County Line Trail

The North Coast Inland Trail

When completed, the North Coast Inland Trail will extend from Lorain to Toledo, OH, a ~105-mile span. Currently, much of this corridor is well-defined. However, work continues to fill the gaps along the route.

North Coast Inland Trail in Huron County

Early on in the initial planning process for the NCIT project, it was reported that the trail would span the state from east to west, connecting Indiana with Pennsylvania by trail. But in recent years, no further mention has been made of this wider scope, thereby dropping the trail out of the 'cross-state bikeway' category.

So for the moment, that leaves the Ohio-to-Erie Trail and the Great American Trail as the only cross-state trail projects in Ohio. [Scroll past ''Latest Update' to continue reading.]

Latest Update: 3/27/20 - Lorain County Metro Parks After Hours Noice

Lorain County, OH - "While Lorain County Metro Parks is currently closing parks at 6 pm, the park system states that several parks throughout the Lorain County Metro Parks system are not gated. Should you want to get out to a metro park after 6 pm, consider these parks: Amherst Beaver Creek, Lakeview Park (Lorain), Kopf Family Reservation (Avon Lake), French Creek Nature Center (trails behind the building), Charlemont (New London), Kipton (Oberlin) and the North Coast Inland Trail (trailheads from Elyria to Kipton). more

2/21/20 - Low Brush Cut Back in Huron County

Monroeville, OH

2/19/20 - Trailside Clean Up in Norwalk

Norwalk, OH

1/13/20 - Volunteers Clear Space for NCIT Trailhead

Norwalk, OH

1/12/20 - New Bridge Design Includes Bike Path

Elmore, OH - "...The replacement bridge [which is one block away from the bike trail]... will feature 12-foot lanes, 4-foot shoulders, an 11-foot multi-use path on the west edge, and a 6-foot sidewalk on the east." more

12/27/19 - Counties Cooperate to Connect NCIT Trails

Wood County, OH - "The Wood County Park District Board will partner with Ottawa County to connect bike paths from Cleveland to Indiana." more

11/17/19 - Trail Maintenance in Huron County

Huron County

10/3/19 - Huron County Offers Improved Trail Section

Huron County, OH - "Ladies and Gentlemen, we only manufacture one product: TRAIL. And never before has it been this good!" more

9/19/19 - E-Bikes Allowed on Lorain County Parks Trails

Sheffield Village, OH - "...In summary, we are going to be allowing these E-Bikes, class one and class two." more

9/18/19 - Officials Agree to NCIT Campus Connector

Fremont, OH - "The Sandusky County Park District's board approved an agreement with Terra State Community College Wednesday to connect the North Coast Inland Trail to the community college's campus." more

8/20/19 - Trail Surface Regrading

Huron, County - The trail surface has recently been re-graded from end to end, and now we are in the process of rolling it. This 10 ton roller was used between Bellevue and Monroeville on Tuesday, and will make its way to Norwalk and back Wednesday morning. See photos.

5/13/19 - Construction Progress in Huron County

NE OH: Norwalk - "...This winter, Firelands Rails to Trails volunteers began clearing trees and brush east from Townsend Avenue toward Laylin Road [in Norwalk]. Paul Miller Construction was hired to install stone as future trail base at Laylin Road. Edwards Tree Service of Amherst was hired and subsequently made a generous donation to FRTTI to clear trees and to create the path for this new piece of trail..." more

4/24/19 - Trail Connector Construction

NE OH: Norwalk - "City of Norwalk preparing the way for an urban trail that will intersect with the NCIT at Schauss Ave in Norwalk." more...

4/11/19 - New Bike Lanes to Connect with Trail

NE OH: Lorain - "...The bike lanes would run on East 31st from Vine Avenue to Norfolk Avenue at the Black River Trail portion of the North Coast Inland Trail." more...

4/7/19 - More Progress on Norwalk Section

NE OH: Huron County - "Another bit of progress on the Laylin-Townsend section: this stone driveway at Laylin Rd was installed to give contractors better access for upcoming land clearing and trail construction projects, and will later become part of the trail itself." more...

4/5/19 - Trail Clearing Continues in Huron County

NE OH: Norwalk - "Trail clearing continues on the 1.1-mile section of new trail on the east side of Norwalk. more....

12/21/18 - Progress in Huron & Lorain Counties

NE OH: Huron County - "...The [Wakeman] connector from the east end of the bridge to SR 60 and the Wakeman US 20 bikeway will be completed in the coming months. The final section of trail in Lorain County west of Kipton is now paved and open as is the US 20 Bikeway."

