Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail Reviews    

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Clinton to Summit Lake

By hartleyfam in July, 2014

We rode from Clinton to Summit Lake and enjoyed the ride very much. Even though it is pretty industrial close to Akron, it was interesting to see all the different uses of the land along the trail. The boardwalk on Summit Lake is a really fun riding experience.

A detour in the Akron Section

By hartleyfam in July, 2014

We really enjoy the Canalway Towpath Trail. We live in Akron and ride it frequently. A week ago we decided to ride from Cascade Locks Trailhead north to Boston Store. We encountered a trail closed sign as soon as we crossed the street. The woman at Mustill Store told us to ride to Hickory, follow Hickory to the end, and then get on at Memorial Parkway. The directions were easy enough, but Hickory has a LARGE hill - fun going down, but a pain to ride up. There was also a small detour in Merriman Valley, but good signs for it. The ride through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is beautiful - not to be missed. Although the surface is mostly crushed limestone, it is very hard because of the constant use, so easy to ride.

Rode two stretches of trail

By terryn0148 in June, 2014

We started our biking in Peninsula at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway(CVSR) station. There is plenty of free parking. The station is located off of the main street behind the Winking Lizard and Century Cycle.
Due to rains the CVSR only runs one stop south of the Peninsula stop. Normally, it runs to Akron. Check the railways website for current information and train schedules.
We rode north to the northern most train station at Rockside (13 miles). The trail is mostly wooded and very pretty. The path is mostly crushed stone. We saw two deer on our ride. There are several bathrooms along the way. The train only costs $3.00 for bike and you. They also sell beer, snacks and other drinks. The beer made the trip back too short.
The next day we rode from Barberton to Canal Fulton. Barberton just built a bridge in downtown that lets you get off the bike path to go into town. You have to ride across the viaduct to get into town. There is free public parking on the other side of the bridge. Much of the time the bike path traverses between the Ohio & Erie Canal and the Tuscawaras River so plan your exits. A short distance off the trail on Second Street NW is R D Bikes if you need help.
This part of the trail is really beautiful. Mostly it is crushed stone, but there is one section newly paved. There is one big hill near Clinton, but otherwise it is an easy ride. We stopped at Cherry Street Ice Cream in Canal Fulton for the return trip. It is conveniently located next to the bike path.

Great trail

By dnmboehm in May, 2014

Put the bikes on the train & got off @ Brecksville station. We rode south to Hunt farm & back beginning where our car was parked. A very nice,scenic ride of 26 miles. ride...

a fabulous resource

By soel1251 in April, 2014

History, geography, wild life and "bike life" this trail has it all. It is the don't miss ride of Northeast Ohio.

completion to Zoar

By cindy elia in March, 2014

I recently was told that the way to access the path was to go to the Park in Zoar(a very small town) and access it there. I found the park easily enough, but was unable to see any access to the path to Bolivar from the Zoar park. If anyone does know, could they please notify here. Thanks! I really rely on this guide and reviews for info.

Enjoy biking and hiking!

Fabulous Treasure

By bkuenzli in February, 2014

I have ridden the entire length (in segments) and each section has unique qualities. From Akron to Harvard Ave, it is mostly scenic, with some urban qualities around i480. But it is surprisingly scenic from 480 to Harvard. I would avoid Merriman Rd to alexander rd on weekends. Too many pedestrians, children and dogs.

Getting through Downtown Akron has a pretty good hill to get over the Expressway and has a stretch that is on sidewalks, but it is safe as far as traffic is concerned. Akron and south to Summit Lake is a good trail, but urban... Factories and warehouses make up the "scenery". And a very cool bridge across the southern end of Summit Lake.

From Barberton to Massillon is beautiful. My favorite stretch. Theres a really nice bike shop north of Massillon for snacks, sandwiches and ICE CREAM. And Bike repairs if needed. Theres also nice shops in Canal Fulton and Clinton.

Getting through Massillon is a little dicey - city streets and a bridge with a narrow sidewalk on a busy street. But its a short, quick stretch to get back on the trail. Theres a nice 8 mile trail that intersects the Towpath just south of Downtown Massilon that goes west to Dalton. A nice side trip. Good path, but not as scenic.

South of Massillon is once again very wooded and very scenic. Another favorite stretch.

The last stretch south of Navarre needs a lot of work. Very bumpy, large rocky gravel. A lot of work o ride it on my skinny road tires. I hope they put down some crushed limestone to smooth it out.

