The Heart of Ohio Trail

The last time we were in Delaware we were so busy working at John and Jackie’s that we didn’t do any bike rides.  But the area around Columbus has a lot of wonderful trails so we set aside some time this week to ride.  We started with the Heart of Ohio Trail that runs from Centerburg to Mt. Vernon.

Trailhead in Mt. Liberty
Pavilion in Centerburg park
The stone at the center of the park at the geographical center of Ohio
The plaque in the center of the stone at the center of the park at the geographical center of Ohio

Centerburg is the geographic center of Ohio and we have a picture of the stone that is in the park that is at the center of Ohio.  Centerburg is also a bustling small town with interesting shops downtown and lots of good-looking restaurants to try.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to check any of this out because there was a huge thunderstorm coming.  We decided to ride anyway and wanted to get closer to the center of the Heart of Ohio Trail.  This way we would be closer to the truck when it started to rain.  Having ridden in the rain on the Sippo trail, we weren’t keen to repeat the experience unless we had to.

So we picked up the trail in Mt. Liberty which is a much, much smaller town between Centerburg and Mt. Vernon.  There were good parking lots and the trail was well-marked all along the route.  We rode to Centerburg first, since the rain was coming from that direction.  We did not ride to the end of the trail, but turned around at the edge of Centerburg when the trail turned to grass instead of asphalt.  With the rain coming we knew we weren’t going to be able to ride the entire trail anyway.

We rode back to Mt. Liberty and then headed toward Mt. Vernon.  The storm was moving much faster than we were, and we figured we had about 30 minutes more to ride, which meant three miles toward Mt. Vernon and three miles back.  We would have made it back to the truck dry if we had only gone two more miles, but that extra mile meant two miles of getting rained on before we got back to the truck.  It didn’t rain as hard as it would about 15 minutes later, so we were only damp instead of soaked.

The Heart of Ohio Trail is a beautiful trail that really captures the heart of what Ohio is.  An asphalt rail-trail that runs through woods, beside creeks and a river, and through farmland and small towns.  But it is still close to and accessible from a vibrant big city.  This is how I think of Ohio.  Verdant and lush and beautiful with birds, deer, squirrels and chipmunks in abundance.  Crickets, katydids, and cicadas chirping the in the background.  We would have loved to ride the whole trail and hope to do it soon but the part that we rode was wonderful.  We were able to ride almost 16 miles, which was enough for what turned into a very rainy day.

Mt. Vernon has the Kokosing Gap Trail on the other side of it, which is also a wonderful trail.  We rode it several years ago and rode into downtown Mt. Vernon and had the best tuna salad sandwiches ever at a bakery on the square.  We drove into Mt. Vernon this time in the downpour, thankful we had turned around when we did.  We were looking for the bakery – but it was gone.  There were a couple of likely other places to eat, but we decided to return to the RV and enjoy the rest of our rainy day inside.