For more Huron County NCIT news, check out FRTTI's latest newsletter.

12/17/18 - Trail Clearing in Norwalk

NE OH: Huron County - "Work has officially begun on the future [~1-mile] trail section between Townsend Ave and Laylin Rd, which will be the final link between our eastern trail section and Norwalk..." more

11/9/18 - Trail Paving in Lorain County

NE OH: Lorain County - We received word from Josh Wyrick about this Lorain County Metroparks post: "...North Coast Inland Trail will be closed from Baird Rd. to Green Rd. for paving."

The facebook post was made on Oct. 24. No word yet on whether paving was completed on this 1.3-mile trail section before the cold and snow moved into Ohio today.

11/2/18 - Ottawa County Awarded $217K to Extend Trail

Elmore, OH - "...The ODNR says Ottawa County’s grant will help pay for extending the existing North Coast Inland Trail in Elmore. The new section will start at the bridge over the Portage River and continue almost 4 miles northwest on an abandoned railroad line to Veteran's Memorial Park in Genoa." more...

10/22/18 - Bridge Work in Wakeman

Huron County, OH - "A goal we've had for some time is smoothing out the surface of the Bruce L Chapin Bridge, and today we made significant progress on that. 13 volunteers worked most of the day removing the old joint mortar, clearing out the cracks, and pouring and troweling new mortar..." more

10/15/18 - Huron County Progress

Wakeman, OH - "...Next up: Volunteers want to place a connector trail between the bridge and the paved Wakeman East Bikeway.

A long-term project also just began. Group members started a dialogue with a design group to pave the path’s entire length in Huron County..." more

9/15/18 - Black River Bikeway Project

Elyria, OH - The eastern end of the NCIT rail-trail comes to a halt in Elyria, Ohio. From that point northward, various sections of the Black River Bikeway have been constructed (and are being developed) to route the trail northward thru Elyria and a series of parks, then onto Lorain and the lakeshore, the eventual trail terminus.

This ~5.5-mile or so segment along the Black River will serve as the NCIT's leg to the lake, when completed. Learn more about trail-building progress along this route.

View a map of this area.

9/6/18 - Trail Detour in Monroeville

Monroeville, OH - "The railroad crossing at Peru Center Road is currently CLOSED, (where the trail crosses the tracks in Monroeville). Thru traffic on the NCIT should detour via Peru Center Rd, US 20, SR 547 and SR 99..." more

8/16/18 - Trail Bridge Grand Opening

Wakeman, OH - "...This Saturday, August 18 is the grand opening of the fine old double arch structure which has been officially named the Bruce L. Chapin Bridge. A good crowd is anticipated at the 10 a.m. event which will also celebrate the new U.S. 20 NCIT Bikeway east from Wakeman." more...

8/13/18 - $2.1M to Expand Trail in Ottawa County

Ottawa County, OH - "The county was awarded funds by ODOT in the amount of about $2.1 million to extend a section of the North Coast Inland Trail...

"...The ODOT funding will continue the trail from Elmore to Genoa. This is a 95 percent grant and the additional funding will be shared between the county, the village of Elmore and the village of Genoa. Completion of the project is tentatively slated for late 2019 or early 2020..." more

4/5/18 - Huron County Updates

From, "As you may have noticed on the east end of the county, the US20 Bikeway east of Wakeman is now complete. That leaves just the piece between SR 60 and our Bruce L. Chapin Bridge to finally link Kipton and Wakeman. This piece will be completed this spring.

"On the west end of the county, the City of Bellevue and ODOT have completed the paved route through town thus finally linking Monroeville, Bellevue, Clyde and points west."

"...The Buckeye Trail Association will soon be applying their blue blazes to the NCIT route once the Chapin Bridge connector [in Wakeman] is complete."

"...Another massive project which has been in the planning stages for years is the Norwalk Double Arch bridge head- wall repair, which went out for bid this winter..."

[Also worth noting, grants are now being sought to begin paving trails sections in Huron County!] more...

11/20/17 - Lorain County Closes Deal on Trail Connections

From, "...The Board of Park Commissioners accepted the best and lowest bid of the contracting company that will construct the new bikeway extension along the Black River Bikeway Trail on state Route 611 and continue it throughout Lorain’s Steel Mill Trail...."

