Runners use it to train, tykes trike, and friends powerwalk their way to fitness. But the Little Miami Scenic Trail is way more than that. It winds from Newtown to Springfield and links to a remarkable network of paved recreational paths that have made southwest Ohio a destination for multi-day bike trips. If you know only a short stretch, you’re missing out. Now is the time to get acquainted with some favorite stops along the way. Unless noted, all are trail-adjacent, and we’ve given street addresses for those times when you arrive on four wheels instead of two.
1. Top Trailhead
Little Miami Golf Center has ample parking and a bike fix-it station. Here the trail is managed by Great Parks of Hamilton County; you’ll need a vehicle permit if you arrive by car. 3811 Newtown Rd., Newtown, greatparks.org
2. Bike Booster
Did you forget a water bottle? Spare tube? Chamois butter? Fifty West Cycling has it (see more: ). 7669 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, fiftywestcycling.com.
3. Summer Place
Bishop’s Bicycles will deliver your rental bike to the shop’s seasonal outpost on the Milford Trailhead. Call to reserve. (513) 831-2521, bishopsbicycles.net.
4. Schools Days
A family-friendly ride needs a destination, and Schoolhouse Restaurant’s comfort food comes with a side of 19th century charm. A path leads off the trail just north of Cunningham Road. 8031 Glendale-Milford Rd., Camp Dennison, theschoolhousecincinnati.com.
The best trail towns recognize its economic and lifestyle benefits. You can feel the love in Loveland, where parks, plantings, benches, bike shops, bars, and restaurants conspire to lure cyclists. Start your day at Fresh Press Juicery & Coffee (111 Railroad Ave., freshpresscincinati.com) or end it with a post-ride beer and pizza on the new patio at The Works (20 Grear Millitzer Place). Sit outside because, post-ride, you probably stink.
6. History Lesson
A state historic marker on the trail 2.6 miles north of Loveland tells the story of Butterworth Station and the Quaker family who operated the southernmost stop on the Underground Railroad in this stone farmhouse.
7. Scenic Stop
The chain-smoking chimp that gave Monkey Bar & Grille its name is long gone. Now the attraction is a gracious patio overlooking the Little Miami River. 7837 Old 3C Highway, Maineville, (513) 781-4246.
8. Blast Site
Once thousands of munitions workers labored in the buildings at Peters Cartridge Factory. The quiet, sapling-covered hillside once was a Superfund cleanup project. 1415 Grandin Rd., Kings Mills.
9. Snack Spot
The ice cream parlor that made Morrow a destination is closed, but Sugar Run Grill has stepped into the refreshment void. 100 Front St., Morrow, (513) 899-2127.
10. Photo Opp
With its red door and graceful Japanese maples, Oregonia United Methodist Church is the very definition of picturesque. The church’s neighborly sign invites trail travelers to relax in the shade. 1444 Race St., Oregonia.
With ample parking, a playground, and a handsomely recreated depot, Xenia Station (150 S. Miami Ave.) illustrates how much this city values the five bike routes that converge here. Follow the markings for Little Miami Scenic Trail through downtown to admire the Samuel Hannaford-designed Greene County Courthouse (45 N. Detroit St.) and the lakeside pavilion in bosky Shawnee Park (591 S. Park Dr.).
12. Yellow Springs
You know you’re approaching a liberal enclave when you see 3,024 solar panels glinting in the sun. The funky, eco-centric burg is a tourist magnet where even the chic new Mills Park Hotel has bike racks (321 Xenia Ave., millsparkhotel.com). Sunrise Café serves organic grub in the neo-hippy tradition (259 Xenia Ave., sunrisecafe.net). If your bike needs a tune-up, Village Cyclery is a full service shop (110 Dayton St., vcbikes.com). When you’re ready for some liquid muscle relaxant, there’s the much-lauded Yellow Springs Brewery (305 Walnut St., yellowspringsbrewery.com).
At the city’s outskirts, you’ll see signs for Hartman Rock Garden (1905 Russell Ave., hartmanrockgarden.org). If you have a taste for the eccentric, take the short detour to this miniature world built from pebbles. The trail ends downtown, where a spur (the Simon Kenton Trail) heads off to Urbana. Refresh at Un Mundo Café (117 S. Fountain Ave., unmundocafe.com) in the massive Heritage Center Museum (heritagecenter.us). A century ago, the block-long building included a market hall for the region’s farmers. Saturday mornings in summer, an outdoor Farmers’ Market is a modern-day nod to that tradition (visitgreaterspringfield.com).
About the Little Miami Scenic Trail
The Little Miami Scenic Trail runs about 75 miles from Newtown to Springfield. From just south of Milford to just south of Xenia, it’s part of Little Miami State Park—a corridor that’s 50 miles long and 66 feet wide. For maps and more: littlemiamistatepark.org.
Outside of the state park bounds, the trail is managed by local governments; for example, Great Parks of Hamilton County oversees the trail from Avoca Park to its terminus at Beechmont Avenue. In the planning stages: a connector to link the Little Miami to the Armleder and Ohio River Trails. Little Miami Scenic Trail forms the spine of the largest network of paved recreational corridors in the U.S., covering 300-plus miles in the Miami Valley. More information: miamivalleytrails.org.