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Ohio to Erie or the Erie Canal Trail?

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Ohio to Erie or the Erie Canal Trail?

Old 05-23-21, 07:18 PM
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Touringwithkids
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Ohio to Erie or the Erie Canal Trail?

My wife and I are driving from Utah with our 6 kids to tour for 6 weeks! We’ve done about 3K miles of touring with the family, most of which has been on dedicated paths in Europe along the Eurovelo 6 route.

We’re going to ride on the Mickelson trail, and also the Gap trail.

We’re considering the Ohio to Erie, the Erie Canal trail, or the
Katy trail. Would love your feedback. Our youngest rider is 6, and we’re looking for any other dedicated option so we’re not worried about our youngest riding into traffic.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-23-21, 11:46 PM
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Mickelson trail might be tough with a six year old.
Pretty good uphill if your starting from Dead Wood.
Starting from the south end is easier but a long uphill.
I admire your zeal.

Katy trail is easy for kids. Boonville, MO and Jefferson City, has good lodging for 6 kids.
Good riding from either location.
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Old 05-24-21, 04:20 AM
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I've done much of the Ohio to Erie trail between Columbus OH and Cleveland, and around Xenia/Dayton OH. It is definitely mostly all paved, doable by a 6 year old, the few road sections are pretty safe. The northern part (Mt Vernon north) does flood when there are heavy rains - always check the OTET site.

My wife and I are doing a few days on the Erie Canal Trail in early June. From my research for our rides, there are more on trail interesting stuff and more near trail larger cities for stuff to do. Thinking back when my daughter was 6, I probably would have chosen the Erie Canal Trail for any multi-day ride with her but we never did any multi-day rides back then.
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Old 05-24-21, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
I've done much of the Ohio to Erie trail between Columbus OH and Cleveland, and around Xenia/Dayton OH. It is definitely mostly all paved, doable by a 6 year old, the few road sections are pretty safe. The northern part (Mt Vernon north) does flood when there are heavy rains - always check the OTET site.

My wife and I are doing a few days on the Erie Canal Trail in early June. From my research for our rides, there are more on trail interesting stuff and more near trail larger cities for stuff to do. Thinking back when my daughter was 6, I probably would have chosen the Erie Canal Trail for any multi-day ride with her but we never did any multi-day rides back then.
The the Ohio to Erie trail is mostly paved and a fairly easy ride. The first section out of Cincinnati is on some busy city roads though they have bike lanes. I have to say that much of the ride to Columbus is rural and pretty boring. The upside is it's easy riding. I'm doing the Erie Canal Trail from Buffalo to Albany starting 6/23. As jpescatore said, there is a lot more stuff along the route including some cities. I'd vote Erie Canal!
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Old 05-24-21, 08:49 AM
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Wait a minute....did you say 6 kids?

I am riding the Ohio to Erie starting June 1st. I was going to say, "look for me," but I think that you will be easier to find. We are riding south to north. Group of 4, with the youngest being about 58.
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Old 05-24-21, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
Mickelson trail might be tough with a six year old.
Pretty good uphill if your starting from Dead Wood.
Starting from the south end is easier but a long uphill.
+1. The climb south from the Englewood Trailhead is no walk in the park either. Then you have the climb from Mystic before the descent to Hill City. When I rode the trail I encountered a group of kids with a chaperone. They had started in Deadwood and were walking up the climb from Mystic. It was late. No way they made it to Hill City before dark. I left them, finished that climb and bombed the descent. Made a quick grocery stop. By the time I exited the store it was dark.

Another issue is the spacing of services, particularly lodging/legal camping. IIRC, there is no established camping and no lodging between Deadwood and Hill City and only a restaurant and ice cream shop in Rochford. Very little south of Custer as well.

Last edited by indyfabz; 05-24-21 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 05-24-21, 01:03 PM
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You didn't say whether you will be camping or hotels? The Ohio to Erie doesn't allow for easy camping access if that matters to you. On the other hand, the Katy does allow for easy right off trail camping.
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Old 05-25-21, 06:32 AM
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Camping on the Ohio to Erie Trail:
https://ohiotoerietrail.org/assets/u...s-07_27_20.pdf
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Old 05-25-21, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
You didn't say whether you will be camping or hotels? The Ohio to Erie doesn't allow for easy camping access if that matters to you. On the other hand, the Katy does allow for easy right off trail camping.
Ah yes, we’ll be camping! The Katy trail is seeming like a great bet.
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Old 05-25-21, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
+1. The climb south from the Englewood Trailhead is no walk in the park either. Then you have the climb from Mystic before the descent to Hill City. When I rode the trail I encountered a group of kids with a chaperone. They had started in Deadwood and were walking up the climb from Mystic. It was late. No way they made it to Hill City before dark. I left them, finished that climb and bombed the descent. Made a quick grocery stop. By the time I exited the store it was dark.

