Cleveland: Bicycle route from Ohio to Erie Trail to downtown Cleveland with Map

Cleveland is a little more difficult than other towns along the Ohio to Erie Trail. There are plenty of places to stay and eat and hang out at in Cleveland. The problem stems from where the trail terminates in town.
(Please Note: There are some major construction issues in Cleveland that will be present for the next several years, presenting obstacles to the regular route. We have created a map with directions for getting around these trouble spots. Also included are directions for the “Dippers” out there that actually want to dip your tires in the waters of Lake Erie. Dippers and Construction Workaround)

UPDATE APRIL 2013 see bridge construction update here. The Abbey Avenue bridge construction is completed. The bridge is open in both directions. The new bikeway pedestrian section of the Hope Memorial Bridge is complete and open.

Bicycle Route to downtown Cleveland from the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. West 3rd Street Bridge work around for the Ohio to Erie Trail

Bicycle Route to downtown Cleveland from the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. West 3rd Street Bridge work around for the Ohio to Erie Trail.

The trail comes to a sputtering end at the Harvard Avenue Trail Head Parking lot, in the shadows of the big blue AlCoA plant on the hill and the Harvard Denison bridge just ahead in the distance.

Trailhead on Harvard Road

This photo is looking east down old Harvard Road. Just beyond the rail road tracks is the trail head for the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath and the Ohio to Erie Trail turns to a road route. The large building in the background is the Alcoa plant and it can be seen for miles. The car is on the bridge that crosses the Cuyahoga River.

At this point, you are not really downtown, yet. From this trail head parking lot, the trail becomes a road route, following surface roads.
From the trail head parking lot, turn left (west) onto Harvard Avenue. You will cross the Cuyahoga River in about 200 feet. Just past the river, in another 200 feet, you will turn right at the light, onto Jennings Road (north).
There is a sports bar/restaurant at the corner of Harvard and Jennings, called Cleats. Pretty good bar food (burgers, etc.) and decent beer (Great Lakes). There is a bike rack on the Jennings road side.

bike route to downtown Cleveland

This photo is showing the intersection of Harvard and Jennings with Cleat's in the background.

The bike route continues north on Jennings. There are green bike route signs pointing you to the Tremont neighborhood. In about a half mile, the bicycle trail picks up to take you behind a large retail complex, Steelyard Commons, in homage to the once magnificent steel mills that used to stand there. There is a gigantic Walmart, Target, Home Depot, a Subway, Chipolte, Steak and Shake, IHOP and so on. The trail runs behind the complex in a fenced-in corridor along side a train yard and an old steel mill.

At Steelyard Commons the bicycle route leaves Jennings Road and returns to trail.

At Steelyard Commons the bicycle route leaves Jennings Road and returns to trail.

The trail runs behind the Steelyard Commons complex in a fenced-in corridor along side a train yard and an old steel mill.

The trail runs behind the Steelyard Commons complex in a fenced-in corridor along side a train yard and an old steel mill.

Just north of Steelyard Commons, the Ohio to Erie Trail route sputters again. The most direct way to downtown (as indicated on the Ohio to Erie Trail website) would have been to turn right onto Quigley, just past the shopping center, adjacent to the electric sub station. You would follow Quigley for about a half mile until you reached West 3rd Street, where you would make a left. You would follow West 3rd for about a mile, cross the river on an old lift bridge, turn right on Canal Rd., just over the bridge, go up Canal then right on Commercial, up Commercial and you would pop out right downtown, across from The Indian’s stadium.
That won’t work, however, because the lift bridge on West 3rd is closed for repairs until 2013. At least. Soooo….
Here’s the Carol and Guy approved alternate route:

The official route of the Ohio to Erie Trail follows Quigly down hill to get to downtown Cleveland but the bridge is CLOSED. The alternate route is to go uphill and cut through the Tremont neighborhood, using West 14th Street.

The official route of the Ohio to Erie Trail follows Quigly down hill to get to downtown Cleveland but the bridge is CLOSED. The alternate route is to go uphill and cut through the Tremont neighborhood, using West 14th Street.

After Steelyard Commons, turn left to go uphill on Quigly. There is actually a bicycle path connector that will takes you from the path behind Steelyard Commons under Quigley through two short tunnels and up the hill on the other side of the road.

Approaching tunnel number 1 that takes you under Quigley Road north of Steelyard Commons.

