Towpath Trail

Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail or simply the "towpath," as it is more commonly known, is one of Ohio's longest and most scenic bikeways. When finished, it will extend about 110-miles from Lake Erie at Cleveland, to New Philadelphia.

Along with the Little Miami Scenic Trail, the towpath is one of the most popular bikeways in Ohio. Both long-distance trails are part of the larger Ohio-to-Erie Trail, a cross-state bikeway. [Scroll past 'Latest Update' to continue reading.]

Bikeway Bridge
Towpath Bridge in Independence, OH

Latest Update: 12/18/18 by OB - Cleveland Towpath Construction

Cleveland, OH - View photos of the ongoing trail construction, along with a map that depicts construction progress, along with projected completion timelines.

Towpath Section Closes Until Spring - 12/15/18 by OB

Peninsula, OH - From, "The Towpath is closed between Deep Lock Quarry and Hunt Farm [in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park] for bridge replacement through early spring. There are no detours available."

North >>>>

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Towpath Bridge Installed - 12/13/18 by OB

Cleveland OH - Thursday morning crews installed a 211 foot, 211,000 pound galvanized steel truss bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River that passes under Harvard Rd.

"The bridge, built by Big R Bridge in Greeley, CO, is the first tangible evidence of the progress of the stage 1 Towpath Trail extension project that will connect the current northernmost terminus of the Harvard Rd. Towpath Trailhead to the existing Steelyard Commons trail (stage 2)..." more...

Section Closure for Hunting Season - 11/16/18 by OB

Bethlehem Twp., OH - From Stark County Parks, "The [3.5-mile] Towpath Trail [section] between Riverland Ave. and the Tuscarawas County Line (Rt. 212) will be closed due to hunting on nearby private property on the following dates: Nov. 17 and 18, Nov. 22 to Dec. 2., Dec. 15 and 16, and Jan. 5 to 8, 2019."

Towpath Bridge Deck Pour - 11/8/18 by OB

Cleveland, OH - "Another step towards the completion of stage 3 of the Towpath Trail extension project was recently made as the concrete deck of the truss bridge spanning W. 7th St. was poured! Asphalt and concrete work around the Towpath Mounds is also being completed before cold weather arrives." more...

$380K Grant to Close Towpath Gap - 11/7/18 by OB

Bolivar, OH - "...The section of trail will connect the McDonnell Trailhead on the border of Stark and Tuscarawas counties with existing trail heading toward Bolivar. The total cost of the project is expected to be $507,500." more...

Towpath Flooding Likely Widespread - 11/2/18 by OB

Akron, OH - From Summit Parks, "Due to flooding, the Towpath Trail is closed from the Stark County line to just south of the Clinton trail head, and a half-mile from the Center Road parking lot."

Stark County Parks advisory: "Consistent rainfall will likely close the trail in low areas due to rising water in the Tuscarawas River by 11/2/2018. Water over the trail has closed the underpass at Lake Ave. in Massillon."

Construction to Close Trailhead Nov. 5 - 10/26/18 by OB

Akron, OH - From Summit Parks, "The Memorial Parkway Trailhead will be closed beginning November 5 through approximately December 31 due to a City of Akron CSO construction project. The restrooms will be open. A small portion of the Towpath Trail near the trailhead will be detoured around the construction area. Trail users may park at the Dog Park parking lot."

Section Closed Oct. 23 - 10/23/18 by OB

CVNP, OH - "...The trail closure between Frazee House and Station Road Trailhead is necessary for public safety while workers repair a bridge that crosses the Sagamore waste weir." more...

Towpath Stage 3 Construction Progress - 10/22/18 by OB

Cleveland, OH - "On Friday we stopped by stage three of the Towpath Trail extension and were pleased to see asphalt paving has been laid on most of the trail. The 1.9 mi segment starts north of Steelyard Commons and traces the eastern border of Tremont, ending at the intersection of Literary and University Rds." more...

Section Closing for Marathon - 10/3/18 by OB

Brecksville, OH - "The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be closed to the public starting at dusk on Saturday, Oct. 6 through 2 p.m. on Oct. 7 for the annual Towpath Marathon." more...

Connecting Kenmore Blvd to the Towpath - 9/22/18 by OB

Akron, OH - "...[Kenmore Neighborhood] alliance received $20,000 grants from the Knight Foundation and the Akron Civic Commons project to link Kenmore Boulevard to the Towpath Trail and to improve safety for bikers of the trail." more...

