Towpath Trail

Alum Creek Greenway Trail


When the last section of bikeway was completed in late 2015, the official route of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail was moved over to the Alum Creek from the Olentangy Trail. This is worth noting, as the parallel Olentangy route could provide an alternate OTE route, in the event of a trail closing along the Alum Creek. [Scroll past 'Trail Facts' to continue reading.]

Underpass
Creekside Underpass

Latest Update:10/14/17 by OB - Boardwalk Getting No-Slip Surface

From dispatch.com, "A nasty spill involving seven bicyclists this past July has prompted the city to clean a long wooden boardwalk on the Alum Creek Trail and place non-skid material on it.

"That should resolve a problem that had been plaguing riders for a while: A slippery route through dense woods near Easton, treacherous for unsuspecting bicyclists."


Trail Closing at Innis Park - 10/14/17 by OB

From centralohiogreenways.com, "Alum Creek Trail will be closed daily at the Innis Park Boardwalk between the hours of 8am and 5pm beginning October 10th. Expected duration of [closing is] 4 days.

Trail will be barricaded. Please do not enter the work area.

Trail Flooding - 7/10/17 by OB

From Franklin MetroParks, "Be advised: Alum Creek Trail is flooded under I-70, 104 and Oxbow Loop."

Alum Creek Connector Closes - 6/21/17 by OB

From Franklin MetroParks, "Alum Creek Connector Trail @ Emrick Dr. / I-270 on north-side closed for the next 12 months for construction by Kokosing."

Trail Section Closing for Repairs - 1/30/17 by OB

From columbus.gov, "A central segment of the Alum Creek Trail will be temporarily closed from February 1st through February 17th for repairs.

"The repairs will occur near trail mile 14, near Agler Road bridge. Signs will be posted at Innis Park and Ballyvaughn Avenue. Please use caution near the work zone and do not cross the barricades into the work area."

High Water Alert - 1/17/17 by OB

From Franklin County MetroParks, "High water in areas between Cooper Park and I-270. Please use caution."

Grant to Fund Connector Trail - 12/21/16 by OB

From dispatch.com, "...On the Northeast Side, a connecting trail will be built on an old railroad right-of-way from the Alum Creek Trail and Hayden Park west to Brentnell Avenue. The state grant is $248,000; the total cost will be $401,000..."

Short-Term Section Closure - 11/15/16 by OB

From columbus.gov, "Alum Creek Trail Closed (Between Mt. Hood Ct. and Strawberry Farms Park). Trail closure for boardwalk improvements starting Thursday Nov. 17th at 9am and will re-open Friday Nov. 18th by 5pm."

Pavement Striping Work - 10/18/16 by OB

From columbus.gov, "During the week of October 17th-21st there will be pavement marking installations taking place along the Olentangy, Scioto, and Alum Creek Greenway trails. The trails will remain open and warning signage will be placed in the work areas."

Bridge Reopens - 8/7/16 by OB

Franklin County Metroparks has posted that the Academy Park Bridge has reopened along the Alum Creek Trail.

Surface Paving Section Closure - 7/8/16 by OB

From columbus.gov, "Construction will begin Monday July 11th 2016 to resurface and improve the section of trail through Hayden Park between 5th Ave and Airport Dr.

Bridge to Reopen Soon - 3/18/16 by OB

From www.columbus.gov, "A large tree has fallen and taken out a section of timber boardwalk on the north side of Innis Park. Repairs of the section will begin immediately, and the section is expected to be re-opened for trail use by March 21. Please obey the barricades."

Bridge Out Near Innis Park - 3/15/16 by Ohio Bikeways

From facebook.com/ColumbusRecParks, "Attention: Section of the Alum Creek Trail is closed. A tree has fallen and splintered the bridge near Innis Park."

Sewer Repair Work - 1/7/16 by OB

From columbus.gov, "From January 6 - January 20, 2016, Trail users should use extra caution [between Main St. & Livingston Ave.] due to sewer repair work occurring adjacent to the trail. Crews will be accessing manholes and using equipment near the path."

