The H-Connector connects the Great Miami River Trail in Dayton with Xenia Station. This 18-mile stretch is made up of two trails, the Mad River Bikeway & Creekside Trail which combine to link the two cities as well as 3 major trails!
And if that isn't enough, at the east end you arrive at Xenia Station where you can pedal off in 3 different directions by trail. Well, 4 really... if you count retracing your steps. Sometime in the future, that number will increase to 5 when the nearby Jamestown Connector connects with Xenia Station.
Here's a breakdown of the trails: The Great Miami River Trail follows the river corridor in Dayton, Ohio. To get to Xenia Station, simply jump on the Mad River Trail and head east. En route you'll pass a fork or offshoot along the trail, the Iron Horse Trail.
Continuing eastward, you'll end up riding into Xenia on the Creekside Trail. Once at the station you'll have your choice of a trail buffet. (See the Xenia Station page for details.) The two major trails here are the Little Miami and the Prairie Grass Trail. Both trails are also part of the larger Ohio-to-Erie Trail, a cross-state bikeway.
Where the Creekside Trail officially begins and the Mad River ends is not important. However, it's helpful to know that they make up the same bikeway, called the H-Connector. Why? Well, if you're looking for trail signs, maps or directions from locals, it may prove helpful as not everyone will use all three names associated with this bikeway.
Mad River Bikeway
The Mad River Bikeway connects to the Great Miami River Trail (formerly known as the River Corridor Bikeway) near the Webster Street Bridge over the Mad River in Dayton. This point is just east of where the Great Miami and Mad Rivers converge.
The connector works its way along the Mad River heading east. The trail turns and rolls over small hills as it makes its way toward Eastwood Metro Park. The scenery varies from industrial to wooded, rural sections. Here the trail varies from 12-14' wide and passes underneath a few bridges along the way.
Previously there were signs in Eastwood Park to lead you over to the Creekside Trail. Construction has since connected the two trails and smoothed the transition here. Once out of the park you are aboard the Creekside Trail heading east toward Xenia.
In 2013 a 3.6-mile extension of the bikeway was constructed to connect with the Wright Brothers Bikeway. This newer segment continues NE along the Mad River in Eastwood Park, while the older Creekside Connector heads SE, shortly after you enter the park. Learn more.
In Xenia the Creekside links with three other trail sections at the trail hub at Xenia Station. These trails consist of two sections of The Little Miami Scenic Trail and the Prairie Grass Trail. For more specifics on this trail intersection, see the Xenia Station page.
The trail utilizes bridges to pass over I-675 and Dayton-Xenia Road. There are at least 2 connecting paths/spurs to residential areas along this trail. We also encountered a traffic signal for trail users at North Fairfield Road. This is one of only two signals for trail users that we've seen in Ohio. It includes the standard "push to cross the street" button which activates a separate light for trail users.
Before reaching the Little Miami Scenic River we could hear the humming of power lines overhead. The weather was overcast with intermittent drizzle. These conditions allowed the electric lines to sing as we approached an electric transfer station. This trail also runs alongside a golf driving range and past a raceway.
Crossing the river bridge we noticed a few fishermen trying their luck on an overcast afternoon. Abandoned trestles stood nearby, remnants of older bridges that have since been removed.
About 1.6 miles from Xenia Station we passed the James Ranch spur on our left. This connecting path takes you over to the northern section of the Little Miami Trail (north of Xenia). It's a short cut between the two trails if you're heading north and want to bypass going into Xenia Station.
In Xenia The trail crosses Rt. 35. Here a crosswalk island is positioned in the middle of the 4 lane road to help cyclists negotiate the busy crossing 2 lanes at a time.
All road crossings along the Creekside are marked with street signs. Also, there are painted mile markers on the trail surface every 1/2 mile. This trail is just over 12' wide. Considering the ever-growing popularity of these bikeways and the likelihood of increased trail traffic in the future, wider is definitely better.
The brush and tree cover along the trail is fairly close and tends to lean in along some sections giving users a more sheltered or covered feel. Strong winds prevented us from experiencing the gentle slope on the trail, but a good portion of the ride from Beavercreek to Xenia should be a slight descent.
Length: 18 miles - approx. 12'-14' wide
Condition: Very Good
Facilities: Eastwood Park, Dayton-Xenia Road Trailhead (with drink machines), E.J. Nutter Park, Beavercreek Community Park, Xenia Station.
Food: A couple of places in Xenia are right along the trail as well as in Beavercreek.
Parking: Eastwood Park, Dayton-Xenia Road Trailhead at Stedman Lane (a stone's throw from I-675), Grange Hall Rd Trailhead, E.J. Nutter Park, Beavercreek Community Park, Xenia Station.
Dayton-GMRT Eastwood-Metropark Beavercreek Xenia-Station
18mi 15.1mi 8mi 0mi