8 of the Best Bike Routes in Columbus

This post discusses 8 of the best bike routes in Columbus.

a biker in columbus tackles an off camber wooden platform


Haley Wisniewski


Jan 21, 2021

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Amazing, Scenic Bike Routes to Try Out this Weekend!

Biking gives the rider a release of endorphins causing a reduction of stress. Biking allows a person to cover more ground quicker compared to running or walking. Columbus is a huge area and has plenty of ground one can cover on a bike. With a large variety of bike paths that cut through the heart of the city as well as ones that cut through the suburbs, it’s safe to say there are no shortage of scenic trails in Columbus. Bike trails, new and old, are spread all throughout Columbus and can definitely give you the biking fix you need as well as views that are to die for. Whether you want to see a view of the Columbus’ skyline or just want to feel closer to nature, there are biking routes all over Columbus that are guaranteed to fill everybody’s biking needs. 

This article gives a look at eight of the best scenic bike trails in Columbus. Some of those trails  include:

  • Scioto Trail
  • Alum Creek Trail
  • Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail
  • Big Walnut Trail
  • Camp Chase Trail
  • Olentangy Trail
  • Darby Creek Trail
  • Genoa Township Trail

Scioto Trail

Distance: 22 Miles 

The Scioto Trails give a great scenic view of Ohio’s Scioto River. Image courtesy of TrekOhio

The Scioto Trail gives a mix of both the city and the suburbs. Being the first greenway in Columbus, the trail is 22 miles of paved trails that hug the downtown riverfront. From the riverfront, the trail continues through Grandview Heights, winding through downtown and Franklin, and finishes out to German and Marion Villages. The Scioto Trail offers many scenic views of the surrounding Columbus area as well as a spectacular view of the Columbus skyline. The city skyline is definitely a spectacular sight you do not want to miss out on! The Scioto Trail runs through the spine of the city which features the famous Scioto Mile. Located in the heart of downtown Columbus, the Scioto Mile is an urban oasis which has more than 175 acres of lush parklands. The downtown skyline views and scenic atmosphere make the Scioto Mile a highlight for Central Ohio. Once you’re done biking through the Scioto Mile, make sure to continue to the Scioto Audubon Metro Park for some bird watching on the river. 

The Scioto Audubon Metro Park has been transformed from a brown, dying field to a green oasis where wildlife flocks. This scenic view will connect you deeper to nature and give you a little break from biking. Then the trail continues to the Arena District where you can stop and catch a concert or a Blue Jackets game and enjoy the company of family and friends. This trail gives scenic views of both the city skyline and nature allowing bikers to enjoy everything Columbus has to offer. 

Alum Creek Trail

Distance: 25 Miles

Alum Creek Trail has two connected mountain bike trails and a skill park. Image courtesy of Trail Forks.

The path spans through quaint neighborhoods as well as rugged trails that are perfect for mountain biking. The trail travels along a scenic Columbus River corridor that connects several neighborhoods with commercial areas. Three major sections exist on the trail including: the North Section that stretches from Cooper Park to Easton Way, the Central Section which stretches from Easton Way to the Ohio Dominican University, and finally the South Section that  begins at Airport Drive and continues to Three Creeks Park. The Alum Creek Trail passes under and over major roadways that allows you to bypass the headache of traffic and enjoy a relaxing bike ride. The ride will keep you entertained as you bike over and under bridges while also going through the woods. 

The Alum Creek Trail is a multi-use path that gives easy access to a number of parks that can offer a great place to take a quick break from biking. There are many ride options as well! The trail gives its riders options in aspects such as level of difficulty, phases, and distance of ride. Alum Creek also has many bridges that offer perfect spots for photo opportunities. This trail is ranked one of the best bike trails in Columbus and is waiting for you to check it out! The mix of both rugged biking trails and relaxing neighborhood strolls, gives everybody the option to choose what they’re comfortable with. Grab your bike and a friend and get riding.

Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail

Distance: 18 Miles

Blacklick Creek Trail gives an easy ride with a very spacious trail. Image courtesy of Traillink

The Blacklick Creek Trails runs for 18 miles between Reynoldsburg and Groveport on the Southeastern side of Columbus. The trail is parallel to Blacklick Creek for the most part with a few diversions at Livingston Avenue, Tussing Road, and Hines Road. The trail is primarily paved but there are a few parts through Portman Park that can get quite muddy. This scenic trail courses through several small parks and three larger regional parks. These parks include Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg, Pickerington Ponds Metro Park in Canal Winchester, and Three Creeks Metro Park in Groveport. 

Blacklick Creek Trail also connects to the previously talked about Alum Creek Trail. The trail connects to the Foor Leisure Path which in turn heads south to Groveport’s residential core. With scenic views running through Columbus, Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail might be the perfect trail for a family bike ride. Passing through multiple parks, this trail is great to make stops if you want a snack or if you need to rest for a minute. While you’re grabbing a snack, you can enjoy the amazing scenic views the trail has to offer. 

