An unusually mild August morning invited me to one of my favorite bike trails in Ohio - the Westerville bike trail. Within a few miles of my home, it only takes me a few minutes to hop on the trail and cruise north to the quaint town of Galena or south to Uptown Westerville. What’s nice about this bike trail is its flat terrain, minimal road crossings, and shaded path.
This route, officially titled the Alum Creek Trail, is actually a portion of the Ohio to Erie bike path, which is a culmination of trails that connect Ohio’s riders from its southern most point near the Ohio River, all the way north to Lake Erie.
For those less interested in a Tour de Ohio and more so in a leisurely trip, I suggest just a small yet satisfying taste of the trail.
Begin in the Home Depot parking lot on Maxtown Road in Westerville. There is a conveniently located Trek cycling store adjacent to the parking lot for any last minute tune-ups you may need. The 0-Mile marker begins right behind the Home Depot; that’s where I began. As you head north, the trees become enveloping and it’s smooth cycling from there.
After five miles, the trail appears to dead-end into a rural road that may leave you thinking you’re done. But jog right and catch the final stretch of the trail’s downhill delight. After passing the “End” sign, don’t stop. Continue and turn right onto Columbus Rd towards Galena. You’ll be off the security of the bike trail so be prepared for road riding. Don’t pass Front Street though; you’ll want to turn right for a scenic boardwalk that provides panoramic views of Hoover Reservoir and the surrounding woodland.
From this stop, I provide two options. Stay in Galena for a bite to eat at Galena Diner, a nostalgic mom and pop joint that always seems busy. It’s then another five or so miles back to the car after a meal.
Option two is for the more adventurous; those whose idea of leisure involves more sweat. Head back onto the trail, but instead of stopping at your car, continue heading south on the trail towards uptown Westerville. The trail winds through historic homes and passes a newly built bike depot behind the Westerville Public Library.
This trail is scenic and secluded, yet provides access points to restaurants and parks that make the city of Westerville so ideal for a relaxing ride.