The Kokosing Gap Trail stretches 13.4-miles from Mt. Vernon to Danville in Knox County, Ohio. Along the route the bikeway passes through Gambier and Howard.
Trail improvements for 2012 included bridge deck board replacement, grading along the trail shoulders and center bollard replacement along the entire bikeway.
The trail surface is still in very good condition, thanks to a resurfacing project that was completed in 2006.
In 2009-10 more small bumps popped up here and there along the trail route. (A few miles to the north, the Richland B & O Trail suffered a similar condition change during this period.) At this time the bumps are small, infrequent and pose no real problems. But the astute volunteers that maintain the bikeway have already begun experimenting with how best to deal with this heaving. Close to Gambier a few of the bumps have been ground down and sealed. This is the first Ohio trail where we've seen this type of repair even attempted(!)
There's a .4 mile spur to local sporting fields along Mt. Vernon Avenue. It begins just across the river from the trail along the Kokosing River Dike and heads west. In the future it will work its way over to Rt. 13 near downtown Mt. Vernon where it will eventually connect to a segment of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail from the southwest. This connector would join the Heart of Ohio Trail with the Kokosing Gap.
Most of the trail is tree-lined with the Kokosing River weaving its way alongside. There are a number of river crossings on perhaps 4 or 5 wooden-decked steel bridges, two of which are quite long and provide great views. Some have built-in observation decks where you can stop and enjoy the view without blocking the trail.
Posts mark the distance you've traveled every half mile. A number of the original concrete markers that were used by the railroad still remain and benches are stationed along the bikeway every half mile or so. Street name signs have been erected at most road crossings and even post the mileage you've covered when riding from Mt. Vernon.
The trail provides some interesting scenery as it passes briefly along the edge of a college campus in Gambier. Lights have been installed here at the rest station across from a wonderful display of an old steam engine, coal car, flatbed and caboose alongside the trail. The cars have been restored and painted since the photo below was taken. The cars serve as a fine monument to this rail-trail's past. A very nice touch indeed.
Gambier is a great place to take a break or do some exploring, if you're so inclined. We recommend you ride toward campus and into the small town of Gambier. Just turn west off the trail at the crossroad nearest the train. Campus buildings unobtrusively blend in with large trees throughout this small town giving you a peaceful, serene feel as you cycle through. But leaving the trail in this case means leaving the flats as you will have to bear down and do a steep climb to get into town.
As you continue on, the bikeway passes through an interesting stone-arched tunnel. This "tunnel" is actually a bridge for Rt. 36 which passes overhead in Howard, Ohio. Howard is another nice spot for a break. There's a gazebo on the trail just beyond the bridge, along the river. There's also a paved access ramp that takes you up to street level (Rt. 36).
Trail users become more scarce as you head on toward Danville and the scenery changes to farmland, some hills, woods and pastures. The trail ends without fanfare on what looks like a deserted old lane. But turn right and ride a couple of blocks into town (follow the bike route signs) and you'll find a local park where you can rest and refuel. A dairy stand (currently not open on Sundays!), carryout and grocery store are all within a stone's throw just for your convenience. Well, ok... maybe it wasn't planned that way, but it works out fine.
The Kokosing Gap is open 24 hours a day. It is among the best maintained bikeways in Ohio. It never fails to provide an enjoyable trail riding experience. We should mention that it's maintained entirely by volunteers!
The bike route signs into Danville now include Mohican Valley Trail signs to help direct you to this nearby trail that starts only a few blocks from where the Kokosing ends. Checkout a map of the connecting route between the two trails.
As you may know, the Kokosing Gap, Mohican Valley Trail and the Holmes County Trail are all part of the same former rail corridor. These 3 trail segments are also part of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail, a cross-state bike trail, which is currently under construction.
Look for the Heart Of Ohio Trail to link up with the Kokosing sometime soon along the dikeway alongside the Kokosing River.
The paved Kokosing Trail ends in Danville. The Mohican Valley Trail picks up a few blocks away and extends 4.5 miles eastward and connects Danville with Brinkhaven, where the unfinished end of the Holmes County Trail begins. The Mohican Valley Trail features the Bridge of Dreams, a 370' long covered trail bridge that crosses the Mohican River. It can be seen from Rt. 62. This bridge, approximately one car lane in width, is said to be the longest covered bridge in Ohio and the second longest in the country!
Length: 13.4 miles - approx. 10' wide
Facilities: Restrooms & water stations in Mt. Vernon at Phillip's Park, Gambier and at the stone arched bridge in Howard. Howard also has a parking lot & small playground.
Mt. Vernon sporting fields and tennis courts are now connected to the trail by way of a spur that runs along the Kokosing River Dike at Mt. Vernon Ave.
Food: Several places in Mt. Vernon on Main St. (St. Rt. 13) about 3/4 to 1 mile from the trail.
A dairy stand & a couple of stores lie a couple blocks from the trail's end in Danville. When the trail ends, turn right and follow the bike route signs. You'll see a 'bike route ends' sign just before you reach Market St. (Rt. 62). A market and Subway store are located just to your right at Progress & Market St.
Ed Arnold adds, "If you go up to S.R.36 [in Howard] there a BBQ joint, Grillier's Barbeque, that serves very good bbq pulled chicken, smoked pulled pork and bbq beef sandwiches."
Sandy Boone writes, "...The Hangout on Market Street in Danville has a large menu with very reasonable prices: Tue-Fri 11am-1am; Sat-Mon 5pm-1am; kitchen closes Sun-Thur @ 9pm, Fri/Sat @ 10pm. The Rusty Turkey [& LuLu's Cafe on] Market St. in Danville offering a full menu Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner; closed Mondays."
Parking: Parking is available at both ends of the trail and in Gambier & Howard. Most popular lot is off Mt. Vernon Ave. in Mt. Vernon. Phillip's Park is a few hundred feet away at trail's end in Mt. Vernon, but can only be accessed by car via Liberty St.
Mt-Vernon Gambier Howard Danville Mohican-Trail
13.8mi 9.6mi 4.6mi 0mi (.4mi)