There’s an 80-Mile Donut Trail in Ohio So You Can Indulge While You Get Your Steps In

In Butler County, Ohio—which stretches just north of Cincinnati—there’s an 80-mile-long trail of doughnuts.

It’s not a literal trail—you won’t find doughnuts littering roadways or walking paths—but it’s a trail that takes you from one doughnut shop to the next, until you have reached 12 local shops and you never want to see another doughnut again—until you’re ready for round two.

Welcome to the Ohio Donut Trail in Butler County, which has more doughnut shops per capita than almost anywhere else in the country. Three years ago, the Butler County Visitors Bureau decided to celebrate this unique feat by creating the trail, and since they put it on the map, more than 9,000 people from 44 states and nine countries have completed it.

 Here’s how it works: you pick up a passport at any of the shops along the trail or from the visitor’s bureau, then you make your way from shop to shop, earning one stamp for each location you visit. You must reach 11 of the 12 to complete the passport. When your book is full, you can send or bring it to the bureau and get a T-shirt in return. The T-shirt designs change each year, so if you’re apt to take the journey more than once, you could earn quite the collection.

“When we started the trail [in 2016], I wasn’t sure if anyone would actually do it,” Kocher admits. But 24 hours after it launched, a brother-and-sister duo showed up on the trail and completed their passports. They’d come from Dayton, Ohio, and Indiana, respectively, to participate.

 It’s those stories, Kocher says, that makes the doughnut trail so special. “We didn’t exactly know that we were tapping into something the world needed,” she laughs. “But it’s more than just doughnuts. It’s a vehicle for connection. It’s the stories we hear—who did the trail and who they did it with, and why they did it—that makes the trail really rewarding.” What’s more, between lodging, dining, gas and, of course, doughnuts, the trail raked in about $1 million in 2016 and 2017 for the county. For the mom-and-pop doughnut shops, it’s getting locals and tourists to visit.
Ready to do the Ohio Donut Trail yourself? Here’s every stop you can make and what you’ll want to order.

Holtman’s Donuts

Holtman’s Donuts is more than a family business—it’s a family legacy, says co-owner Katie Plazarin, whose husband, Danny, and in-laws, Chuck and Toni, also have a hand in the shop. “My husband’s grandfather started the business in 1960,” Katie Plazarin says, “and it was his dream [for us] to carry on his legacy and grow the family business.” Their West Chester shop features an open bakery, so you can see doughnuts being freshly made. “It’s important to us to show our customers that we craft from scratch, and kids enjoy watching our bakers hand cut, dip, and decorate the doughnuts,” she says.

Try: Maple bacon donut ($2). As Katie Plazarin explains, with Cincinnati—known as Porkopolis thanks to its pig industy—“it’s only fitting we carry a bacon-topped doughnut,” glazed with made-from-scratch maple icing and topped with bacon crumbles. “It’s a perfect combination of sweet and salty,” she says.
9558 Civic Centre Blvd., West Chester; 513-755-1261

Kelly’s Bakery

This retro black-and-white shop may look like it harkens back to older years, but owner Diana Ramsey opened it in 2015, which makes it fresh—just like its doughnuts. “We have a wide selection of doughnuts, pastries, cookies, brownies, and more,” Ramsey boasts. “Our selection allows families the ability to meet everyone’s tastes and desires.” Plus, Kelly’s Bakery’s customer service is known to be top-notch, according to Ramsey. “Our customers are more than customers—they are like family,” she says.

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