The Mill Creek Bikeway and the Little Beaver Greenway Trail comprise two completed sections of the Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway. This greenway extends from Lake Erie near Ashtabula, south to a point near East Liverpool along the Pennsylvania border. The projected length of the trail, when completed, is about 100 miles.
The bikeway offers gentle grades that rise and fall over the course of its span from Western Reserve Road, just south of Canfield, to County Line Road at the Trumbull County Line.
The Mill Creek and Little Beaver Trail are roughly 8 miles apart along the same abandoned railroad corridor. Future plans should connect the two, which would create a 29 mile continuous asphalt bikeway.
Though both trails share the same corridor and lie in close proximity to each other, they are surprisingly different. This is due in part to the changing topography and development near the greenway as it heads northward. The Mill Creek Bikeway doesn't have the same remote feel as the Little Beaver and passes alongside many fine homes and some housing developments which offer connecting paths to the trail. The tree canopy of the greenway opens up and gives way to blue sky above and wide open views of farmland.
These two trails are prime examples of differing objectives of local trail builders. While the Little Beaver Trail seeks to preserve its remote natural beauty with minimal construction and intrusion, the Mill Creek Bikeway has decided to invest in developing trail facilities to complement the development in the area and add panache to their trail. Both approaches are valid and have their place, when implemented properly, as is the case with these bikeways.
We started our ride on the Mill Creek Bikeway at the Kirk Road Trailhead, which is a sterling example of trailhead development. The builders utilized two older stone structures that were built in the 1930's that stand next to the trail. The buildings are a part of local history and add style and grace to this new facility. The landscaping had yet to be completed during our visit, but the layout already suggested the form, function and beauty of the site.
The trail moves underneath two highway overpasses: Rt. 76 at the Kirk Road Trailhead and I-80, just south of the trail's northern endpoint. A bikeway bridge carries riders safely over Mahoning Avenue.
The northern terminus suggests the bikeway may venture once more into remote areas when it is extended further, and the southern end promises the same where the Little Beaver Trail lies not far to the south.
The trail's smooth concrete transitions at road crossings are well designed. There is little on no curb for cyclists to contend with.
A 317-acre MetroParks Farm lies in close proximity to the trail and has a connecting path and parking. We didn't visit the site, but a trail brochure describes it as a working farm with educational facilities, classrooms and displays. (Tours by appointment only.)
Ben Slage adds, "It's also easy to access downtown Canfield, OH from the bike trail at the US 224 (labeled as State Street on the signs) intersection. See Ben's recommendations for nearby food stops in the 'Trail Specs' below.
The bikeway is patrolled by the Mill Creek Metro Parks and is very well maintained.
Length: 10.6 miles / asphalt - 10'wide
Condition: Very Good
Facilities: Restrooms & water at Kirk Road Trailhead & MetroParks Farm. Latrines at Mahoning Road Trailhead.
Food: Ben Slagle writes, "...there is fairly easy access to a truck stop under a mile from [the north end of] the trail. It can be accessed from the trail by taking Webb Rd. east to OH State Rt. 46. There are a few truck stops there, particularly one at the end of Webb Rd, and across the bridge (slightly to the south) over I-80 there are some restaurants.
Parking: Large parking lot a Kirk Road Trailhead in Austintown. Also at the MetroParks Farm along Rt. 46 and the Mahoning Ave Trailhead.
Trumbull-County Austintown Canfield MetroParks-Farm Green-Township
10.6mi 8mi 2.6mi 1.6mi 0mi