RiverScape MetroPark to Huffman Dam (14 miles round trip)
The Mad River Trail will lead you through Eastwood MetroPark, on to the Huffman Dam and the Wright Brothers Memorial.
Begin your journey at RiverScape MetroPark where free parking weekends and evenings is available at the Miami Conservancy District, behind the 38 E. Monument Ave. building. Cross East Monument Avenue to enter the park. Walk your bike through the park if it is busy, then pass between the two odalisques on the river side of the park to find a ramp down to the Great Miami River’s edge. Pause to enjoy the 1,000-foot long mural gracing an MCD floodwall across the river or watch kayakers play in the River Run structure. Make a sharp right turn once you reach the bottom and travel upstream through the Founder’s Point Pavilion – where the first European settlers of the city are thought to have landed after traveling up the river from Cincinnati.
If you’re passing by on a summer day around the top of the hour, you may catch sight of the enormous RiverScape fountains when they show off at the confluence of the Great Miami and Mad rivers. Once you’ve passed the confluence, you are now on the Mad River Recreation Trail, passing Tech Town and an industrial area. On your right you will notice an old stone abutment, the remains of an aqueduct built so the Miami & Erie Canal could cross the Mad River and continue south parallel to the Great Miami. After crossing Lilly Creek, you will enter Eastwood MetroPark where you can choose to connect to the Creekside Trail or continue on the Mad River trail through the park, eventually passing under Harshman Road.
The trail then loops up to become a sidepath along Springfield Street. You can cross Springfield and reach the impressive National Museum of the United States Air Force and its four hangars of restored aircraft and related memorabilia. Returning to the trail, pass under the railroad bridge, completely protected from vehicular traffic and continue along the river under State Route 444. On your left, the river comes back into view as does Huffman Dam, a dry dam that is part of the MCD regional flood protection system. Climb the switchback to the top of the dam where on a clear day you can look back downstream and see the Dayton skyline.
Near the large stone Huffman Dam sign, you can connect to the Huffman Prairie Bikeway to pass under State Route 444, over the railroad and climb to the Wright Brothers Memorial up on the hill overlooking the dam. If you need a break, cross the ridge of the dam and turn right onto Lower Valley Pike and take another right into Huffman MetroPark to find restrooms and information about the park. Turn around and head back down the switchback to return to Dayton the same way you came.