...Once the future northern section is installed to Lake Erie, the Black River Trail will be continuous from Lake Erie in Lorain, through Elyria, then connect with the Metro Parks’ North Coast Inland Trail..." more

OB: When the connection with the NCIT is made, the Black River Trail will become a part of the North Coast Inland Trail.

11/3/17 - New Wakeman Section Almost Complete

From, "...This new, federally-funded, 10-foot wide paved trail will connect Wakeman to Kipton..." more

For more on this new section, see Josh Wyrick's 4/5/17 post.

9/15/17 - Trail Construction in Bellevue by Josh Wyrick

An ODOT project is now underway to extend the Sandusky County portion of the North Coast Inland Trail by 2.5 miles in Bellevue. The new trail is being constructed within the right of ways of CR 177 and US 20, extending from the trail's current end point at CR 177 on the west edge of Bellevue to the intersection of US 20 and SR 18 downtown.

This will be a 10 foot wide paved path, with 1.8 miles of it being asphalt and the remaining 0.7 miles being concrete. A signed street route will direct through NCIT traffic from downtown Bellevue to the Huron County portion of the NCIT on the east side of town.

This project has been in the works for several years now, and was made possible by grants the City of Bellevue received from both the State and Federal levels.

5/12/17 - Ottawa County, Elmore & Genoa Cooperating

From, "Ottawa County, Elmore and Genoa each entered into agreement Thursday as they continue to move forward on efforts to extend bike paths between the two villages, connecting the North Coast Inland Trail from Lucas to Sandusky County.

"The agreement, signed by officials from both villages and president of the Ottawa County commissioners Mark Stahl, lays out the construction and maintenance responsibilities of each jurisdiction."

[A grant application has been submitted for the bike path extension project. If approved, the funds will be available in 2019.]

4/5/17 - Trail Construction in Wakeman by Joshua Wyrick

Huron County, OH - An ODOT project is currently underway that will connect Wakeman and Kipton with a new section of the North Coast Inland Trail.

The new paved bikeway will be built within US 20 right of way from the Lorain County line to the edge of Wakeman, where it will enter Red Cap Park and end at State Route 60.

Further details about this project and other trail developments can be found in the latest Firelands Rails to Trails newsletter. (See detailed maps of the Huron County NCIT.)

3/3/17 - Sandusky County Expansion Plans

From the, "...At a recent board meeting, Sandusky County Commissioners lent their support of the project that would expand the bike path to several county destinations including the Rutherford B. Hayes Library and Museums, Terra State Community College, Christy Farm Nature Preserve and White Star Park in Gibsonburg."

1/14/17 - Trail Proposed Between Genoa & Elmore

From, "Officials from several area villages and organizations are looking to add a missing piece [to the NCIT], connecting Genoa to Elmore, to a bike trail that is already nearly 100 miles long.

"...The time between applying for the grant and receiving the funds is a 'long-term process,' Amos said, so if they applied this year and were awarded the grant, funds would not arrive until 2019."

Lorain County

A modest 2.8-mile rail-trail, formerly known only as the Oberlin Bike Path, was the starting point for NCIT development in Lorain County. The trail was expanded westward and has been completed to the Huron County line, just west of Kipton, OH. The final 1.3-mile section connecting with Huron County was paved in late 2018.

Heading northeast from Oberlin, finished trail reaches the westside of Elyria. At this point, the rail-trail ends for good, as the next objective is to close a 3-mile gap over to completed trail in the Black River Reservation to the north.

Once on the park trail system, it's a paved ride north to Colorado Avenue, with a final 3-mile gap to Spitzer Marina at Lake Erie in Lorain, the planned eastern terminus for the NCIT.

Oberlin Depot
Depot in Oberlin, OH

The rail-trail portion of the bikeway cuts a straight line as it passes farm fields and wooded areas.

Near Main Street in Oberlin, the trail now passes directly alongside the old train depot building. This is a good spot for a food stop as restaurants are right along Main Street.

Heading west, the trail moves alongside a golf course and passes a spur for the Oberlin Recreation Complex.

At Pyle-South Amherst Road there's a break in the trail that's remedied by a short roadside ride along a marked bike lane before dedicated trail resumes.

After crossing Rt. 511 in Kipton you'll come upon Community Park. This convenient green space is sandwiched between the bikeway and a nearby parallel road and provides ample parking, water, a portable toilet and picnic tables.

Paved trail continues another 2-miles west to County Line Road, which marks the Huron County line.