Massillon Section Closing - 9/19/18 by OB

Massillon, OH - From, "The Towpath Trail will be closed between Cherry St. and Lincoln Way on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for sewer work."

Flooding in Stark County - 9/11/18 by OB

Stark County, OH - "Several inches of rain over the weekend have flooded many sections of the trail. The trail is closed until further notice."

Temporary Towpath Closures Coming Sept. 10 - 9/7/18 by OB

Summit County, OH - From Summit Metro Parks, "Beginning Monday, 9/10 and continuing for approximately one week, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be cutting weeds in the canal along the Towpath Trail. This work will include some temporary trail closures on the section of the trail just south of the Manchester Road Trailhead."

Trail Clearing Near Dover - 9/1/18 by OB

Dover, OH - "Last Saturday, August 25, Tuscarawas County volunteers cleared land in Zoarville for future trail development. The trail runs south of the current Towpath Trail terminus in Zoar and along the Tuscarawas River toward Dover..." more

Temporary Bridge Now Open - 8/22/18 by OB

Peninsula, OH - Construction work along the towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, just south of Deep Lock Quarry, has resulted in a temporary bridge installation on the trail. This will allow trail users access to this section while plans continue for a more permanent structure.

Please walk your bike across the bridge and allow for one-way traffic.

New Towpath Bridge in Tremont - 8/18/18 by OB

Cleveland, OH - "The 101-mile Towpath Trail notched another milestone Friday with the installation of a 130-foot-long, 14-foot-wide bike and pedestrian bridge over West 7th Street, north of Quigley Road in the Tremont neighborhood." more...

Temporary Closures in Barberton - 7/18/18 by OB

Barberton, OH - From Summit Metro Parks, "The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be completing tree work between Manchester Road and Snyder Avenue in Barberton. The work is expected to continue until approximately 7/20/18, and temporary trail closures will be in effect during this time."

Towpath Section Closure July 9 - 7/4/18 by OB

Akron, OH - From Summit Metro Parks, "The City of Akron will be repairing a retaining wall along the Towpath Trail near Beech Street. Construction will begin on July 9, and the trail will be closed for 10 to 12 weeks between Beech and North streets. The City of Akron will post detour signs."

Metroparks Rolls Out Towpath Mini-Bus - 5/31/18 by OB

Cleveland, OH - "...Cleveland Metroparks is introducing an electric [mini-bus] that will roll around and give Towpath Trail tours." more...

Hemlock Creek Trail to Connect to Towpath - 5/31/18 by OB

Independence, OH - "...The Hemlock Creek Trail is the latest addition to a growing network of trails that users can travel from Tuscarawas County all the way up to Cleveland’s lakefront..." more

Dover Seeks Trails Grant - 4/20/18 by OB

Dover, OH - From, "...Eventually, the trail along the riverfront will connect into the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail, which is slated to connect Cleveland and New Philadelphia.

"Currently, the trail ends at state Route 800 at Zoarville. Plans are in the works to develop the next section, using a rail bed along the Tuscarawas River from Zoarville to the White Bridge on state Route 416 north of Dover...."

Flooding Update - 4/20/18 by OB

Stark County, OH - From, "The Towpath Trail is closed due to high water and flooding at Lake Ave. in Massillon..."

Stark County Flooding - 4/16/18 by OB

NE OH: Stark County, OH - From, "The Towpath Trail is closed due to high water and flooding at the following trailheads: Lake Lucerne to the county line, Lock 4, and Crystal Springs. Water is expected to rise and also close Lake Ave. in Massillon and Wooster St. in Navarre..."

CVNP Flooding Closes Trail - 4/16/18 by OB

Summit County, OH - From, "The Towpath Trail through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is closed Monday because of flooding." more...

Stark County, OH - From, "The Towpath Trail is closed due to high water and flooding at the following trailheads: Lake Lucerne to the county line, Lock 4, and Crystal Springs. Water is expected to rise and also close Lake Ave. in Massillon and Wooster St. in Navarre..."

Towpath Flooding in Stark & Summit Counties - 4/4/18 by OB

Stark County, OH - From, "From, "Water is over the trail in many areas, including Lake Ave., Wooster St., and north of Canal Fulton. Rising water is expected in more areas of the northern Stark County section. We urge everyone to use caution when heading out on the trail."

Clinton, OH - From, "The Towpath Trail is closed north and south of the Clinton Trailhead due to flooding."

