Much of the Akron Bike & Hike Trail parallels the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath. It also connects with the Emerald Necklace at its northern endpoint at Alexander Road. Not only does this provide three major trails in the area, but easy connections between them means lots of great trail riding within this network!
This bikeway had been a mix of different types of trails strung together consisting of crushed stone and asphalt surfaces, as well as some road riding added in for good measure.
The road riding remains, but work to pave the last stone sections has transformed the trail into an all-asphalt bikeway.
The terrain ranges from flat to gently rolling with turns. Sections run through rural areas as well as residential neighborhoods. Variety is the key word here. Just as you're settling in and getting a feel for the trail it soon changes... then later it changes again.
The northern section, north of Boston Mills Road, was a fairly rough unpaved ride. But as reported on the updates page, this section received an asphalt facelift in 2003. That began the asphalt transition that was completed in 2007.
This portion of the Bike & Hike has a distinctly different personality from the rest of the trail. Some of it follows a utility right-of-way which leads the path directly between the legs of giant electric towers. At road crossings the trail ramps up slightly to reach street level. Several of these crossings do not provide a good line of sight for cyclists of oncoming traffic, so use caution here.
In the past, trail signs were virtually nonexistent here with the exception of the standard "No Motorized Vehicles" signs. But that may have been improved since the updates in '07.
The construction to take the bikeway off Brandywine Road has been completed. The new section includes a connector to the Brandywine Falls area, as well as a bridge over I-271.
Heading south on the bikeway from Boston Mills Road the trail is generally flat and smooth. Signs at road crossings provide you with street names and the distance to the next crossroad further down the trail. If you think of the bikeway as a main transportation route and the crossroads as "exits," you can see how this provides great information for trail users, particularly if you're inclined to explore the surrounding area.
A short section with rock outcroppings provides interesting scenery on your way south.
Further along the trail takes on a more rolling, turning course. This section reminded us of the Emerald Necklace Trail. Here the surface is about 8' wide and does a good job of avoiding too many sharp turns.
The southern part of the bikeway splits into 2 trails just after you ride over the Rt. 8 overpass. A sign marks the split. Continue straight ahead and you're on your way to Silver Springs Park in Stow. Turn right and you're traveling to Silver Lake and Munroe Falls. Regardless of which route you choose, the entire southern end of the trail is tied together to form one large loop. This is accomplished using bike route signs to direct you along streets between trail sections.
The southern loop also utilizes the Stow Bikeway. This smooth, 12' wide pathway slices through residential neighborhoods. The marked bike route around Silver Lake also gives you a look at the attractive homes along the boulevard as well as a great view of the lake.
Not far from the Stow Bikeway, along the marked bike route, is Kent. In fact, a short road ride will take you to the Portage Hike & Bike Trail on Kent's southeast side. A connector to the north is also planned. Use the Gmap to view the connections.
The southern most portion of the Bike-Hike Trail makes its way along the Cuyahoga River. Here you'll find access points to the river as well as restroom and water facilities right along the trail.
A trail sign marks the 1.5 mile Kelsey Bikeway that connects to the trail at Munroe Falls. This spur takes you past Kennedy Park and ends at Galt Park.
The Akron Bike-Hike trail is reported to be anywhere from 26 - 29 miles long. That's about right considering our total mileage of 32+ miles included connecting bike routes over streets. Tack on more miles if you plan to ride the entire trail system and backtrack to your car. We totaled 48.5 miles which included a jaunt over to ride a short segment of the nearby towpath trail.
Length: 33 miles / asphalt (includes road riding) - width varies from 8-12'
Condition: Good to Excellent
Facilities: Restrooms & water stops are trailside along the Cuyahoga River. SR 303, Springdale, Silver Springs and SR 91 lots have restrooms. Carry extra water on the northern section, it's more remote.
Food: Where the Stow Bikeway ends at Graham Rd follow bike route signs to W. Main St. Go west for a short distance (perhaps 1/4 - 1/2 mile) and you'll find some restaurants.
Bike Repair Station: Rt. 303 parking area
Parking: 685 & 686 Aurora Rd, Sagamore Hills; 298 Boston Mills Rd. W., Boston Heights; 64 Streetsboro Rd, Boston Heights; 331 Barlow Rd, Hudson; 968 Springdale Rd, Stow; 2985 Kent Rd, Stow; 130 N. Main St, Munroe falls. Also at Brandywine Falls & Silver Springs Park & Camprground.
Munroe-Falls Kent Darrowville Boston-Heights Sagamore-Hills
22.9mi 19mi 13.8mi 7.5mi 3.2mi