When all the cyclists in my scheduled ride cancelled, I had an opportunity to take a ride of my choosing. The original ride was the Richland B&O Trail in Butler. I was in Mt. Vernon last night for the Knox County Fair where Brett’s family was showing draft ponies. I have been wanting to cycle the Kokosing Gap Trail that starts in Mt. Vernon and runs northeast to Danville. I had too much fair food last night and needed to cycle it off.
It was perfect cycling day with temps in the high 70s and sun. I was cycling the trail solo since Brett had a busy day at the fair. The trailhead was easy to find, had plenty of parking and was very clean. Actually, this trail is super clean and very well maintained. The surface is asphalt and the elevation hardly changes at all. I can see why I passed many inline skaters on the trail.
The trail is also quite cool. It is shaded almost its entire length. The first 4 miles parallel the Kokosing River which meandered across 3 times. Beautiful iron railroad bridges carried me across the water. If you plan to cycle this trail, watch for the sign for the Kenyon College Environmental Center at about 3.5 miles. The college has a huge perennial garden that cyclists are invited venture through. I did on my return trip and highly recommend it.
At about 5 miles I cycled in Gambier. The trailhead bordered the edge of the Kenyon College athletic complex and fields. This is a super nice trailhead. There were clean restrooms, a steam locomotive and cars that you are invited to explore. A shaded picnic area was a an inviting area to rest.
While resting in Gambier I chatted with an elderly gentlemen at the station. He gave me the low down on Gambier. Alas, I was not see the actual town unless I cycled off the trail and up a hill to the campus and village. I did not have the time to take this detour on this trip. He did give me some good tips on the trail east of Gambier.
Howard was the next village I crossed through. There was a very scenic barn along the trail. I am pretty certain it was most likely a feed mill and freight station for the rail line. My Gambier friend told me to exit the trail, cycle up the hill and visit the ice cream stand. I did on my return trip. Here’s my tip for Howard if you cycle this trail. At the top of the hill you will be on Route 36. There was a very tasty BBQ joint with smokers and cold beer. Adjacent to it is the Ice Cream Station, an old converted 60s gas station. I opted for ice cream. I had a slaw dog and an amazing red velvet cake hand dipped ice cream milkshake. Take my advice, stop in Howard for ice cream or BBQ.
Past Howard, the trail was pretty much standard Ohio trail trail. Most people opt to turn at Howard and return to Mt. Vernon. I ventured on to Danville which was probably about another 5 miles. This portion of the trail crosses farm land and is partially shaded. The landscape is pretty run of the mill. The trail ended at nice trail head in Danville just off of U.S. Route 62. I turned at the trailhead and cycled back to Mt. Vernon. Total distance was 27 miles of cycling.
I thoroughly enjoyed this trail. I highly recommend it for any rail trail cyclist. It is definitely one of the best maintained trails and has interesting scenery and attractions along the way.