Flooded Underpass @ 3 Creeks Park - 12/24/15 by OB

Franklin Metroparks reports that the Rt. 104 underpass is flooded along the trail. The 104 is at the northern tip of 3 Creeks Metro Park.

Repairs Near 3 Creeks - 11/19/15 by OB

From metroparks.net, "Small section of Alum Creek Trail near Three Creeks Confluence Trails Area closed Nov 19 and 20 for asphalt repair. Use caution to get around obstruction."

Trail Opens Today - 10/2/15 by OB

From dispatch.com, "The last link of the Alum Creek Greenways Trail opened today, completing a 22-mile trail connecting Westerville and Easton to Three Creeks Park near Groveport."

Trail Grand Opening October 1! - 9/15/15 by OB

"Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Director Tony Collins invite you to the Grand Opening of the Alum Creek Trail. Thursday, October 1..."

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Franklin County, OH

Class: A1++

Length: 23.9 miles / asphalt & concrete

Condition: Very good

Facilities: At the parks along the trail route.

Parking: Wolfe Park - E. Broad Street (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: An 11-mile section of the trail is utilized by the cross-state Ohio-to-Erie Trail as it makes its way through Columbus.

Map: Alum Creek Trail

Elevation: Mostly flat

More Trails in this Region: SW OH Trails List

As with many trails that move through urban landscapes, there's a lot to see along this bikeway. The trail skirts alongside housing developments, roadways, businesses, a golf course, recreational facilities and parks. It bobs and weaves along the Alum Creek, moving under bridges and across the creek numerous times. As with the Olentangy Trail, connecting parks along its route is a major objective, linking the trail with water and restroom locations.

The trail also pays homage to a great bike racer, Major Taylor, who receives trailside honors. Bikeway visionary Ed Honton is also remembered with a plaque and bridge dedicated in his honor. Ed founded the Ohio-to-Erie Trail project in 1991.

If you are a fan of bridge design and architecture, you'll see an interesting variety of examples along the bikeway.

The trail does a wonderful job of avoiding many busy road crossings by using bridge underpasses along the creek. This adds continuity to your ride and keeps you moving along. The only downside is that a number of these underpasses are prone to flooding and can be impassible during high water.

With some bikeways, such as the Ohio & Erie Towpath, trail closures due to flooding are not unusual. The heavy layer of dried mud we encountered along several Alum Creek underpasses demonstrates that it too suffers from flooding. For recreational riders this is a minor inconvenience. For commuters or those using the corridor for travel, it may require some alternate route planning.

Bow Bridge
Bow Truss Bridge

Trail signage keeps you up to speed on the park names and distances as you travel. The occasional 'You are Here' plotted on a large trail map sign shows you the big picture and gives you proper perspective. Some signage is also located where connecting spurs join the main trail and gives distances and directions to nearby destinations. This is all very helpful.

In the past, however, signage to help visitors stay on the main trail was inadequate. Hopefully that issue has been addressed. Riding off course is not a favorite pastime for most trail riders. Unless they do so intentionally.

(See this blog entry for more on poorly signed trails.)

As the trail was constructed, it was tied in with existing older segments at various points. As a result, you'll travel on surfaces that run the gamut from excellent to fair. But overall the surface condition is quite good.

On the Sunday that we visited the trail, the parks along the route were filled with people enjoying soccer and basketball games. The Easton complex is nice, only to be outdone by its Westerville counterpart further north where a grid of bikeways covers the city.

For those who have not seen such a concentration of trails in one area, it makes quite an impression. It's obvious that ped and bike travel is a valued priority within the local community.

creek crossing
Alum Creek Crossing

The Alum Creek Greenway Trail roughly parallels the Olentangy Trail which runs alongside the Olentangy River to the west.

The two trails share similarities as both use waterway greenbelts that connect with parks along their routes. Both connect with bikeways to the south as well. The Olentangy to the Scioto Trail and the Alum Creek to the Blacklick Trail.

At Cooper Park we noticed a signed bike route that connects the two trails. Look for more bikeway connections in Columbus in the near future.

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