County Line Rd
Large Stones @ Road Crossings or Alongside Trails are Hazards for Trail Users

Where the trail ends at County Line Road, a green 'Bike Route' sign encourages trail users to turn left and ride .3-miles south to where off-road trail picks up again along Rt. 20 in Huron County.

We should also mention that a Lorain County bike route, Back Roads & Beaches, uses a portion of the trail along its route. You'll see the signs west of the Oberlin trail section.

Signage on the trail is excellent. Not only were the crossroads and the rec center spur marked, but additional signage included maps and safety tips delivered in clever and inexpensive ways.

Mile Marker
Dual-Purpose Mile Marker

Mile markers are placed every 1/2 mile and show the distance to each endpoint of the trail in both directions! A creative use of the old mile marker method.

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Lorain County, OH

Class: C3, A3++

Length: 21.5 miles / asphalt (not including spurs)

Condition: Varies from Fair to Very Good

Facilities: In Oberlin, facilities available at trailside fast food restaurant.

Parking: See trail map for options.

Worth Noting: Road riding the gap between trails in not recommended in Elyria (not bike-friendly). No word yet on the road route into Lorain on Colorado Avenue.

Map: North Coast Inland Trail (all counties) or Sm Screen Version

Lorain Co. Elevation: North to Southwest

Completion Progress: Lorain County has two ~3-mile gaps to close before the NCIT is completed within the county.

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

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Huron County

The Huron County portion of the North Coast Inland Trail continues to grow, with a 10.3-mile completed segment now stretching from the eastside of Bellevue to Norwalk.

Another completed segment spans 5.2-miles, passing through Collins, OH. At this time, both segments have a stone or crushed stone surface.

The first asphalt segment -- 3 miles -- has been completed from Wakeman east to Lorain County. Much of this section runs parallel to Rt. 20 and connects with 15-miles of continuous paved NCIT in Lorain County.

Wakeman Bridge
Paved Trail alongside Rt. 20 near Wakeman, OH

A .3-mile ride north along County Line Road (follow the 'Bike Route' signs) is necessary to transition between completed trail sections and into Lorain County.

Back in Wakeman, near the Bruce Chapin Bridge, the trail ends just short of the river crossing. But don't worry, you can ride or walk your bike the short distance (a stone's throw) to the bridge where the trail ends after crossing the Vermillion River.

A December 2018 post in the FRTTI newsletter suggests this short gap will be closed in the coming months.

Wakeman Bridge
Vermillion River Bridge in Wakeman, OH    Photo by Josh Wyrick

That leaves 3 gaps in the trail, totalling ~9 miles. Not all of these remaining miles will be trail, however. Where the original rail corridor is no longer intact in the cities of Norwalk and Bellevue, road routes or bike lanes have made the final connections.

In Bellevue, the gap is ~5 miles. In Norwalk, the distance is 3.4 miles. No word on how bike-friendly the connecting road routes may be. Ride at your own risk.

The following review covers the 3.3-mile section between Monroeville and Norwalk.

Heading east from Peru Center Road in Monroeville, the rail-trail parallels an active rail line that moves alongside. There's a small gully and/or brush line that separates the two much of the way.

All sections are smooth and well graded. While some appear newer, with only a smattering of vegetation growth through the middle of the aggregate.

As with other sections of the NCIT, flat and straight is the general rule between Monroeville and Norwalk, though there is a noticeable dip just before the old rail yard on the outskirts of Norwalk.

Railway Bridge
Rail line alongside NCIT

But flat and straight doesn't mean mundane. The scenery changes frequently along the way from an open field with an unobstructed view, to partial or full tree and brush cover. Some tall trees lend character to the ride here.

The bikeway makes good use of its abandoned rail corridor by utilizing existing over-street bridges, including a scenic crossing over a small gorge at the east branch of the Huron River.

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Huron County, OH

Class: C3

Length: 15.7 miles / stone or crushed stone (+ 3 miles asphalt)

Condition: Good

Facilities: N/A

Parking: Monroeville, OH lot. (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: To bridge the gap between trail sections in Bellevue, a ~6-mile road ride is required.

Map: or North Coast Inland Trail (all counties) or Sm Screen Version

Huron Co. Elevation: Mostly flat

Completion Progress: Huron County has 2 gaps to close along the NCIT. The Wakeman to Collins section and the Collins to Norwalk segment.

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

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Sandusky County

The NCIT in Sandusky County offers 21.6 miles of completed, paved trail. 2 gaps remain along the route. One at Fremont and the other at Bellevue.

