cincinnati, arriving by 2:00pm.
Echoing the state song, let’s sing a happy farewell: “Beautiful Ohio, thy wonders are in view, land where my dreams all come true!” 0 miles.
- Traffic-free cycing on bike paths
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Little Miami State Park
- Amish Country
- Underground Railroad history
- Cincinnati, Columbus, Akron and Cleveland
- Small town Midwestern hospitality