Towpath Flooding in Stark County - 3/30/18 by OB

Stark County, OH - From, "Water is over the trail at Lake Ave. in Massillon and is expected to flood over other lower areas in Stark County over the weekend."

Towpath Flooding Reports - 3/2/18 by OB

Clinton, OH - From, "Towpath Trail is closed north and south of the Clinton Trailhead due to flooding."

Canal Fulton, OH - From, "High water has closed the Towpath Trail at Lock 4 Trailhead. Other low areas might also be under water soon..."

Connector Trail Closing During Construction Hours- 3/2/18 by OB

Northfield, OH - The Old Carriage Trail Connector in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be undergoing construction that is set to begin soon. This connector, along with a portion of Holzhauer Rd, connects the Towpath Trail with the Akron Hike-Bike Trail in Sagamore Hills. (See map below.)

Sagamore Hills, OH

The Old Carriage Connector Trail will be closed during construction hours, 7 am -- 6 pm, Monday through Friday. It will be open after hours and on weekends. Learn more...

Stark County Flooding - 2/16/18 by OB

Stark County, OH - From, "Flooding has closed the Towpath Trail in Stark County until further notice."

Towpath Flooding - 1/24/18 by OB

Stark County, OH - From, "The northern section of the Towpath Trail from Lake Ave. to the Summit County line is closed due to high water and flooding.

"The southern portion through Navarre is expected to flood and may also close soon...

CVNP NPS Shutdown Notice - 1/21/18 by OB

CVNP, OH - From, "Because of the federal government shutdown... Trails and roads will remain open. Restrooms and visitor facilities will be closed. For more information, see"

CVNP Deer Culling Closures Jan. 8 - March 16 - 1/10/18 by OB

CVNP, OH - ...NPS has secured permits by the Ohio Division of Wildlife to use sharpshooting on park property to reduce deer populations... ...Most culling activities will be away from established trails...

"...Activities will take place between dusk and midnight, on weekdays (Monday through Thursday). At times, specific areas will be temporarily closed to ensure public safety. NPS staff will patrol the park during removal actions to ensure compliance with park closures and public safety measures, and accompany USDA-WS teams in the field." more...

Navarre Closure Jan. 6-9 - 12/22/17 by OB

Navarre, OH - From, "The trail south of Riverland Ave. in Navarre will be closed on the following dates due to deer gun season hunting on property near the trail: Jan. 6 to Jan. 9, 2018.

"Expect occasional closures north of Wooster St. in Navarre until further notice for a construction project next to the trail. Varying trail conditions should be expected. Please use caution and be aware of construction equipment in the area."

Sections Closing Dec. 11 - 12/5/17 by OB

Peninsula, OH - From, "Towpath sections closed between Boston Store Visitor Center & Interstate 271 Bridge. There will be access both north and south from Lock 29 Trailhead to the closure locations. There will not be access to Boston Store Visitor Center from Lock 29 Trailhead"

Run & Walk Event 11/11/17 - 11/4/17 by OB

From, "A 5K and 1-mile walk will see 200+ participants on the trail from 7 to 11 a.m., near the Wolf Creek Trailhead.

$500K for Cleveland Stage 1 Construction - 10/31/17 by OB

From, "...The latest grant would help complete the short, but problematic section of trail between Harvard Avenue and Steelyard Commons by late 2019..." more

Towpath Marathon Section Closure - 9/30/17 by OB

From, "The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be closed to the general public starting at dusk beginning Saturday, October 7 until 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 8."

Towpath Section Closure - 9/28/17 by OB

From, "The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail will be closed from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday, October 6 and 7:00 a.m. Tuesday October 10 through 6:00 p.m. Friday, October 13 from Lock 39 Trailhead to 150 feet south of Stone Road in Valley View."

9/30/17 Running Event - 9/22/17 by OB

From, "An organized run will see 150 on the Towpath Trail between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., between Memorial Parkway and the Big Bend Trailhead."

Cleveland Towpath Progress - 8/31/17 by OB

Section Closure (8/28) in New Franklin - 8/23/17 by OB

From, "The Towpath Trail in New Franklin will be closed at Vanderhoof Road heading south for culvert replacement by the Village of New Franklin for approximately three days. The work is weather dependent. The trail will be closed with no detour."

New Cleveland Towpath Section Opens - 8/13/17 by OB

This new 1/4-mile segment connects with the southern end of the Scranton Flats section, and heads south under the I-90 bridges. Future construction will connect it with Steelyard Commons further south. Read more...

Summit County Trailhead Closed - 8/9/17 by OB

From, "The Long Lake/Manchester Road parking lot is closed due to construction."