Approaching tunnel number 1 that takes you under Quigley Road north of Steelyard Commons.

Once at the top of the hill (it’s not too bad), you will be at a traffic round-a-bout. Head to your right on West 14th Street. Proceed along 14th. (There is a lot of construction going on for the next few years. From this point north, you may need to take this alternate route)When you cross Clark Avenue, your are entering the Tremont neighborhood. It’s a kind of trendy place with lots of cool restaurants and pubs along the way, especially around Lincoln Park.

Fans of Christmas Story movie turn here.

Fans of Christmas Story movie turn here.

Proceed the length of 14th, ignoring the “End of Bike Route” sign, until you cross Fairfield.

Ignore the “End of Bike Route” sign and continue on West 14th Street.

Ignore the “End of Bike Route” sign and continue on West 14th Street.

At this point it looks as if you are getting onto the highway ramp. There is a Greek Orthodox Church on the corner. Proceed up the ramp. At the last second there is a road off the ramp on the right- follow it. It’s just a short little connector road barely 500 feet long. I don’t even think it has a name. It will take you to Abbey Avenue.

The highway Ramp is straight ahead, The church on the right, and the short connector to Abbey Avenue is in the center. During construction you may need to go around the block.

The highway Ramp is straight ahead, The church on the right, and the short connector to Abbey Avenue is in the center. During construction you may need to go around the block.

Turn left on Abbey. (At this time there is a lot of construction and the connector may be closed. The alternate is to turn right on Fairfield, left on W11th and then left onto Abbey- in essence, just going around the block) There are some cool views of the city along this route. Also, if you were to instead turn right on Abbey, then left on 13th, a block up is Sokolowski’s University Inn- a famous Cleveland restaurant and pub with an awesome view.

This the other end of the Abbey Avenue connector. (Abbey Avenue is crossing left to right.) Sokolowski’s University Inn is the building on the right. Turn left to cross the Abbey Avenue Bridge.

This the other end of the Abbey Avenue connector. (Abbey Avenue is crossing left to right.) Sokolowski’s University Inn is the building on the right. Turn left to cross the Abbey Avenue Bridge.

Anyway, if you had turned left on Abbey, you will go under the highway and then cross a bridge, with downtown visible on your right.

The view of downtown Cleveland from Abbey Avenue including the new bridge construction on I90.

The view of downtown Cleveland from Abbey Avenue including the new bridge construction on I90.

Roll down Abbey until it dead ends into Gehring Avenue. Turn right onto Gehring. At Lorain Road (Route 10), you will make a right to go downtown.

The view looking towards downtown Cleveland from Gehring Avenue near the West Side Market. The red building is the RTA station, Cleveland’s public transportion, that includes busses with bike racks and trains.

The view looking towards downtown Cleveland from Gehring Avenue near the West Side Market. The red building is the RTA station, Cleveland’s public transportation, that includes buses with bike racks and trains.

When you are at Lorain and Gehring, you will notice a tall tower across the street. That’s the historic West Side Market. It’s an old-world farmers market. You absolutely must stop in. Trust me on this one. It’s huge and there is an inside market and an outside market. They are open on Mondays & Wednesdays: 7AM – 4PM and Fridays & Saturdays: 7AM – 6PM. Also in that very same area is the Great Lakes Brewing Company restaurant and bar as well as The Garden Market Brewery and many other small shops, bars, restaurants, a bike shop and a new hostel. I repeat, it’s worth a stop in this area!

The West Side Market is celebrating 100 years this year.  They are open on Mondays & Wednesdays: 7AM - 4PM and Fridays & Saturdays: 7AM - 6PM.

The West Side Market is celebrating 100 years this year. They are open on Mondays & Wednesdays: 7AM - 4PM and Fridays & Saturdays: 7AM - 6PM.

The Cleveland Hostel.

The Cleveland Hostel, located just one block south of the West Side Market is now open.

The Great Lakes Brewing Company located across the street from The West Side Market.

The Great Lakes Brewing Company located across the street from The West Side Market.

Many many places to eat and drink along West 25th Street

Many many places to eat and drink along West 25th Street

The Market Garden Brewery just opened and they make really good beer. Pictured here is the Viking and Trouble IPAs.

The Market Garden Brewery just opened and they make really good beer. Pictured here is the Viking and Trouble IPAs.

