Bike it or hike it, or jog it for that matter; the Richland B & O Trail is an 18-mile trail located in the heart of Richland County Ohio. Built on an abandoned B & O Rail, it became the 70th Rails to Trails project, its asphalt surface provides smooth riding and comfortable walking. It winds in and around the villages of Butler, Bellville and Lexington, and the city of Mansfield.

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Crossing at Lexington-Springmill Rd

This trail has several road crossings, many cross the same highway or road several times, so be mindful of traffic. There is usually not a long wait at any time for a break in traffic, in fact, some of the roads crossed are county roads. It is good, however, to be aware of the crossings, especially when traveling with children.

Start off at Hitchman Park in Butler, a good place to park and find a bit of history about the railway. Ride out from Butler across a rural countryside and enjoy lots of beautiful scenery. The trail runs sort of parallel with Highway 97, along Clear Fork Mohican River. It makes its way to Bellville where there are restrooms located in a restored railroad depot, also rich in information about its history and there is bike parking. Then, at the other end of Bellville, off of Route 97, close to I-71, there is a nice parking lot for vehicles. Ride on through peaceful wooded areas to the village of Lexington, go under the road at Route 42, or Delaware Avenue, in Lexington. Just up ahead, find another place to park and more restrooms. The trail continues into the city of Mansfield, where it ends at North Lake Park, but not before crossing Millsboro Road. Here there is a trailhead offering more parking and an emergency phone.

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All in all, there are enough nice parking areas, and so plenty of places to jump on and off. Go and ride or hike a part of it, or the full 18-mile trail (one-way). The nature is awesome and most of the trail is quite peaceful and quiet. The Richland County Park District keeps it well maintained and I’ve never found it to be too busy. Most folks who use it are friendly and respectful.

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The pictures in this post are from a small portion of the trail from Lexington.

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As always, my opinions are completely my own. Please see disclaimer here.

References and links to more information:
http://www.gormannaturecenter.org/GNC_Bike.html
http://www.traillink.com/trail/richland-bo-trail.aspx

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