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photo courtesy of @annincolumbus

When you're in Columbus for your next visit, don't leave those those running shoes behind. The brand-new downtown Scioto Mile project has connected dozens of miles of trails that are accessible from your hotel, wherever you're staying in central Columbus.

The Scioto Greenway Trail's downtown corridor contains the newest parts of the city's vast trail network. This trail extends from the softball fields at Greenlawn Park at the southern end through the important birding areas at Scioto Audubon Park, past the Brewery District and near German Village, into downtown and the Arena District, and all the way north to Grandview Avenue and 5th Avenue for a total of 10.5 miles.

A downtown loop starting on the east bank of the Scioto and crossing to the west at Souder Avenue, past COSI on the west bank and back across to the east bank across the Rich Street Bridge clocks in at 3 1/4 miles. This route also gets you a nice combination of wilderness river views and skyline vistas. A shorter, scenic downtown loop crossing on Broad and back on Rich clocks in at just over a mile and is perfect for a quick stroll.

olentangy trailThe Olentangy Greenway Trail connects with the Scioto Trail just west of North Bank Park in downtown Columbus, and roughly tracks State Route 315 north to Worthington for a distance of 13 miles. If you're staying near Ohio State's campus, in Clintonville or any of the northern suburbs, this is a great place to get in some miles. Points of interest include Whetstone Park of Roses, Ohio Stadium and tree-lined vistas of the Olentangy River.

The Alum Creek Trail skirts the east side of the city, starting in Westerville, coming close to Easton Town Center, Franklin Park Conservatory and Bexley. It ends after 31 miles at Three Creeks Metropark southeast of Columbus.

running 1If you're visiting during a snowier month? Don't worry. You're likely to find plowed trails, especially between North Bank Park and the Rich Street Bridge, on both sides of the Scioto River. In warmer months, water fountains are available at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center and just north of Broad Street on the east side of the Scioto Trail, and public restrooms are available at Bicentennial Park at the south end of the Scioto Mile.