Big Walnut Trail

Distance: 10 Miles

The Big Walnut Trail runs through several beautiful parks and reservoirs. Image courtesy of Birding in Ohio

The Big Walnut Trail is newly renovated. The 10 mile trail is split into 5 sections that are spread throughout Three Creeks Metro Park up to Hoover Reservoir and through Gahanna’s Creekside. Gahanna’s Creekside is a great place to stop and get a bite to eat after a long bike ride. You can also catch some live music or just relax and swim. There is also a project that you can take part in that is through the Big Walnut Trail. The Big Walnut Creek Bikeway Project is a race where upon completion you will have biked the length of Big Walnut Creek following the length of Gahanna from Morse Road to Pizzurro Pizza. 

This is a project that can easily be completed and is fun to take part in. The newly done renovations have connected several of the sections that were previously known to be separate trails. Now, bikers can ride farther than before on new, smooth pavement. The Big Walnut Trail is a namesake in Columbus and its highlight is the Hoover Reservoir Park as mentioned before. The park offers boating and fishing as well as a nature preserve and idyllic bird watching. Other sections of the trail offer numerous athletic facilities, playgrounds, and places to picnic. The views of nature on this trail are like no other! 

Camp Chase Trail

Distance: 16 Miles

The Camp Chase Trail follows an active railway that you can bike along with. Image courtesy of campchasetrail.

The Camp Chase Trail stretches from Columbus to London, Ohio. This trail is well over 16 miles long but the first 16 miles are the most commonly ridden. The trail can be ridden 34 miles all the way to South Charleston, Ohio. The trail is a paved, multi-use trail that offers many scenic views. Many people do not realize the complete distance and route of the trail. They know about the trail heading East from Battelle Darby Creek but are unaware that the trail also extends west of the park. 

The multi-use trail is used by runners, bikers, and walkers that follow along the Camp Chase Railroad. A one mile trail has also been constructed that connects directly to the wooded foot path in the park. The trail is a key piece of the cross-state Ohio to Erie trail and is an integral part of the Central Ohio Greenways network around the greater Columbus region. The trail offers many outdoor activities such as biking, camping, canoeing, fishing, skiing, picnicking, hiking, and so much more! The trail offers a peaceful, scenic experience that you want to check out!   

Olentangy Trail

Distance: 14 Miles

The Olentangy Trail is known as the most popular bike path in all of Ohio. Image courtesy of Great Runs.

From Downtown Columbus to Worthington, the Olentangy Trail takes you along the scenic Olentangy river. This trail allows you to see it all! It runs under busy highways, through quiet parks, and around the OSU campus with plenty of local landmarks that can be seen throughout the journey. You may even have the need to hop off your bike and take a few pictures or just take in the surrounding area of nature. The Olentangy Trail is the gem that connects the communities of Columbus and Worthington as mentioned above. 

Olentangy Trail was originally started as Ohio’s first rail-way in 1967 and has since developed into an ever growing system of Ohio bikeways today. Due to the trail’s gymnastic-like pathways, i.e. twisting and turning, as well as a myriad of connecting spurs will keep you on your toes. Nonetheless, you are in for a very exciting bike ride and quite an adventure!

Darby Creek Trail

Distance: 8 Miles 

The Darby Creek Trail is eight miles long with two sections splitting the trail up. Image courtesy of Columbus Navigator.

The Darby Creek Trail is available for bike rides on two disconnected segments that parallel Big Darby Creek, a State and National Scenic River on the western outskirts of Columbus. The Northern 3 miles of the trail gives its guests beautiful scenic views of nature. A 500-acre park of grasslands and wildflowers gives bikers an amazing look at what mother nature has to offer. Visitors can expect to experience some unique sightings such as a bison. This park is ideal for walking, biking, fishing, picnicking, bird-watching, boating, and wildlife viewing. 

The trail has two sections going through two different parks, Battle Darby Creek Metro Park and Prairie Oaks Metro Park. Both of these parks are great options to bike on a sunny day if you’re looking to keep cool. Given the amount of shaded pathways, Darby Creek Trail is a great bike route for everybody!

Genoa Township Trail

Distance: 4 Miles

The Genoa Township Trail runs from Mt. Royal Avenue north to Plumb Road. Image courtesy of DCFT.

The Genoa Trail runs between Northgate Way in Westerville and Plumb Road south of Galena. The trail is separated from the street by a corridor of trees that gives shade to nearly the entire trail. The paved trail was extended to follow the Northwestern shoreline of the Hoover Reservoir which includes a scenic nature preserve. This short extension, featuring scenic views, is now open as the Hoover Scenic Trail. The Hoover Scenic Trail also includes a pedestrian-bike bridge over the old 3C Highway.  

These trails give great views of nature and allows its visitors to take a break from life and reconnect with nature. Passing under the shaded tunnel gives a cool and relaxing feeling that also gives some challenging hills for more experienced bikers. The trail can be easily accessed at any of the main crossroads including Maxton Road, Mt. Royal, Freeman, Big Walnut, and Lewis Center. There are also foot and bike accessible entry points at Highland Lakes Avenue and Interlachen Avenue. This is definitely one ride you will not forget and come back for. 

Whether it be a relaxing day in nature or a chance to exercise, there is no shortage of bike routes that won’t fit your needs in someway. The bike routes provided above give some great spots to view the most spectacular scenery ever in Columbus.

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