Another issue is the spacing of services, particularly lodging/legal camping. IIRC, there is no established camping and no lodging between Deadwood and Hill City and only a restaurant and ice cream shop in Rochford. Very little south of Custer as well.
Thanks for chiming in. Yeah, I don’t love the idea of all the climbing either. We’re planning on 16 miles our first day from Deadwood. Wish us luck It’s easy to feel strong and confident as I type this from home!
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Old 05-25-21, 10:15 AM
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Haha, yeah! We’re likely going to do the Katy trail, but yes, if we do the Ohio to Erie you’ll see us! Have a great ride!
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Old 05-25-21, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
Mickelson trail might be tough with a six year old.
Pretty good uphill if your starting from Dead Wood.
Starting from the south end is easier but a long uphill.
I admire your zeal.

Katy trail is easy for kids. Boonville, MO and Jefferson City, has good lodging for 6 kids.
Good riding from either location.
Thanks for the encouragement! Yeah, we’re excited for the Katy trail.
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Old 05-25-21, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Touringwithkids View Post
Thanks for chiming in. Yeah, I don’t love the idea of all the climbing either. We’re planning on 16 miles our first day from Deadwood. Wish us luck It’s easy to feel strong and confident as I type this from home!
Where is there camping 16 miles south of Deadwood?

BTW...Don't expect the Mickelson to be a nice, groomed limestone surface everywhere. Conditions car vary wildly, especially after a lot of rain. When I rode it in 2015 it had a been a super wet spring according to one local I spoke with in Custer. I had to skateboard over a couple of short sections that had been washed out approaching the southern end at Edgemont. On the first day a pretty tree had come down recently, blocking totally blocking the trail. I had to lift my loaded bike pretty high to get it over it.

Another thing to be careful of are the countless bridges. The transitions from trail surface to bridge deck was not always smooth, so slowing down upon approach can be a prudent decision. And speaking of Edgemont, if you are going to camp there and are a light sleeper you might want ear plugs. Both the city park at the north end of town and the official municipal camping area at the south end of town are along a pretty busy rail line, and there are road crossings near both places where the trains blow there horns.

All my gloom and doom aside, it really is a magnificent trail. The state park service really got it right, especially with rest/shelter areas with water. The cisterns were always full, and the water tasted great.

This is where I stayed in Hill City:

Home | Larsson's Crooked Creek Resort

If you scroll down on the home page you can see that you can access the place right from the trail. Mist want to make reservations in high season. Much more shade than the Trailside Park Resort.

French Creek RV Park and Campground in Custer is right along the trail and within easy walking distance of the main drag and its restaurants. Again, reservations might be a good idea. I stayed a bit outside of the center on SD 89. Probably not the best road for kids, and it's not within short walking distance of the town center.
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Old 05-27-21, 03:39 PM
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Sounds like you're set on the Katy Trail, but if you change your mind and end up on Ohio to Erie, I'd suggest skipping the end part within the city of Cincinnati since the bike path ends and leaves you on roads that can be busy for kids. 50 West brewery at Wooster Pike and Newtown Rd is a good starting (or stopping is you're coming south) point. They're working on a connector to get the bike path all the way to the river, but it's not done yet.
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Old 05-27-21, 03:44 PM
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Old 05-27-21, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Where is there camping 16 miles south of Deadwood?


French Creek RV Park and Campground in Custer is right along the trail and within easy walking distance of the main drag and its restaurants. Again, reservations might be a good idea..
The lady that runs this place is the best (Diane?) . It is definitely for RV's but she put me up by the creek behind the house. Hopefully, she would do this for 6 kids.
They had a POT - luck dinner on Sunday. Had a great time. Highly recommended.
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Old 05-28-21, 12:13 AM
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The Katy trail would be a safe choice.
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Old 05-28-21, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
The lady that runs this place is the best (Diane?) . It is definitely for RV's but she put me up by the creek behind the house. Hopefully, she would do this for 6 kids.
They had a POT - luck dinner on Sunday. Had a great time. Highly recommended.
I saw a group of tents there. Wonder if they were in the same location. Don’t know how I missed it when researching campgrounds in the area. I stayed at Fort Welikit on SD 89 a bit outside the town center.
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Old 06-05-21, 06:33 PM
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It went well!

