Camp Chase Trail Preview

In my new neighborhood I live only a quarter mile from the Camp Chase Trail, a multi-use trail in Columbus OH that is part of the larger Ohio to Erie Trail system that runs from Cincinnati to Cleveland. The Camp Chase Trail could take me to downtown Columbus via a connector to the Scioto Trail if I wanted to do that (it's not far, I just don't know the distance or exactly how to make the connection). I finally made it out to check out my segment of the Camp Chase Trail on Sunday afternoon.

No outlet unless you use the trail, which runs at the end of this street near the Westgate neighborhood, where my brother lives

The trail segment near me is new and doesn't have a lot of use just yet. From talking to others, I got the feeling that the trail could be a little unsafe as some of the neighborhoods it runs through are not runner friendly, and there are some homeless people on the trail. I decided to make my first introduction to the trail on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, a time that I suspected to be peak time for runners and cyclists.

Where I started on the trail near Georgesville Rd, looking to the northeast; the Hollywood Casino is to my left (didn't see my finger in the frame with the sun)

First impressions:

  • It's a nice trail, recently paved in asphalt and wider than most multi-use trails I've used in the Washington DC area.
  • It needs some mile markers and directional signage at some of the turn-offs. There was one point where I didn't know which way to go when the trail split; I chose correctly this time. Since the trail is new, maybe these things are to come.
  • While the trail itself was mostly clean, the areas adjacent to it were overrun with litter. The backside of the casino was the worst, and this area is fenced off from the trail, so you'd need to drive way out in the casino parking lot to access it for clean-up.
  • It was quite desolate, at least near me. In the two mile stretch that I walked (from Georgesville Rd to W Broad St), I only saw 5 cyclists, 0 runners, 2 skateboarding teenagers, and a few walkers who were not walking for exercise, but more to get from point A to point B. I was alone most of the time, and with the curves on the trail, with no one in sight. 
  • I did feel slightly uneasy a couple times due to some shady characters I saw on the trail who were definitely not there for physical recreation. And I heard a couple voices in the woods but I couldn't see them. Therefore, even on a bright Sunday afternoon, the trail is a little questionable for a solo female.

The view standing on the railroad bridge over West Broad St looking east; if you squint you just might see some of the Columbus skyline

I very much want to get to know this trail and incorporate it into my runs. Maybe it will be better once it becomes more well-known. Maybe there will be more people out there in the spring and summer. Maybe I will buy some pepper spray just in case. I'm not used to feeling unsafe on a trail. The trails in the DC area are fairly well trafficked and I was almost never completely alone. Or if I was alone, there were nearby houses or businesses, or other populated places to find safety. The Camp Chase trail is different, and I hope traffic picks up because I do most of my training runs alone and would love to use this trail.

The trail runs behind the Hollywood Casino; on my way back I cut through the casino parking lot

My running club is participating in a trail clean-up this Saturday, so it will give me a chance to see more of the trail and maybe learn about the best times and places to run.


  1. Ohio have a 'concealed carry permit' class/license?

    1. It doesn't matter because I'm not going to run with a gun.


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