Tree Removal along Towpath Section - 7/29/17 by OB

From, "There will be removal of hazardous trees along the Towpath between Station Rd. and Red Lock. This will take place the week of 7/31. Please be aware of the work zone and equipment in this area."

Run & Ride Events - 7/24/17 by OB

From, "7/29 & 7/30: An endurance run will bring approximately 500 runners to the Towpath Trail from Botzum to Memorial Pkwy.

"7/29 - An organized ride will bring more cyclists than usual to the trail in Barberton."

Summit County Vehicle Break-Ins - 7/22/17 by OB

From hudsonhubtimes, "Officials from the Summit Metro Parks are asking for the public's assistance in helping to prevent break-ins like a series of seven that were reported July 20.

"Seven cars parked in six locations had windows smashed and purses taken, according to rangers.

"...the break-ins happened in Hudson at the Bike & Hike Trail/Route 303 lot; in Akron at the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail/Memorial Parkway lot; in Akron at the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail/Big Bend lot; two in Fairlawn at the Sand Run Metro Park/Revere Road lot; in Springfield Township at the Springfield Bog Metro Park and one in Munroe Falls at the Munroe Falls Metro Park Lake Area."

Summit County Event Notice - 7/17/17 OB

From, "07/29 & 07/30/17: An endurance run will bring approximately 500 runners to the Towpath Trail from Botzum to Memorial Pkwy."

Summit County Towpath Closures - 5/30/17 OB

From Starkparks, "The Towpath Trail is closed between Beech Street and Route 59 due to storm damage." And "The Towpath Trail is closed north and south of the Clinton Trailhead due to flooding."

Towpath Closure in Navarre - 5/29/17 OB

From Starkparks, "The trail will be closed just north of Wooster St. in Navarre until further notice for a construction project next to the trail. We are working with the contractor and Village of Navarre to have the trail open on weekends during the summer season. Varying trail conditions should be expected until after the trail reopens. Please use caution and be aware of construction equipment in the area. More permanent repairs after recent flooding will be in progress as weather permits."

CVNP Towpath Closure May 9 & 10 - 5/7/17 by OB

CVNP, OH - From the CVNP, "...The Towpath Trail south of Highland/Vaughn Road will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, May 9 & 10 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. No detour will be posted. We apologize for any inconvenience, but this allows us to repair flood damage, the result of all this rain."

Towpath Groundbreaking April 22 - 4/20/17 by OB

Cleveland, OH - From, "Stage three, which spans an urban stretch of 1.9 miles between the northern entrance to Steelyard Commons and Literary Avenue in Tremont, will not only serve as a greenspace buffer between the residential areas of Tremont and industrial areas of the valley below, but also offer paths and access to the rest of the Towpath Trail."

Skull Found along Towpath - 3/29/17 OB

Independence, OH - Park officials have announced that a skull was found near Hillside and Canal roads.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office is trying to determine an identity, while the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is handling the investigation.

Canal Rd Detour not Recommended - 3/15/17 OB

Valleyview, OH - From, "...Starting Wednesday, the Towpath Trail will be closed to foot and bicycle traffic between Stone Road to the north and Hillside Road to the south...

"..."'Some people may choose to move onto Canal Road, but we don't recommend that,' Barnes said. 'It's really not safe, and we don't want people to be surprised by the closure and make a wrong choice.'

"People using the Bike Aboard train service can continue to enter and exit at the Canal Exploration Center on Hillside Road, where there is plenty of parking, Barnes said."

Cleveland Towpath Groundbreaking April 22 - 3/10/17 OB

From, "...we have found the perfect date to celebrate construction beginning on Stage 3 of the Towpath Trail - Earth Day morning Saturday, April 22nd.

"...Stage 3 of the Towpath Trail Extension will run 1.9 miles from the Northern entrance of Steelyard Commons to Literary Ave. This stage will provide an important link between Tremont, Steelyard Commons and the public outdoor recreation area Clark Fields."

Learn more about Stage 3.

Towpath Closures in Valley View - 3/9/17 OB

Valley View, OH - Major river bank stabilization work has closed a towpath section south of Highland Road in Valley View. This closure is expected to be lifted by the end of March 2017. No detour is provided. View map.

There's another closure between Hillside Road and Stone Road in Valley View. This one is expected to continue from March 6, 2017 through March 2018. From March 6 to May 26, 2017, this section will be completely closed.

