Promoting the bicycling lifestyle in The Buckeye State
Progress on the Bike & Hike Trail – Brandywine Road bypass
Last week, during an extended bike ride, I made my way to the Bike & Hike Trail, part of the Metro Parks Serving Summit County. The northern stretch of this trail runs about 10 miles, from Boston Township (near the intersection of State Routes 8 and 303) up to Alexander Road, which marks the border between Sagamore Hills in Summit County, and Walton Hills in Cuyahoga County.
There has been about a 1-mile stretch in the middle of this trail where you must follow an on-road route. Traveling north, the trail dead-ends on Brandywine Rd; you make a left on Brandywine Road, go down a hill (which includes a bridge over Interstate 271), past Brandywine Falls and the Brandywine Inn, then back up a hill, before reconnecting to the trail on the left side of the road to continue north. This is not a problem for experienced cyclists, but it keeps many novice recreational riders from enjoying this whole section of trail.
Earlier this year, Metro Parks Serving Summit County announced that work would begin to fully connect the trail, bypassing the on-road route. This work is being done with the cooperation of the National Park Service, since some of the trail route falls within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Throughout most of this year, my view of the progress on this trail was while driving on I-271, seeing the evolution of the concrete supports for the new dedicated bridge span over I-271. During a bike ride I took through the area in early September, I saw a gravel path showing the eventual location of parts of the trail. During last week’s ride, I got to see, as well as ride on, almost all of the completed trail.
This photo shows where the norhtbound trail formerly ended at Brandywine Road, with the new asphalt trail continuing parallel on the west side of the road:
I proceeded north on the new trail, until just before the bridge. Here, you can see (partially obscured by the telephone pole) where the new trail bridge is being built:
I continued on Brandywine Road. After the I-271 bridge, I made a left toward the Brandywine Inn, where I could see where the new trail continued. Outside the frame of this photo (roughly facing west), Brandywine Falls is to the left, and the Brandywine Inn is to the right:
The new trail loops around behind the Brandywine Inn, through a wooded area, and up a not-so-gentle slope that some novice riders might still find a little challenging. After it levels out a little, the trail runs alongside Brandywine Road again. It goes over a few short wooden bridges. At the time of my visit, crews were working to complete the last of these bridges, which sits right at the end of the new trail, just before it re-joins the original trail:
Here’s the other end of that bridge, looking south from near the end of the original trail:
So, essentially all that remains is completing the bridge over I-271 to make the Bike & Hike Trail an even better resource for those cycling for both recreational purposes and for transportation through northern Summit County, Ohio.