Back to Lorain and Gehring: If your turned right off of Gehring onto Lorain, you will be heading into downtown Cleveland. It’s just over the beautiful Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. Notice the art deco giants, the “Guardians of Traffic,” on either end of the bridge. By the end of the summer of 2012, there should be a nice 14’ wide bike lane across the north side of the bridge. Why they didn’t put a lane for both direction, I’ll never know, but I digress.
When you cross the bridge, you will be in downtown Cleveland, across from the Indian’s ballpark, roughly in the same place you would have arrived at had the old West 3rd Street bridge been open. At this point, Lorain Road turns into Carnegie Avenue. Stay on Carnegie and pass the ballpark. Just across East 9th on your right is the Hilton Garden Inn, the closest hotel to the Ohio to Erie Trail. Turn left on East 9th to get to Lake Erie, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Great Lakes Science Center and to explore downtown.
Also, just about 5 miles east of downtown is the world class <a href=”http://www.clevelandart.org/” target=”_blank”>Cleveland Museum of Art</a> in University Circle. CMA is always free (except for some special exhibitions) and is closed on Mondays. Also in University Circle is the Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Natural History, The Crawford Aviation and Automobile Museum, and soon, the new Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).
It’s easy to get to University Circle from downtown Cleveland. Use Euclid Avenue, as it has been designated as a bike route with bike lanes running it’s length. Take Euclid (Route 20) out to East Boulevard. Turn left (north) on East Boulevard and all of the museums are right in front of you.
Welcome to Cleveland.

Where to stay:
The Cleveland Hostel on West 25th.
There are a lot of Hotels in downtown Cleveland with the Hilton Garden Inn being the closest to the trail.
Hilton Garden Inn
Marriott
Renaissance Cleveland
The Ritz-Carlton
Hampton Inn
Holiday Inn Express
Radisson
Double Tree
Residence Inn
Wyndham
Embassy Suites

Where to eat:
Cleveland has an enormous amount of cool places to eat. In addition to the West Side Market, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Market Garden Brewery, on West 25th Street, there are a lot of restaurants downtown, especially along West 6th Street and in Tremont.
Tremont Taphouse, Tremont
Prosperity Club, Tremont

Where to drink beer:
Oh my, Cleveland has some breweries!
Great Lakes Brewing
Market Garden Brewery
Buckeye Beer Engine
The Indigo Imp Brewery
The Brew Kettle
Fat Heads

Bicycle shops:
Joy Machines by the West Side Market
Fridrichs on Lorain Road
The Ohio City Bicycle Coop
Century Cycles

Music:
The Parkview. Awesome Blues, especially the Wednesday night jam. Great food, too. One of my favorite places in the city. Period. Westside
The Happy Dog. Very near the Parkview. Westside
Brothers Lounge. Blues. Westside
The Mardi Gras. Blues, Jazz. Downtown. Good food.
Peabodys. Downtown.
Wilberts. Downtown.
House of Blues Downtown.
Horseshoe Casino Downtown.

View of downtown from Tremont. You can see the West 3rd Street Lift Bridge that is closed and interupting the Ohio to Erie Trail. You can also see the Hilton Garden Inn, the closest hotel to the trail.

View of downtown from Tremont. You can see the West 3rd Street Lift Bridge that is closed and interupting the Ohio to Erie Trail. You can also see the Hilton Garden Inn, the closest hotel to the trail.

 

 

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8 Responses to Cleveland: Bicycle route from Ohio to Erie Trail to downtown Cleveland with Map

  1. bkdoc says:

    I love your blog site!

    I have a request of you. I will be riding the entire Ohio to Erie Trail the week of Labor Day, beginning in Cleveland. I am grateful for your helpful information, since 3rd St. bridge is out. However, trying to read your information and thinking in reverse is just a little difficult, knowing that in larger cities you can’t always simply do things in reverse.

