Black River Hike and Bike Trail In Missouri

Here is everything you need to know about the Black River Hike and Bike Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Missouri
  • Length: 3.25 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Metroparks Toledo
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: Info not available.

The Black River Hike and Bike Trail is a popular recreational trail located in Lorain County, Ohio. The trail follows the course of the Black River, offering visitors a scenic and enjoyable outdoor experience. The history of the trail dates back to the early 19th century when the Black River played a significant role in the region’s industrial development.

During the 1800s, the Black River served as a vital transportation route for the booming industries in the area, including lumber, coal, and iron. The river was used to transport these goods to Lake Erie, where they could be shipped to other parts of the country. As a result, a network of canals and locks was constructed along the river to facilitate navigation and trade.

However, with the decline of the industrial era in the mid-20th century, the Black River lost its economic importance, and the canals fell into disuse. Recognizing the potential for recreational use, local authorities and community members began efforts to transform the abandoned canal towpaths into a multi-purpose trail. The project aimed to preserve the historical significance of the Black River while providing a recreational space for residents and visitors.

Over the years, the Black River Hike and Bike Trail has undergone several expansions and improvements. Today, the trail stretches for approximately 11 miles, offering a variety of activities such as hiking, biking, and birdwatching. Along the trail, visitors can still see remnants of the old canal system, including locks and aqueducts, providing a glimpse into the region’s industrial past. The Black River Hike and Bike Trail stands as a testament to the area’s history and serves as a beloved recreational resource for the community.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Black River Reservation – This is the main access point for the Black River Hike and Bike Trail. It is located in Elyria, Ohio and offers ample parking, restrooms, and picnic areas.

2. Bur Oak Picnic Area – This access point is located within the Black River Reservation and provides parking, picnic tables, and restrooms.

3. Steel Mill Trailhead – This trailhead is located near the Lorain Steel Mill and offers parking and access to the trail.

4. Cascade Park – Located in Elyria, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It also offers amenities such as picnic areas, playgrounds, and a waterfall.

5. High Meadows Picnic Area – This access point is located within the Black River Reservation and offers parking, picnic tables, and restrooms.

6. French Creek Reservation – This access point is located in Sheffield Village and provides parking and access to the trail. It also offers amenities such as picnic areas and a nature center.

7. Day’s Dam Picnic Area – Located within the Black River Reservation, this access point offers parking, picnic tables, and restrooms.

8. Black River Landing – This access point is located in Lorain and provides parking and access to the trail. It is also a popular spot for events and festivals.

9. Lakeview Park – Located in Lorain, this access point offers parking and access to the trail. It also features amenities such as a beach, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

10. Century Park – This access point is located in Elyria and provides parking and access to the trail. It also offers amenities such as picnic areas and a skate park.

Transportation Available

1. Black River Transit – Local bus service providing transportation around the Black River area.
2. Black River Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering a variety of bicycles for exploring the Black River Hike and Bike Trail.
3. Black River Taxi – Taxi service available for convenient transportation to and from the Black River Hike and Bike Trail.
4. Black River Shuttle – Shuttle service offering transportation to various trailheads along the Black River Hike and Bike Trail.
5. Black River Pedicabs – Pedicab service providing eco-friendly transportation options for short distances around the Black River area.


The amenities available at the Black River Hike and Bike Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities that you might find:

1. Restrooms: Public restrooms or portable toilets may be available along the trail for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There may be designated parking areas or parking lots near the trailhead or various access points for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Some trails may have designated camping areas or nearby campgrounds where visitors can set up tents or park RVs for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There might be designated picnic areas along the trail with picnic tables, benches, or shelters where visitors can enjoy meals or snacks.

5. Water Fountains: Drinking water fountains may be available at certain points along the trail to keep visitors hydrated.

6. Bike Racks: Bike racks or bike parking areas may be provided for cyclists to securely park their bikes while they explore the trail on foot.

7. Information Kiosks: Information kiosks or signage may be present along the trail to provide visitors with maps, trail information, safety guidelines, and other relevant details.

8. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead or main access point, you might find additional amenities such as visitor centers, information booths, or ranger stations.

9. Benches: Benches or seating areas may be scattered along the trail, providing visitors with places to rest, relax, or enjoy the surrounding scenery.

