Towpath Trail

Olentangy Trail

What started as Ohio's first rail-trail in 1967, has developed into an ever-growing number of Columbus, Ohio bikeways today. [Scroll past 'Specs & Facts' to continue reading.]

Antrim Lake
Antrim Lake - Columbus, OH

Latest Update: 7/14/17 by OB - Section Closing Aug. 1

From ODOT, "...The Olentangy Trail will be closed between Worthington Hills and Olentangy River Parklands at Wilson Bridge Road.

"Duration: 3 months, weather permitting.

There is a detour for experienced road riders. more...

Trail Section Closed - 6/22/17 by OB

From Franklin MetroParks, "Utility work has closed the trail between King Avenue and John Herrick Drive. Estimated timeline of 3-4 weeks.

"Canon Drive is an alternate route. (See detour map.)"

Attempted Abduction by Whetstone High School - 3/1/17 by OB

From, "...A female student and member of the softball team told police she was jogging before practice along the trail when a man pulled her into some bushes. She said she fought him off and was able to get away.

"Police described the suspect a white male, wearing black sweatpants and a T-shirt..."

Grant for Olentangy Trail Connector - 12/21/16 by OB

From, "...The 276-foot-long bridge across the Olentangy River Downtown will connect the Olentangy Trail with Nationwide Boulevard. The state awarded $485,000 for that project, said Brooke Betit, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The total cost will be $1.9 million."

Olentangy Trail Section Closing Again in August - 12/8/16 by OB

From, "The Ohio Department of Transportation is ready to reopen a Worthington-area portion of the Olentangy Trail, but only temporarily.

"Due to North Side Mega Fix-related work, ODOT had closed a piece of the trail between the north and south sides of Interstate 270 in August of 2015...

"...Next August, the same section of the trail will be closed for about two months. During that time, ODOT is expected to finish construction of the bridges."

Olentangy Trail Section Opens Dec. 8 - 12/1/16 by OB

The section of the Olentangy Trail under I-270 that's been closed since August 2015 is expected to open Thursday, December 8, weather permitting.

Even though the trail will be open, it will not be complete. There will be overnight closures and daytime flagging as crews complete work on or above the trail. There will also be orange construction fence and temporary safety railing.

Olentangy Trail Construction Alert Dec. 12 - Jan. 6 - 12/1/16 by OB

From, "Olentangy Trail -- 3rd Avenue to Lane Avenue -- Beginning December 12th through January 6th there will be soil boring equipment accessing several locations along the berm of the trail. Warning signs will be posted. The path will remain open. Use extra caution in this section of the trail during this period.""

Pavement Striping Work - 10/18/16 by OB

From, "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."

Plans to Extend Olentangy North - 3/22/16 by OB

From, "...Columbus Recreation and Parks is developing the Worthington Hills project, which would extend the Olentangy Trail to Clubview Boulevard at the entrance to Worthington Hills and perhaps to Highview Drive to the north. The extension would include a place where the trail would cross Rt. 315 and create a defined multi-use trail in the area, according to city officials."

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Franklin County, OH

Class: A1++

Length: 13 miles / asphalt (includes .7 mi road section)

Condition: Very good

Facilities: In the parks along the trail.

Parking: Antrim Park (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: The Olentangy Trail can be used as an alternate route, in the event of a trail closing along the Ohio-to-Erie Trail portion of the Alum Creek Trail.

Map: Olentangy Trail

Elevation: Mostly flat

More Trails in this Region: SW OH Trails List

The Olentangy and Alum Creek Trails are the 2 major north-south bikeways in Columbus. Both follow waterways and both play(ed) a role in the cross-state route of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail.

The Olentangy served as the interim route of the OTE until the completion of the Alum Creek Bikeway in late 2015, when the route was moved over to Alum Creek.

The Ohio-to-Erie Trail uses existing trails to connect Cincinnati with Cleveland, by way of Columbus, OH.

Highlights along the Olentangy Trail include OSU Stadium and several parks.

Though much of the trail has been updated and is in very good condition, some sharp corners and congested areas make speeding along the trail risky business. The surface varies from asphalt to concrete which includes some sidewalks.

Sharp Trail Curve

My first trail ride through a dense urban area -- years ago -- was on the Olentangy and Lower Scioto Trails. It's one of those memories that's etched firmly in my mind. Despite carrying a small map with detailed directions, it took almost 2.5 hours to ride 18 miles of trail.

A myriad of connecting spurs, short road rides between completed sections, and trail gymnastics (twisting, turning, backtracking), along with virtually nonexistent signage, made for quite an adventure.

Today, well-travelled trails like the Olentangy are better connected and typically have wayfinding signs to help keep riders on route. But that doesn't mean you won't get lost. It's a meticulous task to accurately sign or mark every spur. So, though the trail should be easier to navigate today, you should still carry a map or trail app. Do your prep work before you trail ride here, or recruit a local rider to show you around!

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