Dayton Loop (8 miles)
The 8-mile loop is the backbone of the region's 350-mile paved trail network.
Editor’s Note: The Helena Street Bridge is being reconstructed. You can choose to ride the full 8 miles and then turn back around and return for a nearly 16-mile ride. The other option would be to take a detour near the end of your ride. Soon after you pass the 1000-foot-long mural on your way back to Helena Street, you can ramp up at Temple Israel/Korean War Veterans memorial (about 7 miles into your ride). Turn left at the Riverside Drive Bridge and get off your bike. Walk it across the bridge and then turn left to get back on the trail. About 150 yards ahead, you’ll come to the pedestrian bridge. Cross the bridge to Deeds Point and follow the trail along North Bend Boulevard to your starting point. The Helena Street Bridge is schedule to reopen in early 2018.
In downtown Dayton, an 8-mile loop of the Great Miami River Bike Trail provides some of the best views of the city. Public parking is available at Island MetroPark on Helena Street. Cross the street and turn left on the sidewalk, then right on the trail headed south between North Bend Boulevard. and the Great Miami River.
If you’re passing by on a summer day around the top of the hour, you may catch sight of the enormous RiverScape fountain when its five jets show off at the confluence of the Great Miami and Mad rivers. Ride across the Mad River on the pedestrian bridge and turn right to pass under Patterson Boulevard to RiverScape MetroPark and its bike hub, Dayton inventor’s walk, and a seasonal snack bar.
When you’re ready, ramp down at RiverScape to the trail and continue downstream past the River Run paddling play park and around the curve below. About 2 miles later, ramp up to share quiet Veteran’s Parkway. As the road curves left toward Patterson Boulevard – site of the old Miami & Erie Canal – cyclists turn right on the sidewalk and approach the intersection. From the trail, turn right onto the sidewalk of the Stewart Street Bridge across the Great Miami River.
At the end of the bridge, turn right onto the trail as it follows Edwin C. Moses Boulevard back upstream, then ramps down to follow the river’s edge. At Wolf Creek, you can turn left and take that trail to a ramp at Broadway where only a couple of blocks away, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park’s Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center is located. Otherwise, continue along the Great Miami Trail to just before I-75. There you can ramp up to the base of the red-roofed Dayton Art Institute, or check out the River Walk area atop the levee and enjoy the skyline from one of the swinging benches.
Continuing on the trail, you will travel close to the 1,000-foot-long mural, then curve past the Korean War Memorial and modern structure of Temple Israel. As you continue on the trail, watch for Great Blue Herons and other creatures fishing below the Island Park low dam. The trail then ramps up to a narrow section along the historic prairie style building of the Dayton Canoe Club. Reaching Helena Street again, turn right on the bridge sidewalk to cross the Great Miami River. Carefully cross Helena Street to return to Island MetroPark.