On May 27, 2017, it will be open on weekends and holidays, but closed Monday - Friday through July 31, 2017. After July 31 a complete closure will be in effect. No detour is provided for this closure. View map.

Tuscarawas County Trail Developments - 3/3/17 OB

From, "Tuscarawas County has secured an easement for use on either side of the Fink Truss Bridge near Zoarville for use by the Towpath Trail.

"...Work has already begun on building a trail crossing over state Route 800 near Zoarville. In addition, the county recently reached an agreement with the Kimble Co. to use a four-mile rail bed from the Fink Truss Bridge to the White Bridge near Dover for the trail."

Rubber City Heritage Trail Connector - 2/16/17 OB

A concept trail for the old Akron industrial area is being proposed. The trail would connect the Goodyear and Firestone factory sites with the towpath, utilizing the old track bed of the Akron-Barberton Belt Line railroad.

Though it's not officially part of the iTowpath project in Downtown Akron, money is being raised for a feasibility study of this potential trail connector to the towpath.

Toxic Soil Clean Up Delays Towpath Section - 2/7/17 OB

From, "...Residents and Towpath Trail enthusiasts who had anticipated the completion of the renovation project [and trail build through Clark Field in Tremont Park] this year must wait at least until 2018 or later, as funding for the remediation work remains tangled in the bureaucratic red tape of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"...The good news is that the remediation project has been approved by the EPA. The bad news is that it's going to be delayed..."

Funding for Final Northern Towpath Section - 1/20/17 OB

From, "Cuyahoga County has been conditionally awarded $317,030 in 2016 Clean Ohio Trails Funding for Stage 4 of the Towpath Trail Extension Project.

"Stage 4 of the Towpath Trail Extension will run 1.5 miles from Literary Ave. to the future Canal Basin Park in Downtown Cleveland's Flats. This stage will be the final northern Towpath connection between Tremont and Downtown Cleveland.

"Part of Stage 4 will repurpose University Ave. as a pedestrian and bicycle trail offering spectacular views of Downtown Cleveland. The Towpath will integrate with plaza improvements made by ODOT as part of the George V. Voinovich Bridge project, and connect to the already constructed Scranton Flats as the trail heads Downtown. Lighting and interpretive elements are part of Stage 4 of the Towpath Trail project, which is currently in the Final Design/Engineering phase."

Land Donated to Extend Towpath - 1/13/17 OB

From, "The Towpath Trail in Tuscarawas County is four miles closer to completion thanks to a license agreement signed Thursday between commissioners and the Kimble Co.

"The Kimble Co. will allow the hiking and biking trail to utilize property that it owns along the Tuscarawas River from the Fink Truss Bridge near Zoarville to the White Bridge at state Route 416, just north of Dover."

Within the Cleveland Metroparks jurisdiction, the towpath surface is asphalt. This is also true along some segments in Akron. Otherwise riding along the towpath means riding on a compacted, finely crushed stone surface.

For those who prefer an asphalt surface, this may be a concern. Fear not. The surface is firmly packed and can easily be navigated on a road bike. Newer sections may have a few spots that are loosely packed, but for the most part these areas are few and far between.

If you don't like cleaning your bike, however, you should know that the towpath can be fairly dusty, particularly during extended dry periods in summer. The dust isn't a problem while riding, but a good bike cleaning will be needed afterward. If this sounds like a hassle, try riding the day after some rain.

Cuyahoga County

The Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail will start at the Cuyahoga River near Lake Erie in Cleveland, OH. The Northern terminus will be at the future Canal Basin Park near Detroit Avenue.

At present, this section is under development with 2 short segments completed: The .6-mile Scranton Flats segment along Scranton Road, and the 1.3-mile section at Steelyard Commons. Another section, north of Steelyard Commons, is currently under construction in 2017.

Though the northernmost section of towpath will stop short of Lake Erie, there is a connector trail in the works to take trail users to the lakeshore. It's called the Lake Link Trail and you'll find a completed segment that connects to the Scranton Flats section of the towpath.

From Steelyard Commons heading south, an .8-mile gap exists over to the Harvard Road Trailhead where the towpath begins in earnest.

The northern portion of the trail follows the old canal route through the Cuyahoga Valley and the heart of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A section also parallels the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad which caters to cyclists with its 'Bike Aboard' program.

The CVNP is also where the towpath joins up with 2 other major regional trails, the Akron Bike & Hike Trail and the Emerald Necklace Trail. In fact, the Emerald Necklace and towpath share a short stretch of towpath near the Brecksville Reservation, while the Bike-Hike runs parallel to about 9-miles of towpath in this same area.

