Summit County, Ohio is home to two major bike trails, the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath and the Bike-Hike Trail. While the towpath enters the southwest corner of Akron, runs through downtown and exits a bit to the northwest, the Bike-Hike ties together a number of communities just outside Akron city limits to the northeast. [Scroll past 'Trail Facts' to continue reading.]
Northern Bike & Hike Trail - photo by Lynda Warner
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Just as the Dayton and Xenia networks are connected by trail, so too are Akron and Cleveland bikeways. The connector in Summit County is the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail, which uses the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to bridge the gap and connect the two cities.
Cycling Through Ohio's National Park
As the towpath makes its way though the CVNP just north of Akron, a segment of the Bike & Hike runs alongside, just a mile or so to the east.
Both trails connect with the east-west Emerald Necklace Trail that crosses their path, bringing the 3 trails together in the CVNP.
If you include the cross-state Ohio-to-Erie Trail, that shares the towpath here, the total is 4 trails.
CVNP: The NE Ohio Trail Hub
The 4 trails don't have a single convergence point, like Xenia Station is SW Ohio, but the bikeway mileage is significant. Though these connections actually take place betweenAkron and Cleveland, we'll list them here.
Taken separately, the total trail miles look like this.
Ohio-to-Erie Trail - 320 miles when complete
Ohio & Erie Towpath - 110 miles when complete
Bike-Hike Trail - 32.3 miles
Emerald Necklace Trail - ~70 miles
The Shared Trail Corridor
The cross-state Ohio-to-Erie Trail uses the towpath to finish its northern journey to Cleveland and Lake Erie. The two trails share the same (unfinished) 67-mile corridor from Massillon to Cleveland. (The final few miles in Cleveland are expected to be finished in 2020.)
If you plan on coming to the CVNP to ride these trails, you should know that the OTE and towpath are mostly trail, with occasional short road riding transitions between sections. The Bike-Hike and Emerald Necklace, however, have more substantial road-riding segments included within their routes.
Network Expansion Plans
The Akron Bike-Hike Trail has also been connected with short segments of the Portage Hike & Bike Trails to the east in Portage County. Future Portage Trail connections will link 15 more miles of trail to the Akron-area trail network.