10. Trash Receptacles: Trash cans or bins may be placed at regular intervals along the trail to encourage visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

It’s important to note that the availability of these amenities can vary depending on the specific location and management of the Black River Hike and Bike Trail. It’s recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most accurate and up-to-date information on the amenities provided.

Nearby Services

1. Black River Inn – Cozy lodging option near the trail with scenic views.
2. Riverside Cafe – Quaint eatery offering delicious meals and snacks.
3. Black River Campground – Campsite with basic amenities for outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Trailside Grill – Casual restaurant serving a variety of dishes, perfect for refueling after a hike or bike ride.
5. Black River Hospital – Nearby medical facility providing emergency services.
6. Riverfront Motel – Convenient lodging option with easy access to the trail.
7. Trailside Market – Small grocery store offering essentials for hikers and bikers.
8. Black River Police Station – Local law enforcement agency providing emergency services and assistance.

Black River Hike and Bike Trail Difficulty Notes

The Black River Hike and Bike Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for both experienced hikers and beginners. The trail spans approximately 10 miles and features a mix of flat sections and gentle inclines, providing a good balance of challenge and enjoyment. With well-maintained paths and clear signage, navigating the trail is relatively easy. However, some sections may require a bit more effort due to uneven terrain or occasional obstacles. Overall, the Black River Hike and Bike Trail offers a rewarding outdoor experience that can be enjoyed by individuals of varying fitness levels.

Features And Attractions

The Black River Hike and Bike Trail offers a variety of scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable attractions along the trail:

1. Black River Reservation: This expansive park is the starting point of the trail and offers beautiful views of the Black River, wetlands, and forests.

2. Steel Mill Trailhead: As you continue along the trail, you’ll pass by the remnants of Lorain’s steel industry, providing a glimpse into the city’s industrial history.

3. Charleston Falls Preserve: Located near the trail, this nature preserve features a stunning 37-foot waterfall, hiking trails, and diverse wildlife.

4. Cascade Park: This historic park in Elyria offers picturesque views of the Black River, a scenic waterfall, and a variety of recreational activities.

5. French Creek Reservation: As you approach Sheffield Lake, you’ll encounter this reservation, which boasts wetlands, forests, and a boardwalk that offers panoramic views of the area.

6. Lakeview Park: Situated along the shores of Lake Erie, this park offers a sandy beach, picnic areas, and a historic bathhouse, providing a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the lake views.

7. Lorain Lighthouse: Located near the trail’s endpoint, the Lorain Lighthouse is a historic landmark that offers stunning views of Lake Erie and the surrounding area.

8. Black River Landing: This riverfront park in Lorain hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, providing a vibrant atmosphere and scenic views of the river.

9. Century Park: Situated in Elyria, this park features a beautiful lake, walking trails, and a gazebo, offering a peaceful and scenic spot to rest along the trail.

10. Wellington Reservation: Located slightly off the trail, this reservation offers diverse habitats, including wetlands, prairies, and forests, along with hiking trails and a nature center.

These are just a few of the many attractions and landmarks you can experience while exploring the Black River Hike and Bike Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and pedestrians should yield to horses and give them ample space.
4. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
5. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
6. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
7. No camping or open fires are allowed along the trail.
8. Do not litter and help keep the trail clean.
9. Use caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially when crossing roads or intersections.
10. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Black River Hike and Bike Trail is a popular outdoor destination that offers stunning natural beauty and recreational opportunities throughout the year. Located in the heart of Ohio, this trail is known for its picturesque landscapes, diverse wildlife, and peaceful atmosphere. While the trail is accessible year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting.

One of the most recommended times to explore the Black River Hike and Bike Trail is during the spring season, particularly in April and May. During this time, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, blossoming trees, and lush greenery. The weather is usually mild and pleasant, making it ideal for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the trail. Springtime also brings an abundance of bird species, making it a great opportunity for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Another fantastic time to visit the Black River Hike and Bike Trail is in the fall, specifically during September and October. As the leaves change color, the trail transforms into a breathtaking display of autumn hues. The crisp air and cooler temperatures create a comfortable environment for outdoor activities. Fall is also a great time to witness the migration of various bird species, adding to the trail’s allure.