Independence, OH

Our ride north to Harvard Road was surprisingly quiet. Though we were now in Cleveland, it certainly didn't feel that way. The Cuyahoga Valley had created its own peaceful environment along the towpath as it carried us closer to the lake.

It felt like we had sneaked past much of the big city on our way north. It'll be interesting to see how the remaining miles play out over to Steelyard Commons and through the industrial area that still stands between the towpath and its final destination.

The Canalway Center is just off the trail in Cuyahoga Heights. The connecting spur that takes you there continues on along nearby city streets and over to the Washington Reservation, about 2 miles to the north.

Previously the tranquility of the trail would begin to fade as you rode south into Valley View. Lynda Warner reported on major improvements there: "As of [fall 2006], two very unique bridges were opened, which remove the stress of having to cross two major intersections."

Valley View Bridge
View from Towpath Bridge in Valley View, OH    Photo by Lynda Warner

In Valley View you'll pass under the super structure of I-480 that towers overhead as you make your way to the Thornburg Station, a commercial complex that offers a trailside eatery. This also marks the spot where the asphalt surface changes to classic towpath crushed stone as you leave the jurisdiction of the Cleveland Metroparks and continue southbound past Rockside Road.

Mile marker posts tick off the miles as you head further away from Lake Erie, mile "0". This provides a good way to gauge your distance from the north coast from any point on the towpath.

Now you enter the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where some facilites are open year-round. Perks for trail users include: riding on the scenic railway and limited camping spots reserved for through hikers and cyclists. Reservations are required. The camping season runs from Memorial Day through Oct. 31.

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Cuyahoga County

Class: A1++

Length: 7.6 miles / asphalt (not including road routes); ~11.4 mile when complete

Condition: Good

Facilities: Some off the trail facilities here: Canalway Center, Bacci Park.

Parking: See trail map for options.

Worth Noting: We don't recommend road riding between trail sections in Cleveland. For those who have urban road riding skills, ride at your own risk.

Map: Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (all counties) or Sm Screen Version

Cuyahoga Co. Elevation Map: From Cleveland riding south

Completion Progress: Here's a map showing the final segments to be completed in Cleveland.

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

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Summit County

[Alert! - Trail section closure in Akron until 2019. The towpath is closed from Mustill Store north to Memorial Pkwy, a distance of ~1 mile. See a map of the trail gap (closure) with the parallel detour route along Hickory Street.]

Video of the Towpath Detour

The Summit County section includes most of the trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. From there it continues south through Akron, Barberton and just south of Clinton, OH.

The Cuyahoga Valley Train offers service to cyclists along a stretch of the trail from North Akron to Independence. Hopping aboard gives visitors another way to enjoy the valley and knock some miles off your ride when you're doubling back to your car.

There are good trailheads all along the towpath. Peninsula makes an excellent starting point. It's between Cleveland and Akron and has parking right along the trail with restroom facilities. There's also a depot for the scenic railway, restaurants and a bike shop.

The route south from Peninsula was constructed with many gentle curves to lend more interest and character to the trail. And it does make a more pleasurable ride. The only drawback is that sight lines can be limited, making passing a tricky proposition on heavy-traffic days.

Barberton, OH
Barberton, OH Towpath

There are some wooden boardwalk trail sections along the towpath, and the Akron-area has its share. The sections here are approximately 14' wide and feature wide, sweeping turns. When riding south you pickup speed on a slight downhill and can hear the deck boards "sing" when a rider comes past. Be careful on wet or frosty days. The surface is bound to be slippery.

Where the towpath enters North Akron the surface turns to asphalt with a stone chip top coat. It returns to crushed stone once you leave this developed area. There are several places to eat here, so take advantage of nearby restaurants if you're hungry.

At North Street resides the historic Mustill Store. Formerly a general store during the glory days of the canal, it now serves as a museum and visitors center. There's also a trail parking lot and facilities at this trailhead.

The trail continues south through Cascade Locks Park and up a 5% grade (a .6-mile climb), over the old Akron Innerbelt (Rt. 59), and south to Canal Park.

Once over the bridge, the trail transitions to wide concrete sidewalk and continues alongside streets over to Canal Park. This .3-mile stretch is just 2-3 blocks and does not involve any road riding.

The short segment within Canal Park, home of the Akron Aeros, features a red rubberized surface, perhaps the most unusual one you'll find along the entire towpath.

