Find the magic of Piqua's Loop trail

By Kyrsten French, guest blogger

If the gold standard for bike and pedestrian-friendly pathways is a bike path fully separated from cars, then Piqua is one of very few cities that possesses the platinum standard: a pathway separated from cars that also that loops around the entire city.

“I love Piqua, I love it,” my husband, Phil Moyer, said to me after his first bike ride around the Loop, declaring "you just have to go." We had moved to Piqua in the spring, and happy to discover something recreational to do in our new home, I took his recommendation at the first opportunity. And he was right, my ride around the Loop was amazing and refreshing, even exhilarating.

photo credit: Chris Cousins

The 6.5 -mile Loop fulfills a pragmatic need for safe transportation but feels almost magical in its layout and recreational features. You can start your ride at any of the dozen access points. The Loop takes you along tree-lined paths, past the scenic Great Miami River, through several beautiful City of Piqua parks, and close to downtown shops and restaurants.

The Loop is made of three parts: Piqua City Linear Park (also called the Ohio to Indiana Trail), Canal Run, and River’s Edge (also known as the Great Miami River Recreation Trail). The entire trail is open to walkers, joggers, bikers, and rollerbladers.

Perhaps the most striking stretch of the trail is the section that travels on top of the city’s 140-year-old levee and hydraulic canal system. On the lower section you will overlook the scenery of Piqua’s oldest city park, Fountain Park. On the upper section you see water, which feels suspended and gravity-defying. Fishermen in boats sit on top, while you peer through the tops of ancient trees to view a basketball game taking place 50 feet below.

According to Jim Hemmert, a local cycling enthusiast who annually logs 2,000 miles of pedaling a year, he describes the Loop as two trails in one. “I swear if you ride the path clockwise, you will have a completely different experience than taking it counterclockwise.”

The Loop is part of the nation’s largest paved bike trail network. The Great Miami River Recreation Trail connects Piqua south to Troy, and then all the way to Middletown. A northern section of new trail will connect to Sidney in the next few years.

Mr. Hemmert also swears by the Loop’s ability to attract cyclists from other cities, and not just visitors who bike from Troy to get a beer and a burger from a Piqua restaurant. “I know a couple who drives 80 miles from Indiana specifically to ride the Loop. It’s really remarkable have this kind of recreational asset here.”

Come to Piqua and ride the Loop. While you are here, the Riverway recommends you grab coffee at Winan’s Chocolates + Coffee, or stay for lunch at the new Scottish Thistle restaurant at the Fort Piqua Plaza. Come find the magic!

Directions to a few of the access points of the trail:

Riding directions from Troy

  • From the Great Miami River Trail coming north, you will arrive at the Loop at Lock 9 Park after passing under a railroad bridge. Right will take the rider counter clockwise around the Loop and left is clockwise.

Troy-Sidney Road (adds distance along the Ohio to Indiana Trail, some very brief road riding is necessary for this route):

  • From Interstate 75, head east on US 36 for one mile. Take a right on Troy-Sidney Road and the staging area is on the right about 0.5 mile south of US 36. This is a trailhead to the Ohio to Indiana Trail, which will add extra distance to the ride. Ride west 1.5 miles, then turn right briefly on to Garbry Road, then an immediate left into the Miami Valley Centre Mall property. Take this low-traffic road around the site, staying to the left of the mall building and heading out of the mall property toward E. Ash Street. On the south side of E. Ash, a separated side path connects to the Great Miami River Trail, starting the loop at the oxbow in the river.

Lock 9 Park:

  • From I-75, take US 36 west into Piqua. Take a left at the first light and head straight into Lock 9 Park. You'll have to take a left on Water Street and a quick right into the parking area. From the west, take US 36 through Piqua. Lock 9 Park will be on the right just past the intersection of Water and Main Streets.
  • From County Road 25-A south, take a right onto Water Street from Main Street. From CR 25-A north, take a left on Water Street from Main Street.

City Municipal Building:

  • From I-75, take US 36 west to the intersection of Water and Downing Streets. Turn left on Downing Street and parking is located in the rear of the municipal complex.
  • From US 36 west, head into Piqua. After taking a right from College Street onto Water Street, the municipal complex is 0.5 mile east on your right. Turn right onto Downing or Wayne Streets. Parking is located behind the municipal complex.
  • From CR 25-A west, take a right off Main Street onto Water Street. From CR 25-A east, take a left onto Water Street. The municipal complex is up one block. Park in the rear of the complex.

French Park:

  • From I-75, take US 36 west into Piqua. Stay on US 36 which turns into Water Street. Stay on that road, going straight through the intersection at College Street. French Park is 0.3 mile on your left.
  • From US 36 west, take a left on Sunset Drive (past K-Mart). Take a right on High Street and then a right on Steele Street at the bottom of the hill. Steele Street turns into Water Street. French Park will be on the right.
  • From CR 25-A (Main Street), turn west on Water Street to College Street. Go straight at Water Street past College Street and French Park is up 0.3 mile on the left.

Spiker Road (adds extra distance along the Ohio to Indiana Trail, no road riding required):

  • From I-75, stay on US 36 west through Piqua. Just over a mile past Ace Hardware, turn right onto Spiker Road. Parking area is up 0.25 mile on the right on Spiker Road. Ride east for 1.5 miles, turn left to ride the Loop clockwise or right to ride counterclockwise.