The T.J. Evans Trail is an older bikeway that extends from Newark to Johnstown in Licking County, Ohio. Though the trail has some history, it was repaved in 2003. This much needed repaving project gave the bikeway new life. The surface is now in better condition, but could still use some surface maintenance.
There are several holes in the asphalt. A number lurk near the center of the trail, while one or two reside along the edge. Aside from one asphalt patch that we saw, it appears that the other hazards have gone untouched since the trail was resurfaced. Not good.
Previous plans called for utilizing the T.J. Evans and the nearby Panhandle Trail as an alternate route for the Ohio-to-Erie Trail by way of the Panhandle Route. However, there hasn't been any recent word of this coming to fruition as the Panhandle Trail's future is uncertain at this time.
The TJ Evans Trail moves through woods, pastures and farmlands giving occasional glimpses of a creek that runs alongside and a river along the campus connector along Rt. 16.
This is a great ride on those scorching hot summer days. Most of the bikeway is lined with an abundance of foliage that gives the effect of riding through a long, green tunnel. The cover not only provides protection from the sun, but also acts as a buffer from the wind on blustery days. Perhaps 90% of the trail is blanketed in greenery, which literally gives the bikeway its own environment. How? Well, we rode the trail on a warm, dry day, but the coolness and cover along much of the trail kept the surface from drying out from an earlier rain. Many sections were damp, while others were still wet. Nothing unusual in that, except the roads around the bikeway had been bone dry for several hours!
Riding from Johnstown to Newark the trail makes a gradual descent that goes for several miles making the trip an almost effortless ride.
As mentioned above, the bikeway has some maintnenance issues and could use some regrading work to fill the exposed curb-like edge of the trail in some spots. It's not unusual for a cyclist to wander off the trail from time to time. In such cases a level shoulder can help to avoid a spill.
There are several short bridge crossings, including one over-street passage, along with an under-road tunnel. On the campus connector trail you'll encounter more over and underpasses as well as some architecturally unique bridges along the bikeway. Trail builders successfully met every challenge to bridge the gap between the Newark to Johnstown Bikeway and the nearby Newark-OSU campus trail. The result is quite an interesting ride.
Most transitions from the trail surface to bridges' decks are rough. If fact, slow down and use caution when approaching any bridge, tunnel or other transition along the Evans bikeway system. Some tunnels have severe angles with the surface which is made more difficult by some drain grates that cross the trail and are slightly below the trail surface. A couple of bridges have aging lumber decks, while a bridge along the campus connector uses uneven stones for its deck material. Looks nice, but not very practical, particularly in wet or frosty conditions.
There are no trail signs to warn of sharp turns along the connector, so don't assume you can manage them at normal speed. This trail has a rolling, turning nature that straightens out as you approach the Rt. 16 bridge where the bikeway climbs to make the junction.
Desspite our criticisms, the trail is in good overall condition. There are a number of small ripples (small holes & tiny dips) in the surface, but they don't prevent you from sailing along at a good clip. However, this can lead to a false sense of security, which is why we've taken the time to mention the potential hazards listed above. Keep one eye on the trail surface during your ride!
Campus & YMCA Connector
The connector starts alongside Cherry Valley Road. (Look for the spur next to the bikeway tunnel just north of the Cherry Valley Road parking lot.) Ride it due east and it will guide you through Newark depositing you at the YMCA, within 1.4 miles of the Panhandle Trail. (Checkout this road route to bridge the gap.) Along the way you have the option of exploring the OSU-Newark Campus Trails as well. Just turn off at the pedestrian bridge that crosses over Rt. 16 to ride toward campus. This trail goes as far north as Goosepond Road.
A free printed map of the Newark Trails system was available upon our last request. Contact Newark city maintenance at: 740-349-6727 or county maintenance at: 740-587-2535 to make a request. You can also view a less detailed online version of the network.
Also, check out the Newark Bikeways summary.
Length: 14.2 miles / asphalt - approx. 9'- 10' wide
Condition: Fair to Very Good (Watch for potholes in the asphalt!)
Facilities: A water fountain at the restored depot in Granville. Gas station/mini-mart across the street. Also, restrooms and water at the park along the campus connector trail just north of the Newark/OSU campus.
Food: John Youger writes, "There are a lot of places to eat in the (Granville) business district on the north side of Broadway. Follow these directions:
Access point 1: At the water treatment plant road, on the western edge of Granville, go up the access road to the 4-way stop. Go left, a few blocks to Broadway, then turn right.
Access point 2: Heading toward Newark you will pass OH 661 (.2mi). You could enter Granville here, but it's very busy. Stay on the trail another 500', just past the businesses and you'll see a spur heading to the left and up a hill. Take the spur and go straight and you'll hit Broadway. Turn left on Broadway."
Parking: In Granville along Main St. Also at both ends of the trail in Newark & Johnstown, but not marked with any signs. W. Main St intersects the trail at its southern terminus in Newark. Another lot is alongside the trail on Cherry Valley Road in Newark. Use caution here as access to parking brings cars onto the trail.
Newark to Johnstown Trail:
Johnstown Alexandria Granville Y-Connector Newark
14.8mi 8.6mi 3.3mi .5mi 0mi