Joe Chase describes the Canal Park segment: "This [section] extends from the Akron Civic Theater south through a public festival park, around the west side of the Canal Park Stadium and down to the parking area behind Canal Place (the old BFG factory).

"Part of this section of the canal was once covered by a parking deck; the city has done a great job removing decrepit buildings and landscaping the canal in this area. From this path north to the Staircase Locks [near Martin Luther King Drive], the canal has been buried forever beneath office buildings and the Akron Innerbelt, but the water still flows. Did you know the lobby of the Civic Theater is actually a bridge across the canal?"

At Summit Lake the trail passes the rec center and moves along the shoreline before taking to open water via the boardwalk-like floating trail section that crosses the south end of the lake and enters the canal.

The towpath follows the canal for several miles as you gradually leave urban sights and sounds for more tranquil towpath through Barberton.

A statue has been erected at Manchester Road of a indian carrying his canoe. It's a monument to the original Portage Indian Trail which followed a section of the Cuyahoga Valley. This monument can be found at each terminus of the Portage Trail, the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas.

Further south you'll encounter some short punchy climbs. Along with the 5% grade in Akron, this likely represents the most overt climbing you'll do along the otherwise flat towpath trail. Here you will climb regardless of your direction of travel, while the Akron climb is entirely for those riding south.

Clinton, OH
Towpath & Lock in Clinton, OH

Further south the trail enters Clinton Towpath Metropark where remnants of the canal are on view. Remaining locks, partial locks and other historic reminders are scattered along the towpath route. As are trailheads, facilities and places to eat.

As you leave Clinton a pond borders one side of the trail, while the canal lies opposite. The next stop is Canal Fulton.

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Summit County

Class: A1++ & B1++

Length: 40.5 miles / crushed stone & asphalt

Condition: Good

Facilities: At most of the trailheads and scenic train stations along the way.

Parking: Peninsula, OH. (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: This county has the longest towpath section, and the most variety of environments through which it passes.

Map: Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (all counties) or Sm Screen Version

Summit Co. Elevation: From CVNP riding south

Completion Progress: The Summit County segment is finished.

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

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Stark County

[Alert! Notice from Stark Parks for Navarre - April 2018: "...expect occasional closures north of Wooster St. in Navarre until further notice for a construction project next to the trail. Varying trail conditions should be expected. Please use caution and be aware of construction equipment in the area."]

Though Summit County was the first to complete its portion of the towpath, Stark County was not far behind.

The Towpath begins south of Clinton and passes through Canal Fulton, Massillon and Navarre south to the Tuscarawas County line, just short of Bolivar.

Canal Fulton is another great towpath starting point. There's plenty of trail parking, places to eat and a canal boat ride, the St. Helena III.

The trail ride south of Canal Fulton is also scenic and features the classic crushed stone trail surface.

Towpath Tunnel in Stark County, OH

The Lake Avenue Trailhead in Massillon has parking, a bike shop, a canoe livery and restroom facilities.

Further into Massillon the towpath meets up with the Sippo Valley Trail. Take the first ramp up to street level (Lincoln Way W.) to make the Sippo connection. To continue south on the towpath, take the 2nd ramp up to Tremont Ave. SW. Cross over the river and turn south on 5th St. to continue south.

You'll want to check a map to plan ahead for this junction, as there are a couple of options, both of which involve a little road riding (less than a mile) to the next trail section at Walnut Road.

Stark County
Towpath near Navarre, OH

Once back on the trail at Walnut Road, the towpath runs uninterrupted to just short of Bolivar at the county line. As the trail nears Rt. 212 west of Bolivar, it turns east, away from the river to follow the road. This segment ends further east where it deposits you on Rt. 212 at the McDonnell Trailhead. You have now entered Tuscarawas County.

The ride to and beyond Navarre is quite rural as the river corridor and canal provides its own linear ecosystem which is quite lush in summer.

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Stark County

Class: B1+

Length: 26 miles / crushed stone (includes ~.4 mile road route)

Condition: Good

Facilities: At some of the trailheads along the route.

Parking: Lake Avenue in Massillon, OH. (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: The Sippo Valley Trail connects with the towpath in Massillon.

Map: Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (all counties) or Sm Screen Version

Stark Co. Elevation: Mostly flat.

Completion Progress: The towpath is finished in Stark County.

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

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Tuscarawas County

The Tuscarawas County towpath will extend from the Stark County line through Bolivar, then pass by Zoar, Zoarville and Dover on to its final destination, New Philadelphia, OH.

