As the cross-state Ohio-to-Erie Trail expands, it creates new sections that sometimes swallow up older, smaller trails. Such was the fate of the Cedarville Trail which was extended eastward through South Charleston to London and christened the "Prairie Grass Trail."
The Prairie Grass now refers to a 30-mile bikeway that extends from Xenia eastward to London, Ohio. After a brief gap in the trail, a 6.6-mile section dubbed Roberts Pass carries on along the same corridor to Wilson Road, just west of Lilly Chapel in southwestern Ohio.
From Wilson Road, the Camp Chase Trail portion of the Ohio-to-Erie picks up and takes you to Battelle Darby-Creek Metropark in Georgesville, another 5.5-miles along the corridor. The Camp Chase will eventually connect with established bikeways in Columbus.
For the moment this review details only the Xenia to Cedarville portion of the trail.
The Prairie Grass Trail is one of four trail sections that currently intersect in Xenia, Ohio at the Xenia Station. The remaining trails consist of two segments of the Little Miami Scenic Trail and the Creekside Trail. For more info on this major trail hub, see the Xenia Station page.
This trail, along with the Little Miami Scenic Trail (which also connects to the Xenia station), comprise a significant section of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail, a cross-state work in progress.
The Cedarville section is a rural trail that was paved in 1998. It's bordered by smaller trees and shrubs that don't continuously line or crowd the trail. This gives a more open feel and allows good views of surrounding countryside.
There are a couple of dips and small inclines along this bikeway -- hardly enough to be called hills, but a bit of a departure from other ultra flat rail-trails. There are also two wooden viewing platforms that overlook a small ravine on either side of the trail.
Not long after its construction, this section boasted three connecting paths/spurs. The .9 mile connector at Wilberforce Switch Road is marked with a sign to Central State University. There's also a connecting path to one residential area as well a spur to Evans Acres, a youth recreation baseball park. A trail sign promises concessions at the park, but it looks as though they may only be available during scheduled events at the ball fields in season.
As you approach the heart of Xenia, a Xenia Station sign at the Columbus Street crossing lets you know you are nearing the largest intersection of paved bikeways in the state of Ohio.
After passing what looks to be an abandoned grain silo, the trail comes to an end at Hill and Detroit Streets (Rt. 68) in Xenia. From here you can see a red caboose resting on the hill across Detroit Street. Directly behind the caboose is Xenia Station where you can choose to ride any of the other three trail sections that currently connect here.
All crossroads along the bikeway are marked with signs. And where the trail meets them, the trail has been designed to be perpendicular by curving the path to meet roads at right angles. This increases safety at crossings by giving cyclists a better view of oncoming traffic. It also adds small curves to the pathway which, when done correctly as in this case, gives the trail more character.
Technically this trail stops about 1/2 block short of connecting directly with Xenia Station, hence the 'A2' class given below. Facilities are spread out along the route, but they can be hard to spot at times. Familiarize yourself with their locations to take full advantage.
Length: 29.8 miles / asphalt (includes short connecting road routes)
Condition: Very Good
Facilities: Xenia Station, Evans Acres, Massie Creek Park in Cedarville, South Charleston Station, Senior Center in London.
Food: A few places in Cedarville. In Xenia you can cycle to local fast food by using the H-Connector (Creekside Trail).
Elissa Hensley writes, "Restaurant in South Charleston, Chillicothe Street Pizza, 54 S Chillicothe St. Dine-in, Pizza, Subs, Salads and more.
Parking: Xenia Station, Evans Acres, Massie Creek Park in Cedarville, Community Park in South Charleston, Senior Center in London, Wilson Rd.
Xenia Cedarville S.-Charleston London-(Roberts-Pass) Wilson-Rd
0mi 7.8mi 18.7mi 29.8mi 36.9mi