Updated July 2021
Hiking and biking can be enjoyable outdoor activities for all, especially with a variety of paths to fit all fitness-levels.
Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands is an ideal hiking location due to the sheer abundance of opportunities, from more advanced woodland or coastal hikes, to leisurely strolls. First you’ll need to select your trail, wear comfortable clothing (light layers recommended) and sturdy footwear, and be sure to bring along plenty of water and healthy snacks. It’s also a good idea to bring along a cell phone, know the name of the park and/or trail you’re hiking, and tell someone you trust where you will be hiking.
The same is true for bicycling, though with our uncongested island roads it may be as simple as taking your bike to your island of choice (or renting one when you get there!). Make sure your bike is in tip-top cycling condition and get ready to hit the road!
Here are a couple of hiking and biking locations in the region you may enjoy:
The Ohio State Parks system is wonderful for hiking options; many trails and trail maps are available online at parks.ohiodnr.gov. Each of these fantastic parks offers camping as well, if you’d like to make an overnight trip out of your hiking/biking adventure.
Combine your love of adventure and the great outdoors with these amazing island trail options.
A Walk in the Woods
Looking to go hiking among the trees? Some of the best hiking takes you deep into the forest.
If “hike” isn’t exactly a word in your vocabulary, but you enjoy a nice leisurely, scenic stroll every now and again, consider these spots.
These short walks include paved paths: McBride Arboretum, Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve, Battery Park, Shoreline Park, Lakeside’s Bettinger Park (Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile!), Shoepfle Garden, and Osborn MetroPark.
Many of the above listed hiking trails are fantastic biking options as well. Just be sure to check the trail or park website to be sure bicycles are allowed and always be courteous of trail walkers by calling out and passing on the right, where paths are wide enough. On-road biking is an option on Kelleys, Middle Bass, and South Bass islands, as well as within Lakeside as auto traffic is minimal. Use caution when biking in other communities – look for marked bike paths or stay on the sidewalk.
Some park trails and paths were built specifically for bicycle traffic. The North Coast Inland Trail can be accessed via Depot Park in Elmore. This 28 mile inactive rail line was converted to paved hike/bike path with Ohio Department of Transportation funding. The path is open year-round for walking, jogging, bicycling, in-line skates, strollers, - no motorized vehicles permitted (except handicap assistance vehicles). Other portions of the incomplete North Coast Inland Trail go through Sandusky County, Huron County, and Lorain County. The Huron River Path MetroPark features 1.8 miles of wide, crushed stone pathway along the river. The Sandusky Bay Pathway is another great option. Currently, it spans a two-mile waterfront stretch in downtown Sandusky along Shoreline Drive, beginning near the police station and ending around Lions Park. This work in progress is hoped to cover an uninterrupted 12-mile span connecting Sandusky’s west side to its east by 2029.If you don’t travel with your bike in tow, contact the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Centers for a list of rental locations.
Where will the trails of Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands lead you?