At this time 7.7 miles of towpath are finished within the county, with ~9 more miles to go. The final missing 9-mile leg is from the current endpoint in Zoarville, to New Philly.

From the McDonnell Trailhead along Rt. 212 near the Stark County line, there's a gap in the trail. A .3-mile road ride is necessary to reach the next trail segment which takes riders into Bolivar. Ride here at your own risk as this road is a rural highway.

Trail resumes on a newer segment that was opened on Oct. 15, 2016. It reportedly leads you through Bolivar and over to Fort Laurens. But when we drove into Fort Laurens to start riding south from the park, we did not see any bike or trail route signs leading north out of the park.

However, according to the map in this brochure, this route does exist! Or at least a portion of it, behind the park grounds along the river. We'll have to make a trip back to explore this section.

The towpath crosses I-77 in Bolivar and runs 3 miles south to Canal Lands Park in Zoar. Open towpath continues on to Zoarville, where it currently ends at Rt. 800, just southwest of Rt. 212 in Zoarville. From there, land for the last section of towpath to New Philly has yet to be acquired.

I-77 Bridge
Bridge over I-77 near Bolivar, OH

The I-77 trail bridge is a major piece of infrastructure that looks as though it would support single lane auto traffic. It's that robust. The extra width was designed to carry ped and bike traffic alongside horses and riders. The bridge crown features a partition that separates horses and allows them to cross more safely.

Heading south the towpath is narrower, at about 4-6' wide. But it remains smooth, mostly flat and is slightly undulating. It's a departure from the more finely manicured sections to the north, but still an enjoyable ride. In fact, the mini undulations will mean more fun for many riders.

I noticed a few walkers would stop when I approached them from the opposite direction by bike. They would move to the edge of the trail to give me room. I would slow considerably and make sure I was on the far edge of the trail, to give them room to keep walking. But there are only so many trail users you can fit into a 4-6' wide path. It makes one wonder what happens when you add horses with riders to the mix...

As you approach Old St. Rt. 82, you'll spot a wooden staircase leading up to a deserted bridge over the trail. This is a former roadway that is now closed to auto traffic. The bridge was restored in 2004 and now serves as a pedestrian and bicycle access point and overlook.

Rt. 82 Bridge
Unique Trail Access at former Roadway Bridge

Shortly after this structure, you'll pass under the Dover-Zoar Road Bridge. A spur soon appears on your right that leads to the Canal Lands Park Trailhead.

In 2013, towpath was completed south to Rt. 800, just outside of Zoarville. It was a major accomplishment by volunteers who constructed boardwalk sections to traverse two 150' wetland stretches en route. According to the Ohio & Erie Canalway website, "The work was done mostly by hand, on weekends, and with tools brought from home or loaned by local businesses."

If you want to ride further at Rt. 800, you can try jumping onto the nearby Zoar Valley Trail and put in another 4.3 miles over to just outside Dover, OH. But this is a rougher ride with larger gravel and some potholes and possibly muddy areas. Fine for mountain bikes, but not much fun on cruisers or bikes with skinny tires.

In the future, this Zoar Valley Trail section will likely be shared with the towpath, just as they now share towpath between Zoar and Fort Laurens in Bolivar.

A pleasant surprise in Tuscarawas County, was the appearance of the stone towpath mile-markers seen further north. This section has markers 81-86, if memory serves. For those unfamiliar with these markers, they indicate the distance to Lake Erie, which is mile "0."

Completion of the entire trail looks to be at least a couple of years away. Current projections are that perhaps 2020 will be the year. And with only 9 miles remaining in the south and ~3 miles at the north end in Cleveland, it's certainly possible.

When that happens, the trail will likely be somewhere between 100-110 miles in total length. But until then, there should be some new sections being finished on an annual basis to explore.

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Tuscarawas County

Class: B2+, C2+

Length: 7.7 miles / crushed stone & earthen (includes short road route) / ~16.7 miles when complete

Condition: Good

Facilities: Restrooms and water are more scarce in this section. Take advantage of facilities in Bolivar, Zoar and at Fort Laurens.

Parking: Fort Laurens in Bolivar. (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: Facilities and water stops are not typically available on the trail here.

Map: Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (all counties) or Sm Screen Version

Tuscarawa Co. Elevation: Mostly flat.

Completion Progress: The final 9 miles of towpath have yet to be obtained for trail development. Also, a short .3-mile section of trail is needed to eliminate the road route west of Bolivar.

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

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