The 3.4-mile gap through Fremont is a marked bike route along city streets. Beware, the stretch along Rt. 20 (W. State St.) has been an issue for some cyclists, as it's a major business route through the heart of the city.

The trail also has a ~6-mile gap in Bellevue. Update: 9/15/17 Josh Wyrick reports that trail construction is currently underway to extend the Sandusky portion of the trail 2.5 miles into Bellevue, closing a nice chunk of this gap. When construction is completed, a ~3.5 mile gap will remain between completed trail sections.

Trail Sign
NCIT in Sandusky County, OH

This review covers the Sandusky County Segment from Fremont to Clyde. This bikeway was constructed in 1997. The path utilizes an abandoned rail corridor that parallels active rail lines that lay 30-40 yards to the north. A natural barrier of vegetation often separate the two.

Utility poles share the corridor along one side, and 'Adopt-a-Trail' signs can be found all along the route.

Like its eastern counterpart, the Lorain County section, this bikeway travels in a straight line. There are some curves to break the monotony as you approach the city of Clyde. The scenery along the trail also changes a bit from thick vegetation and trees, to more sparsely bordered sections that reveal crop fields and an occasional orchard.

The final section of trail into Fremont from the southeast is elevated and required 2 bridge restorations within a short distance. No expense was spared on construction as the bridge decks feature solid concrete with curbs and fencing. The Sandusky River Bridge also offers a downtown connector on the west bank.

Sandusky River
Sandusky River Bridge in Fremont, OH

The former rail bed rises along a ridge where it crosses the river and moves into town. The trail comes to an end at Hayes Street near Park Avenue.

From here a 3.4-mile signed road route guides cyclists through Fremont over to the Walter Avenue trailhead where the trail picks up again. Keep in mind that this road route includes a busy stretch along W. State Street, a Rt. 20 business route. As always on the road, ride at your own risk!

Continuing northwest on the trail from Fremont's westside, the bikeway travels another 11.8 miles through Lindsey, then over to Elmore in Ottawa County.

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Sandusky County

Class: A3++

Length: 21.6 miles / asphalt

Condition: N/A

Facilities: In towns along the route.

Parking: Walsh Park in Fremont, OH. (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: The road route through Fremont includes a section on W. State Street, the Rt. 20 business route through the city. Needless to say, this a concern for bicyclists seeking bike-friendly connecting routes. The road connector in Bellevue is ~6-miles long. As always, road riding is at your own risk.

Map: North Coast Inland Trail (all counties) or Sm Screen Version

Sandusky Co. Elevation: East to west

Completion Progress: The NCIT is complete in Sandusky County, though there are road routes to navigate between trail sections in Fremont and Sandusky.

More Trails in this Region: NW OH Trails List

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Ottawa County

In August 2018, it was reported that a $21.M grant was awarded to extend the trail from Elmore to Genoa, a distance of about 3 miles. Completion of this segment is slated for late 2019 or early 2020.

In 2008, trail construction between Fremont and Elmore extended the NCIT into Ottawa County, with roughly 3-miles of the bikeway now residing there.

You might wonder, where does the trail go from here? Good question. Years ago, when the proposed route of the NCIT was first made public, it was suggested that the route would include the Cannonball Trail in Lucas County and a route to the Indiana state line. Also, Pennsylvania was said to be the objective for the eastern span of the trail.

Fast forward to 2017, and the overall scope of the trail has shortened considerably. It now appears that the eastern terminus will be at Lake Erie, in Lorain, OH. And the western end is supposed to be in Lucas County, most likely near Toledo, OH. Altogether, the current projected route is roughly 105-miles long.

The next objective heading northwest is Genoa in Ottawa County, as the trail continues to inch closer to Toledo.

Lindsey, OH
Trailside Park in Lindsey, OH  Photo by Robert Soper

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Ottawa County

Class: C3, A3++

Length: 1.9 miles / asphalt; +1 mile gravel

Condition: N/A

Facilities: Trailside at Walter Ory Park in Elmore.

Parking: Walter Ory Park in Elmore.

Worth Noting: Where the bikeway ends, just beyond Elmore in Ottawa County, is the current western terminus for the NCIT.

Map: North Coast Inland Trail (all counties) or Sm Screen Version

Ottawa Co. Elevation: The 3-mile completed segment is mostly flat.

Completion Progress: Only 2.9 miles complete at this time. The next destination along the route in Ottawa County is Genoa. This segment is still in the planning stage.

More Trails in this Region: NW OH Trails List

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