This ride travels clockwise, opposite the direction of the full Wayne National Forest Epic
. The ride covers roughly 5 miles of trail that aren't ridden in the full epic route and it's about 10 miles shorter on the total distance.
The Wayne is known for technical riding but this route avoids some of the roughest sections in the forest. Don't worry—it's still a very challenging ride but a great option if you aren't sure you want to tackle the full epic. It's also great if you've already done the full epic and want to do another big ride. Reversing the direction of trails in the full epic and adding 5 miles of different trail segments gives this ride a totally different flavor. The big downhill at the end of the Ohio View Trail
is the grand finale finish on this epic journey!
You'll find restrooms and showers at Leith Run Campground. B & J's gas station in Newport can get you a quick snack and fueled up. They also have a decent beer selection. Also in Newport, The Jug dairy bar has outdoor, riverside dining (burgers, hotdogs, fries, ice cream etc). A short drive across the bridge in Saint Mary's, WV you'll find Station Pizza and the Box Car diner. A 25 minute drive south on SR 7 will get you to Historic Downtown Marietta with numerous dining and lodging options.
The ride begins and ends at Leith Run Campground. The campground is located roughly 5 miles north of Newport, Ohio on SR 7. There is plenty of parking and options for RV or tent camping. There is also access to restrooms and showers.
Start by riding toward the exit of the campground. On your left you'll see a small, paved path. Follow it for roughly 100 feet then turn right onto the wooden boardwalk. This is the start of the Scenic River Trail
. The trail starts out with a gentle, flat stretch of trail leading you to a crossing of SR 7. Continue straight across the road on the Scenic River Trail
. From here, the trail begins a series of switchbacks, climbing close to 500 feet to the ridge top. Fall and early spring offer great views of the Ohio River while climbing up.
Once you reach the top, the trail is fairly smooth and rolls fast along the ridge top with a series of small ups and downs. At the end of the Scenic River Trail
, you pop out into a small gravel parking lot. Follow the parking lot out to the road (CR 9) and continue straight across the road on the 9 Bell Trail
. This trail begins with a fun downhill that includes a few short technically sections. After reaching the creek crossing at the bottom, you begin climbing a short, steep section up through a rock outcropping/boulder field.
Once on top, the trail mellows out and climbs gently for the next mile or so. Near the half way point, the trail gets very close to CR 9 and you can easily jump out to the road here. The next descent and climb are very steep. Taking a left on CR 9 then turning left on Bell Cemetery Road will get you back on course and allow you to skip this section. The last downhill on 9 Bell Trail
drops you down to Cady Run Road. Cross the creek and the trail continues on your right. This is a step climb with a few hike-a-bike sections. The trail skirts the edge of a large sandstone cliff and passes a small cave on its way up.
When you top out on the first uphill section if you look to your right, the creek has under-cut the rock forming a cave that it passes through. A quick off-trail hike over the hill will get you a closer look at it. Continuing up the trail, you'll pass a small double waterfall on your right before the last hike-a-bike section. Shortly after this, the trail tops out on Bell Cemetery Road. Continue straight across the road onto the Archer's Fork Loop Trail
You are about to descend the legendary V-Brake Hill. The hill got it's name back in the day when bikes had cantilever brakes and they weren't enough to get you stopped but v-brakes gave you a shot at getting slowed down! Even with the disc brakes of today, this hill is no joke! It's a super ripping downhill but watch your speed going into the steep drop-in!
At the bottom, the trail traverses along the creek for a while before reaching the next climb known to locals as Gray Skull. This climbs is broken up into for stages and the mid-point passes along a large sandstone cliff. The name comes from a section of the cliff face that looks like a skull. On the other side, the downhill is twisty, fun, and flows well with little to no pedaling required to get to the bottom. At the bottom, before crossing the creek, you'll turn right onto the Jackson Run Trail
. The Jackson Run Trail
follows a small, rock bottom creek meandering its way to the ridge top then starts working its way down the valley on the other side to CR 9.
From here, take a left on CR 9 following it for roughly 1 mile climbing up to SR 260. Turn right on SR 260. In about 100 yards, you'll see the Ohio View Trail
on your right. Turn right onto the Ohio View Trail
. You'll be on this trail for the next 8+ miles. It's mostly non-technical but has some surprise gnarly sections and several nice climbs and descents along the way. When the leaves are off the trees, you can enjoy a nice overlook above the Ohio River before the last downhill. At the bottom turn right on SR 7 (it's flat!) and follow it 3 miles back to the campground. Enjoy!
This region has a long history in the oil and gas industry dated back to 1860. You'll see oil and gas relics along with active wells in the area.