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The North Coast Inland Trail is a series of trails across multiple northern Ohio counties that, as they expand and connect, are emerging as an impressive long-distance trail between Cleveland and Toledo. Within Huron County, two sections are open that total 15.6 miles. The other two segments of the North Coast Inland Trail are located in Lorain County and Sandusky and Ottawa counties.
The first section of the Huron County trail goes 10.3 miles from the east side of Bellevue to the county seat of Norwalk. This crushed-stone path is well maintained, but the loose stone can make it tough at times for skinny tires and some wheelchairs. The views consist of classic Midwestern farm fields stretching to the horizon. Much of this route runs alongside an active rail corridor, creating excellent train-watching opportunities.
The agriculture landscape continues to the town of Monroeville, where a fabulously restored train depot (dating back to 1863) awaits. The depot and surrounding area host drinking water, a picnic shelter, restrooms, and—if you’re lucky—some great company from a local volunteer!
About 3 miles after leaving the depot, you arrive at a beautiful historical bridge over the East Branch of the Huron River. The 1871 stone double-arch bridge is a sight to behold, and wonderfully built observation platforms allow a great view of it. Moving a few short miles along the tree-lined trail brings you into the city of Norwalk and the terminus of this section.
It’s about a 3-mile gap before the next section of trail begins. You can reach it by taking surface streets through Norwalk, but only if you’re comfortable riding in traffic. The crushed-stone path picks up east of Norwalk and stretches just over 5 miles. Pleasant vistas of more farmland are plentiful along this section, though the tree cover is also heavier, which offers a good respite if riding on a sunny day.
In Collins, a horse trailer parking lot is adjacent to the trail. The Huron County section of trail ends at Derussey Road; there is no formal parking or a trailhead here, so plan on backtracking a short distance to Collins.
To reach the westernmost trailhead (located just outside of Bellevue): From the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/I-90), take Exit 110 toward OH 4 (Sandusky/Bellevue) and go south. Travel 4.8 miles and take a left onto Beckstein Road. Go 0.9 mile, and turn left onto US 20 E. Go 1 mile, and take a right onto Sand Hill Road; the trailhead will be on the left in 0.3 mile. The end of the trail is 2.7 miles west.
To reach the Monroeville trailhead: From the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/I-90), take Exit 110 toward OH 4 (Sandusky/Bellevue) and go south 0.4 mile. Take a left onto Harris Road. After 0.7 mile, take a right onto OH 99 S. Travel 7.3 miles through the town of Monroeville; the train depot trailhead will be on the right shortly after passing Monroe St.
To reach the Collins trailhead at the east end of the trail: From the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/I-90), take Exit 118 for US 250 S and continue south 2.3 miles. In the town of Milan, take a left onto Williams St. and then in 0.2 mile a right onto S. Main St./OH 601 S. Travel 4.7 miles and then take a left onto US 20 E. Go 2.6 miles and take a left onto Heartland Center Road. Go another 0.7 mile, and the trailhead is on the right. The end of the trail is 1.3 miles east.
Biked from Elmore to Fremont (and back). Very nice flat asphalt paved trail. Trail goes through a few very small towns. Along this trail you will see plenty of cornfields (in season) and pass by numerous working farms. This is rural Ohio at it's best. You will also have a view of the Ohio Turnpike on several occasions. There are some wooded sections of the trail. Trail surface in very good condition.
Trail towns along the trail are welcoming and friendly.
It's approx 10 miles between Elmore and Fremont. Each half-mile is marked with a sign. In the trail towns there are mileage signs as well.
Parked in Elmore at the old train station. There are places to eat and shop in Elmore. Parking in Elmore is at Ory Park on Rice Street. There is a bike shop and rental in Elmore. In Fremont there are places to eat and shop but to access them, you have to street ride. The trail continues on the other side of Fremont.
An all around great trail and fun ride!
Started ride in Collins and rode east to end point. I then rode west to Bellevue. There is a 4 mile road ride between the trails. I used my phone gps to assist me. Trail is well marked every 1/2 mile. Trail is well maintained. But no skinny tires. My favorite parts are the road portion and bridges over Huron river.
Today my gf and I rode this trail. We started at Norwalk and headed west to Bellevue.i would recommend this route.I was very surprised with how well the trail was maintained and planed. the views are spectacular..stop and check out the old trains in Bellevue very interesting part of railroad history.
Even on a great Saturday afternoon, this trail was uncrowded and an enjoyable ride, although since it is unpaved it is more effort than the section in Oberlin. We started at the end in Norwalk. About 20 miles round trip. Note that the Mcdonalds sign you see as you are approaching Bellevue is NOT as easy to get to as it appears, and we turned around and returned. Convenient stop (probably best to drive though) either before or after your ride is H&B's Hop for food/ice cream. (33 E Seminary St, Norwalk, Ohio 44857-2119). We wished there had been a sign at the end in Bellevue telling us how much of a road ride we had before returning to a dedicated path, in case we had wanted to continue.
This is a flat, crushed gravel trail, not much coasting, be prepared to pedal. It is beautiful through the cornfields and farms. Only did the trail ride no road biking, trail ride was just over 9 mi, one way. We felt that was enough considering its a round trip adventure. Peaceful, and scenery abundant. It was a cloudy day, which made it a very comfy ride, but there is potential for being out in the sun for a good portion of the ride. Take plenty of water as there are no stops to refill and no bathrooms, access to little towns you could probably ride into, McDonald's at the end of the trail. It was a lovely ride. Thanks trail link for helping us find it!
The nearly 10 mile Norwalk to Bellevue segment is a neat little section of rail trail. Most of it is flat and straight, though there are a few slopes and gradual curves to keep things interesting, while the adjacent landscape varies from woods to wide open fields to the backyards of the village of Monroeville. The trail itself is mostly a nice finely crushed limestone surface, however some of the older parts of it in the Norwalk and Monroeville areas still have a slightly rougher dirt/gravel surface.
The trail crosses several meandering streams using refurbished railroad bridges, the most notable of which being the two that cross the Huron River. One is an double arched stone bridge over the Huron River's east branch near Norwalk, which features an adjacent scenic overlook deck offering trail users a view of the river below and the bridge itself. The other is a concrete decked bridge over the Huron River's west branch in Monroeville, which opened in 2012 as the centerpiece of a new section of trail that completed what had been a long standing gap.
The trail is well signed, there are mile markers every half mile and each road and stream crossing is labelled. A few of the trailheads have information boards and there are plenty of benches along the way. The trail is also birdwatcher friendly and has some bird habitat boxes in the open areas. The trail features several preserved railroad relics as well, such as the Monroeville depot and some whistle posts, land line markers and other railroad signage. The entire Bellevue to Norwalk section also parallels the still active Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway.
The only on trail restroom facility is a pota-pot at the Northwest street trailhead in Norwalk, the nearest food options are in downtown Norwalk and Monroeville, and the closest bike shop is on Main Street in downtown Norwalk. Overall this is a nice trail for an enjoyable walk, run or ride.
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