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.]
3/20/20 - Columbus Area Trail Flooding
3/9/20 - Connector from Olentangy Trail Now Open
Columbus, OH - "A pair of major upgrades to the Olentangy Trail have been completed, including a connector that enables direct access to and from Bethel Road for the first time."
2/21/20 - Downtown Park, Pedestrian Bridge Plan
Columbus, OH - "...Building a bike and pedestrian bridge to connect the western terminus of Nationwide Boulevard to the Olentangy Trail across the river is an idea that was first floated in 2015..."
2/12/20 - Fire Closes Section of Olentangy Trail
Columbus, OH - From MetroParks, "Please avoid the Olentangy Trail between King Avenue and 3rd Avenue as firefighters fight a fire at Battelle Institute. Please use alternate route until the area is cleared."
11/19/19 - Trail Extension Progress
Columbus, OH - "...NO plans yet to continue Olentangy Trail thru Mt. Air due to their local opposition..."
11/1/19 - Trail Extension Nears Completion, Draws Concerns
Columbus, OH - "As work is almost finished on a complex tunnel under a Route 315 exit/entrance ramp that will allow users of the Olentangy Trail on the North Side to cross the Bethel Road bridge, there are concerns about safety."
9/30/19 - Trail Work Continues
Columbus, OH - Work continues on the trail tunnel under the ramp from Bethel Road to 315.
The widening of the Olentangy Trail at Antrim Lake has been completed. Still in-the-works is bike lane access to the trail from Bethel Road.
9/13/19 - Trail Ramp Improved
8/30/19 - Weakpoints in Central Ohio Wayfinding Signage
Columbus, OH - There's a lively discussion going on over at the Central Ohio Greenways page regarding a
trail user survey. A poll there asks whether you 1) frequently get lost along Central Ohio Greenways, or 2) never get lost ('3 - seldom get lost' would have been a worthwhile option as well).
Unfortunately, ineffective signage has long been the norm for many Ohio bike trails, particularly in urban areas. This
older blog post illustrates how urban wayfinding signs can often be less than helpful.
8/16/19 - Trail Section Closure Aug. 19
Columbus, OH - Beginning Monday, August 19, and continuing through the end of September, the Olentangy Bike Trai will undergo construction of a new section, enhancing the green space along the river as part of the Cannon Drive relocation project.
As part of this work, the trail between 5th Avenue and the SR-315 off-ramp will be closed for approximately one week but then will reopen. The section between the SR-315 off-ramp and Herrick Drive will remain closed for the duration of the project. Detour signage will direct cyclists to the shared-use path located just west of Cannon Drive.
7/2219 - Olentangy Construction Detour Begins
Columbus, OH - "Trail alert! TODAY, the construction on the Olentangy trail section from the Broadmeadows Bridge to Bethel Road begins. This section of the trail is CLOSED and will reopen on August 12th!.."
7/1819 - Trail Traffic on the Olentangy Trail
Columbus, OH - "Metro Parks officials want bicyclists, joggers and pedestrians to understand that they must share the Olentangy Trail, which is the busiest multipurpose trail in Ohio..."
7/15/19 - Trail Section Reopens
Columbus, OH - "Olentangy Trail 3rd-5th Ave (south of OSU campus) is back open for travel, looks like no more detour."
7/5/19 - Trail Upgrades Coming to Antrim Lake
Columbus, OH - The bikeway will be closing
July 22 for a widening project that will extend the trail width from 9 to 12 feet in the Antrim Lake area. This closing is expected to last 3 weeks and a signed detour will be provided.
Construction of a new connector trail under Rt. 315 at Bethel Road is also in the works, with expected completion by November 2019.
7/3/19 - Opening of Dam Causes Olentangy Trail Flooding
Columbus, OH - "Bike paths and trails along the Olentangy River are flooded after a dam north of here was open to alleviate flooding."
6/27/19 - Section Closures for July 4, Flooding
Columbus, OH - "Holiday celebrations will close the trail near Whetstone Park -- from end of July 3rd until July 5th.
some sections of the Olentangy Trail in and around Worthington are closed due to high water.
5/14/19 - Section Closure Delayed
Columbus, OH - "...[a] stretch of the Olentangy Trail should be closed now, but the City of Columbus said weather delayed the start of the project..."
5/8/19 - Trail Gap Project gets Funding
Columbus, OH - "...Brian Hoyt, Communications & Marketing Manager for the city’s Recreation and Parks department, confirmed that the [gap] project has been approved to receive federal grant money that will cover as much as 80 percent of its cost.
"He said that design work on the project won’t start until this fall, with opportunities for public input in early 2020. Construction is currently scheduled to start in 2021."