It’s important to note that the Black River Hike and Bike Trail does not have any seasonal closures. It remains open year-round, allowing visitors to enjoy its beauty in all seasons. However, it’s worth mentioning that during the winter months, the trail may be covered in snow or ice, making it more suitable for winter sports like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. It’s always advisable to check weather conditions and trail updates before planning a visit during the colder months.

Overall, the Black River Hike and Bike Trail offers a delightful experience throughout the year. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring or the enchanting scenery of fall, this trail is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trail: The Black River Hike and Bike Trail offers a fully accessible trail for individuals using wheelchairs, ensuring a smooth and barrier-free experience.
2. Paved Surface: The trail features a paved surface, allowing for easy navigation and mobility for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Parking: ADA-compliant parking spaces are available near the trail entrance, providing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
4. Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are located along the trail, equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair users.
5. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail offers accessible benches and rest areas at regular intervals, providing opportunities for individuals to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Signage: Clear and visible signage with Braille and large fonts is provided along the trail, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can navigate easily.
7. Accessible Picnic Areas: ADA-compliant picnic areas are available along the trail, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy outdoor dining experiences.
8. Assistance Animals: The trail welcomes service animals, ensuring individuals with disabilities have the necessary support during their visit.
9. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are installed along the trail, providing hydration options for all visitors.
10. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is designed to be accessible, featuring ramps, curb cuts, and other accommodations to facilitate entry for individuals with mobility challenges.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any trail closures or maintenance updates before starting your hike or bike ride.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress accordingly.
3. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by yielding appropriately and following posted rules.
4. Hydration: Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout your journey.
5. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
6. Insect Repellent: Use insect repellent to avoid bites from mosquitoes or ticks.
7. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
8. Emergency Contacts: Have emergency contact numbers readily available in case of any accidents or incidents.
9. Trail Maps: Obtain a trail map and familiarize yourself with the route before starting your hike or bike ride.
10. Cell Phone: Carry a fully charged cell phone for communication in case of emergencies.
11. Trail Markers: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to stay on the designated path.
12. Wildlife Awareness: Respect wildlife and keep a safe distance, avoiding any interaction or feeding.
13. Buddy System: Hike or bike with a partner or inform someone about your planned route and estimated return time.
14. Fitness Level: Assess your fitness level and choose a trail section that matches your abilities.
15. Time Management: Plan your hike or bike ride to ensure you have enough daylight to complete the trail safely.
16. Equipment Check: Inspect your bike or hiking gear before starting to ensure everything is in proper working condition.
17. Stay on the Trail: Avoid venturing off the designated trail to minimize the risk of getting lost or damaging the environment.
18. Be Alert: Stay aware of your surroundings and be cautious of any potential hazards on the trail.
19. Leave No Trace: Pack out all trash and respect the natural environment by leaving it as you found it.
20. Enjoyment: Have fun and enjoy the beauty of the Black River Hike and Bike Trail while prioritizing safety.

Conservation Notes

The Black River Hike and Bike Trail is a conservation success story, as it has been carefully managed to protect and preserve the natural environment surrounding it. The trail is located in a region known for its rich biodiversity, and efforts have been made to ensure that the trail’s construction and maintenance do not harm the delicate ecosystems in the area.

Conservation measures have been implemented to minimize the impact of human activity on the trail. For instance, designated areas have been established to prevent disturbance to sensitive habitats and species. Additionally, the trail is regularly monitored to identify any potential threats to the local flora and fauna, allowing for prompt action to be taken to mitigate these risks.

The conservation status of the Black River Hike and Bike Trail is considered to be in good standing. The trail management actively engages in habitat restoration projects, such as planting native vegetation and removing invasive species, to enhance the overall ecological health of the area. This proactive approach ensures that the trail remains a sustainable recreational resource while safeguarding the natural balance of the surrounding environment.

Overall, the conservation efforts surrounding the Black River Hike and Bike Trail have been successful in maintaining the integrity of the local ecosystems. By prioritizing the protection of the natural environment, the trail management has created a sustainable recreational space that allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature while minimizing their impact on the delicate ecosystems along the trail.

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