Heart of Ohio Trail

At a Glance

Location: Mt. Liberty, OH in Knox County

Length: 15.6 miles / asphalt (~16.5 miles when complete)

Class: A1+

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Known as the geographic center of the state, the aptly named Heart of Ohio Trail extends from the southwest corner of Knox County near Centerburg, to Mt. Vernon, OH. [Scroll past 'Specs & Facts' to continue reading.]

Mt. Vernon Depot
Depot in Mt. Vernon, OH near Rt. 13

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Knox County, OH

Class: A1+

Length: 15.6 miles / asphalt (~16.5 miles when complete)

Condition: Very good

Facilities: Restroom at Ariel-Foundation Park in Mt. Vernon. Porto-johns in Memorial Park in Centerburg. Water spigot just east of the band shell. Trailside shelter in Mt. Liberty.

Parking: Centerburg lot at Memorial Park. (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: This bikeway is part of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail.

Map: Heart of Ohio Trail or Sm Screen Version

Elevation: West to east

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

The Heart Of Ohio Trail opened in 2009 in an unpaved, natural state. Enough paving was completed in 2013 to add a smooth ribbon of asphalt to connect Centerburg with Mt. Liberty, Bangs and Mt. Vernon's westside.

The newest segment, a 2.2-mile trail section, opened in December 2016. It connects the new trail overpass at U.S. 36/Ohio Rt. 3 with finished trail to the northeast and into Centerburg. This leaves only a ~1.3-mile unfinished segment southwest of the bridge and into Licking County to connect with the next segment of completed trail along the cross-state Ohio-to-Erie Trail route.

Bench along the Trail

Heading NE out of Centerburg and crossing Rt. 3, the paved trail slices through a crop field and adjoining property before it heads back into the cover of trees and brush.

Much of the trail corridor is a lush, green ribbon, with occasional creekside views.

The rebuilt bridge structures over the creeks along the route are first rate. They are made of concrete, which should far outlast their wooden-decked counterparts that become rough, uneven and even dangerous when not maintained properly.

The paving contractor, Kokosing Construction, did a fine job. The total trail build here is impressive and top notch.

Where the trail passes through Mt. Liberty, there's a small gravel parking lot with a trailside shelter. The structure, along with a bike rack and picnic table are nearby, courtesy of a local scout troop.

Just outside of Mt. Vernon the trail moves alongside a drag strip where the trail appears to have been moved over slightly to accommodate the raceway.

Ariel Foundation Park
View from Trailside Observation Tower @ Ariel Park

The trail moves into Mt. Vernon passing alongside Ariel Foundation Park. This park has become a community focal point and a unique trailside stop.

The bikeway makes its junction with a Mt. Vernon downtown connector and the Kokosing Gap Trail after crossing Main Street (Rt. 13).

The next phase will involve construction of a viaduct underpass along the Kokosing River here to avoid this multiple lane road crossing. But until that happens, a user-activated crossing signal helps trail users cross the busy street safely.

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