Login | June 01, 2020

Off the beaten track

Pete’s World

Published: May 11, 2020

We’re all certainly getting stressed as of late, and going outdoors to blow off some of that pent up anxiety and energy is a great way to cope. Problem is for those of us who are either working from home or temporarily furloughed - which is a large majority of us - we all seem to be doing our outdooring at the same time…and in the same popular places.
I honestly can’t tell you how many times over the last month I’ve gone to either the bike & hike or towpath trail only to find them awash in humanity, thereby nullifying the whole concept of social distancing.
That’s why I’ve been revisiting some of the other venues that my girlfriend and I haven’t frequented in a while, places that tend to lie a bit off the beaten track. So just between us, let me share a few of these less visited little gems with you.
I’m going to begin with the The Western Reserve Greenway, a completely paved rail-trail which runs for a super sweet 44-mile, one-way shot through both Trumbull and Ashtabula counties. It’s a scenic, mostly rural trail that cuts a south-to-north route from Warren to Ashtabula following an old Pennsylvania Railroad line. In its heyday this RR once transported gazillions of tons of iron ore to the now defunct steel mills of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Now you’re going to find this trail to be arrow-straight and damned near flatter than Kansas. And that’s okay because its paved surface is in great shape and it’s super easy to bike on. This greenway is a nice mix of wooded forestland interspersed with farmland, and every now and then - more on the then side - you’ll get some residential sections. There are road crossings, but most of these are either lightly traveled tertiary roads or earthen farm access roads.
We usually park at the Sunnyside Trailhead in Champion when we bike this trail, but there’s a whole host of other parking areas further north. For more information go to
Trail maps can be found at http://trumbullmetroparks.org/application/files/8815/3029/2221/Greenway_7-2017.pdf for the Trumbull County portion, and https://www.ashtabulametroparks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/trail-map.pdf for the Ashtabula County portion.
My second off-the-beaten-track gem is the located in Columbiana County. Though nowhere as long as the Western Reserve Greenway, this 12.5-mile point-to-point trail is nonetheless a super little track.
You could easily call the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail Ohio’s coolest trail - because It’s largely overhung by a dense canopy of trees for most of its length. We generally start our rides and hikes at a trailhead just south of Leetonia village, and then we head south to trail’s end in Lisbon.
Generally speaking, this being an old RR grade means it’s a relatively flat trail, but make no mistake about it, there’s a subtle downhill grade going south towards Lisbon. So don’t be surprised when your return cycling trip to Leetonia feels a smidge on the tougher side.
Little Beaver Creek’s a pretty tranquil ride, passing though miles of marsh and farmland, and once you reach the town of Teegarden it clings to the to the banks of Little Beaver Creek the rest of the way to Lisbon. And if you’re into covered bridges, well, at about the halfway point, you can find a detour that goes about 500 feet off of the trail and down a hill to the Centennial Covered Bridge across Little Beaver Creek.
Now we’ve made some of our rides on this trail “double-your-fun” rides, this because the last couple of miles of the southern section pass some beautiful ledges, a signal that you’re passing the Logtown Rock Climbing area just outside of Lisbon. So if you pack a pair of climbing shoes and a chalk bag in your day pack you can do a little sandstone bouldering sabbatical before your return trip to Leetonia.
For more information go to https://www.ohiobikeways.net/littlebeaver.htm
So don’t get exasperated when the crowds are out on the popular trails…get in your car and take a mellow little drive to a couple of venues that lie just a few ticks off the beaten track.