    Would you be willing to give me simple street by street instructions beginning at the Center St./Merwin Ave. start point as listed on the Ohio to Erie Trail website? Or if that is an inappropriate place to begin, wherever you think would be a good place to start, taking me to the trail head near the steelyards. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    • Carolyn says:

      bkdoc:
      Of course we would be delighted to help you with your route if you promise to send us some stories and pictures!
      You are correct, you cannot reverse the route from the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath to downtown Cleveland because the Abbey Avenue bridge is currently under construction and is only open in one direction. urgh
      But fear not, there is another way to go!
      Please send more information. When you begin riding The Ohio to Erie Trail in Cleveland will you have a car? Are you looking for a place to park, or get dropped off, or will you already be on your bike?
      Send some more details such as what kind of bike are your riding? Is this your first attempt at riding The Ohio to Erie Trail? Have you done other touring? How much time do have for this this tour? Are you planning on going all the way to Cincinnati? Are you riding solo?
      Wander around on the “blog” section to read about our day to day adventures from when we rode the trail north to south and back in May and June 2012. Look through the “Trail Maps” tab as many sections apply to The Ohio to Erie Trail and the lodging section also has good information for you. Even the reviews section contain photos of The Ohio to Erie Trail.
      Thanks for your interest and we look forward to learning more about your tour.
      Carolyn
      PS more maps in the works, stay tuned…

  2. bkdoc says:

    Carolyn,

    I will be riding solo and will be dropped off. I will be riding a touring bike with rear panniers (a Trek 520). I am doing a scouting ride of the trail in preparation for a group ride of 15 – 30 adults during the summer of 2013. The ride is being sponsored by Butler Springs Christian Camp in southwest Ohio and Round Lake Christian Camp, near Wooster. I will be organizing all of the logistics for the 2013 tour.

    The plans for the scouting ride are as follows:
    Tuesday (September 4) – Cleveland to Millersburg
    Wednesday (Sept. 5) – Millersburg to Sunbury
    Thursday (Sept. 6) – Sunbury to Xenia
    Friday (Sept. 7) – Xenia to Newtown

    I’ve ridden GOBA a handful of times, TOSRV the same. But I have never ridden loaded. I will be lightly loaded, clothes only. I will not be carrying bedding as I have housing arrangements already made in each of those towns. This is the first time I will have ridden the Ohio to Erie Trail. However, I have ridden portions of the towpath, the trail going into Mt. Vernon, and the entirety of the trail from London to Newtown. My biggest concerns are Cleveland and Columbus.

    I will be glad to send you an accounting of my venture. Thanks so much for your help.

    Jim

    • Carolyn says:

      Jim:
      Thank you for the reply. Your itinerary is much faster than the pace we chose but I have heard of others accomplishing the route in a similar fashion. Day 1 looks to be the toughest.
      If it were me I would get dropped off at the Harvard Road Trail Head. If you have the dream of actually starting at Lake Erie I can work out a route for you but it would add 5 to 6 miles of on-road, in-the-city riding with some zigs and zags due to current bridge and road construction issues.
      I will also hustle to get a route description of the on-road section between Dalton (west end of Sippo Valley Trail) and Fredericksburg (north end of the Holmes County Trail).
      We are scheming on heading down to Columbus to ride the trails to gain some clarity on that route. We got through it with the generosity of locals escorting us along the ups and downs and twists of the Olentangy River Trail.
      Thanks for the inspiration! Now I want to go!
      When we first got back my Mom asked me if I would do it again??? The answer is Yes!
      PS Guy will be thrilled that you chose a Trek 520. Welcome to the Trek touring fan club! He will want to know is it new or old?
      Carolyn

  3. hartmame says:

    This looks like the way I went except that I wanted to put my front tire in Lake Erie. I was traveling solo and didn’t get a chance to take any photos of this part of my ride. The Abby Road connector was closed when I went through but the guys working on it helped me lift my bike through anyway. I headed to the park at the end of …W 64th I think before heading back into town to get picked up. Wish IHad found this site sooner!

    • Guy says:

      Cool! Thanks for leaving your comments.
      Because of what you and others have been telling us, we have recently added a map with directions to get around all of the construction. It’ll be going on for years. Also, in the same entry, we added directions to Lake Erie for all you “Dippers” out there!
      Construction and Dipping directions

  4. hartmame says:

    I stopped at the Cleveland Metro Park visitor center. It’s just before the end of the bike path. I had lost my map for Cleveland and they were great. They have a great facility and I was able to get out of heat and buy a cold drink while getting help finding my way to a beach access where I could get my bike to the water. Since I was riding solo it was nice to have this safe feeling stop before heading on to the city streets. It might be a good place to add to you map.

  5. Pingback: Mary rode The Ohio to Erie Trail in July 2012 | IGotABike

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