Unlike its name, the Little Miami Scenic Trail is quite BIG, or more accurately, long. Currently it's the king of Ohio paved trails and stands as the longest continuous paved bikeway in Ohio and one of the most popular, too. (Technically, the Ohio-to-Erie cross-state trail now has a longer section, but it utilizes 55 miles of the Little Miami to accomplish that feat.) From its southern endpoint in Newtown, south of Milford, Ohio, it extends 75 miles northeast through Xenia to Springfield. Here it joins the Simon Kenton Trail that continues northward to Urbana and Bellefontaine, thanks to 35 more miles of trail.
The Newtown to Xenia Station portion of the Little Miami, combined with the Prairie Grass Trail, comprise two completed sections of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail. Eventually it will connect Cincinnati to Columbus and Cleveland at Lake Erie, spanning some 325 miles.
But for now, the Little Miami still rules. We rode the 70 mile section between Milford and Springfield.
The Miami Valley is a picturesque, wooded area that often provides a secluded feel as you ride under the cover of trees and woods only to briefly emerge to pass through a small town now and again. Glimpses of the river catch your attention from time to time along with the sound of canoers enjoying themselves in the river valley below during the summer months. Finding a canoe to take to the river shouldn't prove difficult. There are liveries and campgrounds right along the trail.
The bikeway passes through several small towns where there are trailside stops for ice cream, drinks, or a bite to eat. The city of Loveland has perhaps the most attractive "through town" trail section. Brief, but very nice.
The ride from Xenia to Yellow Springs includes a gradual uphill grade. You'll enjoy the return ride where you can reach speeds around the posted speed limit of 20 mph with little effort.
Yellow Springs has a restored depot (as does Xenia Station) along the trail which makes a nice water and restroom stop. Previously there had been a bike shop that occupied the two yellow train cabooses that sit trailside here.
On our last visit we noted the tremendous popularity of this bikeway. We started out in Milford at 8:30 on a Sunday morning. The small trail parking lot was filling up quickly at this early hour with joggers, cyclists, people walking their dogs -- you name it.
We generally see people utilizing this trail like no other in the state. On this latest trip we encountered several pace lines with 3-5 cyclists per group, numerous aerobars (many of them actually being used!) and tandem recumbents.
The notorious creek bridge crossings had been a problem for many years as they were not up to par with the smoother trail surface and had been causing accidents, particularly during wet weather. Most of the bridges were repaired and resurfaced in '08 & '09 and should no longer pose a problem.
Despite the fact that there is a grass path for horse back riding alongside this bikeway, we've had to dodge horse droppings on occasion. Quite an unpleasant surprise for cyclists who aren't paying close attention! Rather than a lack of good trail maintenance, this is more likely a lack of consideration by some horsemen who use the grade alongside the bikeway.
The trail takes a brief detour along city streets and sidewalks where it passes through Xenia and Springfield. The Xenia section has marked sidewalks with signs to direct you between trail segments.
The Springfield portion starts at Springfield-Xenia Road as a marked bike lane on the edge of the road. It takes you into town and over to Fair Street where the trail picks up again. On our last visit bike route signs were posted to guide you through the city.
The Little Miami ends in the vicinity of Jefferson and Center Street where the Simon Kenton Trail takes over. The SKT takes you east through town, then turns north and crosses the Buck Creek Trail about 2 miles further along. At this junction you have a choice of heading east or west on the Buck Creek or continuing north on the SKT to Urbana.
The quality of the pavement and upkeep of the Little Miami Trail is consistently very good. This may not sound significant, but with longer trails that pass through several counties, conditions can vary a great deal.
The bottom line is that the Little Miami is a Mecca for trail users. It's easily the most popular paved trail in the state of Ohio.
There's a fair amount of online info on this fine trail. To get more perspectives and info on this bikeway, checkout the Little Miami links. To learn more about the trails that connect with the Little Miami at Xenia, see the Xenia Station page.
Length: 74.9 miles - width varies 10-12'
Condition: Overall Very Good, though some older sections may be a bit bumpy
Facilities: Water & restroom stations at Avoca, Loveland, Corwin, Xenia Station & Yellow Springs.
Food: Fast food places in Xenia. Most of the smaller towns between Milford & Xenia have at least one small food stop right along the trail.
Parking: In Milford, Loveland, Xenia Station and most towns along the trail.
74.9mi 70.4mi 61.4mi 53.8mi 33.6mi 19.4mi 9.4mi 0mi