The kids did great on the trail, we were a traveling circus.

the last stretch from 7 miles south of Custer to edgemont was long and hot, 40 mile day. We stayed that night a mile off the trail at a horse camp, and found out that we could have free camped in that general area too.

larsens crooked creek was amazing! The camp host Eric was a stud. Super accommodating and encouraging.

Our almost 6 year old rode 80 of the 120 miles and spent the rest of the time on the follow me tandem device.

now on to the Katy Trail!

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Old 06-05-21, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
The lady that runs this place is the best (Diane?) . It is definitely for RV's but she put me up by the creek behind the house. Hopefully, she would do this for 6 kids.
They had a POT - luck dinner on Sunday. Had a great time. Highly recommended.
dumont, Carsten cottages, amazing place!
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Old 06-06-21, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Touringwithkids View Post
The kids did great on the trail, we were a traveling circus.

the last stretch from 7 miles south of Custer to edgemont was long and hot, 40 mile day. We stayed that night a mile off the trail at a horse camp, and found out that we could have free camped in that general area too.

larsens crooked creek was amazing! The camp host Eric was a stud. Super accommodating and encouraging.

Our almost 6 year old rode 80 of the 120 miles and spent the rest of the time on the follow me tandem device.

now on to the Katy Trail!
Glad you liked Crooked Creek. Doesn’t sound like you had hail. I got caught in a massive storm there. I think the only thing that saved my tent fly was the little tree I was pitched under.

Does the place still do the big breakfast?
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Old 06-08-21, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Glad you liked Crooked Creek. Doesn’t sound like you had hail. I got caught in a massive storm there. I think the only thing that saved my tent fly was the little tree I was pitched under.

Does the place still do the big breakfast?
I don’t recall a breakfast, or seeing anything about it. I spoke with Eric can’t post who was super friendly, and he didn’t mention anything.
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Old 06-10-21, 06:22 AM
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My wife and I just did a few days of rain-interrupted biking on the Erie Canal trail in the Pittsford area - pretty much rode the sections from about 5 miles west of Pittsford east to Palmyra

The trail was in great shape, several areas near towns where construction caused short detours - Fairport and Palmyra.

Based on what I saw, I'd definitely say the Erie Canal ride would be my choice over the GAP for a ride with young kids - much more for them to do and see as the towns are all either on or close to the Canal.
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Old 06-26-21, 10:54 AM
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My daughter and I did the Katy June 6 thru 12 this year. Now I am wondering if we met your family. We actually saw several families with kids, but at one stop late in the week we met a family that meets your description. The husband rode a recumbent tandem with a Bob trailer for the dog, and the wife rode a cargo bike with large panniers and maybe a trailer ... I don't exactly recall. As we were leaving the stop, my daughter said she saw a water bottle that said Utah on it. I almost went back to ask since I went to college in Provo UT and lived in UT a few years before coming east, but I decided not to impose.

We have done the GAP many times, and C&O once. We like the GAP in the direction from Cumberland to Pittsburgh. Same surface as the Katy. Only 150 miles however. The adjacent C&O adds another 180. We stay at Frostburg. I park the car in Cumberland where I rude up the hill, while my wife coasts down the hill for 16 miles, all without gear. The next day we start from Frostburg with our gear and climb 2% grade 8 miles uphill. After that it is slightly downhill for nearly 100 miles which is really nice. Camping and shower opportunities seem excellent to me. Scenery is beautiful with extras like long tunnels and long bridges.

Katy to me was more rustic, but had more cheap or free camping opportunities. Camping stops on Katy were farther apart though. The scenery is typical Midwest farmland with some views of the river, and it provides a much longer trail of crushed limestone than the GAP which has about 140 miles of gravel. The C&O which continues from the GAP is mostly packed dirt which, after a rain, was still ridable but you will get wet and muddy.

Last edited by smacy; 06-28-21 at 06:45 AM. Reason: mispellings
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Old 07-15-21, 03:15 AM
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I really enjoyed both the Erie Canal and Katy trails. The Erie was the most pleasant. Here are links to my experiences:
Simply Cycle: A glorious week on the Erie Canal Trail

Simply Cycle: Old home, old friends and the Katy Trail

Marc
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