5/7/19 - Trail Section Closure Coming May 15
Columbus, OH - "...The Olentangy Trail will be closed at the Battelle campus area for two months [May 15 - July 15] due to construction of Founders Park development. A detour will be posted for trail users. ..."
5/6/19 - Trail Connector & Widening Project
Columbus, OH - "...A shared-use path along Bethel Road would link Anheuser Busch Park on Olentangy River Road to a new ramp and tunnel that connects to the trail. More than a mile of the trail, from Bethel Road to Antrim Park, will be widened from 9 feet to 12 feet."
3/15/19 - Trail Extensions May Never Meet Up
Columbus, OH - "Metro Parks plans to begin work this year on a mile-long section of the Olentangy Trail in Delaware County.
"The Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks plans to extend the trail in Franklin County this year along the Olentangy River to Clubview Boulevard South. But there are no current plans to connect the two, which might include a controversial route through the hamlet of Mount Air."
2/12/19 - Trail Section Closure Feb. 18
Columbus, OH - "Beginning Monday, February 18th users on the Olentangy Trail will experience mid-day trail closures between Henderson Rd. and the Broadmeadows Park Bridge (south of Antrim Park). The trail closures will be daily between 10:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m..."
2/12/19 - Flooding Alert
Columbus, OH - From MetroParks, "Please be aware of flooding on the trails. Take care and do not ride through standing water if you do not know the depth. Stay safe."
1/3/19 - Construction on OSU Campus
Columbus, OH - From centralohiogreenways.com, "There will be construction occurring along the Olentangy Trail in the OSU section between Herrick Drive and King Avenue from January 7th thru January 31.
"The trail will not be closed. A temporary bypass path will be provided around the work site."
11/1/18 - Flooding on Columbus Trails
Columbus, OH - "Flooding on the
Alum Creek Trail, Blacklick Trail, and Olentangy Trail. Please use caution." more...
10/4/18 - Semi Truck Stuck on Trail
Columbus, OH - "Bicycle path north of Spring St. parallel to 315 is closed due to a stuck semi that struck two overhead bridges."
Also, a trail-realignment will be taking place Oct. 5 on the Olentangy Trail at the Henderson Rd ramp.
9/23/18 - More on Proposed Connector
Columbus, OH - "A proposed final segment taking the Olentangy Trail off city streets would cross the river twice and edge the OhioHealth Corp. administrative campus."
9/19/18 - Trailhead Closed
Columbus, OH - From centralohiogreenways.com, "...A majority of the [Worthington Hills] shopping center including the trailhead parking area has been fenced off for construction.
"Parking and trailhead access has been temporarily located behind the Hills Market..."
9/2/18 - Flooding on Columbus-Area Trails
Columbus, OH - From Columbus MetroParks, "Please use caution. Flooding and storm debris along sections of trails. Crews conducting clean up."
8/27/18 - Proposal to Close Trail Gap
Columbus, OH - "...Northbound users would cross the first new bridge at Como Park, which would deposit them onto a new section of trail running past Kohl’s and along the eastern edge of the new OhioHealth office complex. They would then cross North Broadway at grade and continue along the river to the second new bridge, which would connect them back up with the existing Olentangy Trail at Northmoor Park."
7/26/18 - Suspect Arrested for Alleged Attacks
Columbus, OH - "...The suspect, 32-year-old Christopher Bosewell, was arrested on W. 5th Ave and charged with 2 counts of felonious assault. Police say no injuries were reported..."
7/25/18 - Search for Flasher
Columbus, OH - "Columbus police are looking for a man accused of exposing himself to a jogger on the Olentangy Trail. According to the police report, the incident happened on Saturday morning."
7/20/18 - Man Brandishes Knife on Trail
Columbus, OH - "On the Olentangy Trail near King Avenue just outside of OSU's campus..."
4/4/18 - Flooding on Columbus Trails
Columbus, OH - From Columbus MetroParks, "Flooding on the Olentangy and
Alum Creek Trails."
3/2/18 - Upgrades Coming in 2019
From columbusunderground.com, "Two major upgrades are planned for the Olentangy Trail: one that will widen a large section of the trail and another that will connect it to Bethel Road for the first time.
"...Work on the two improvement projects is not scheduled to start until the spring of 2019..."
2/25/18 - Flooding Worsens on Columbus Trails
This alert is from Columbus MetroParks today.
This alert from Columbus MetroParks did not specify which areas may be affected along the two trails.
1/29/18 - Section Closures near OSU Stadium
From centralohiogreenways.com, "As early as Monday (1/29) and continuing through mid-February, the Olentangy trail will be impacted between Woody Hayes Drive and John Herrick Drive for soil borings occurring in the area.
"Closures will rotate between the upper and lower trails in this area, however one trail will be maintained [open] at all times for northbound and southbound traffic."
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.
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.
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!