Work is being done to complete the link to Bolivar and then to Zoar. I plan to ride it this spring, even if i need to use some local highways. Theres a way across 77 by Bolivar according to the map. Guess ill have to find it.

I have a hybid road bike, and am not a racer type. Except for the Bolivar stretch, its a great surface for my skinny tires and my 63 year old legs.

BTW... Take a camera!

The Adventure Begins...

By cindy elia in December, 2013

This is the trail that really began my love for long distance bicycling. The entire trail is beautiful...I feel I like going through Clinton, the Cuyahoga Natl Forest, the beaver swamp, and Bolivar to Craig Pitman Park best. I forgot the Lock 29 area (see what I mean...)I recommend every dedicated cyclist try this one in sections. There is something to see in each section. You can't go wrong. The rangers are very helpful and friendly, and ride the train in autumn! I have seen deer including twin fawns twice, herons, beavers, a multitude of songbirds, and fox.
The only downside to this trail is that the ride from Navarre to Bolivar is rough and needs work in comparison to the remainder of the path, but I have no problem getting along with a hybrid.
Enjoy!

Two sections rode

By clarence43232 in August, 2013

In 2013 I rode two sections of the trail from Canal Fulton to Akron. First day got as far as Barberton. Second day into downtown Akron. There the signs are good; be aware it is actually in town. And, a very steep hill going north which challenges one going south.
I've also been on the trail from the train station to the end, and from the park near I-77. I did not like that section--grass and dirt became the terrain.

Wow

By pecon457 in August, 2013

My biking buddy and I have ridden on the trail from the Steelyard Commons to Bolivar,not all at once but have taken some lenghty rides in the area of 60 -80 miles. What an incredible experience. The only part of the trail that was of any concern was the trip through the streets of Massillon. We now frequent varies portions of the on a weekly basis. What a jewel we have in our own backyard!

Nice trail

By pfriant in June, 2013

I am new at these trails, but found this one very pleasurable. I only walked from 40 corners about 2 miles. Most of that part is shaded, under trees and cool. The path is packed hard and easy to walk. A couple of bikers passed me and they seemed to be happy. I would recommend this path!!

Alternative Sources if Info

By youker in May, 2013

This is a great trail but it is supported by a number of different organizations in a somewhat confusing way and there are alternative sources of information to plan your trip.
1. The traillink web site that you are on with a map and reviews.
2. The Ohio & Erie Canalway organization with web site link from traillink site and maps and info However this is an overall PR organization that does not manage actual facilities.
3. The National Park Service Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This is the main organization with the best trail map but you must connect via the central National Park Service site after you click on the link from traillink.
4. Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation (Park)with the Leonard Krieger Visitor Center manages the north end of the trail above the NPS managed section.
5. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) which provides low cost shuttle for one way bike trips. For latest train schedules to plan your trip www.CVSR.com
6. Up river or further south other muncipalities are responsible for the trail. The Canalway site has links.
I highly recommend you plan ahead and get the NPS map to organize your trip. The highway system in greater Cleveland is quite complicated. Youker

Great trail, but pick times

By jeff_g in February, 2013

I am giving this trail a 5 star rating and while I do enjoy the Towpath and have ridden it from Harvard Road to Akron many times; I would like to point out issues with it. Don’t get me wrong, the path is well kept and the scenery is beautiful. The problem is the crowds on the weekends. Now I’m not saying the path is overcrowded, but the people on the path do not seem to understand basic “road” rules or even basic courtesy for sharing the path, passing, or when trying to pass; especially when close to Rockside Rd, Rt 82, and Peninsula entry points (most crowded areas). In addition, I see a lot of people on the path riding, walking, and running with headphones on – this is just dangerous for everyone.

With that said, I still enjoy this trail and adjust my visits to more “friendly” times of the day or days during the week. Dinner time or later on the weekends works nicely. Make sure you have a headlight and a taillight, as it gets dark on the trail! During the week, earlier in the day or after work, is nice too. It really is a great trail. Again, the scenery is beautiful and full of history, great wildlife, and the crushed limestone path is nice though can be very dusty during dry seasons and a bit sloppy right after a good rain. I do see a lot of cyclists on road bikes; however, I prefer not to ride mine on this trial and opt to bring my hybrid with its 700x45 tires. If you go during the day on a nice Saturday or Sunday, just be cautious and alert as there are many places other users can pop out of (benches, side trails, etc…) and really watch as you come around bends as you could come across groups spread across the entire trail.

An Absolute Treasure

By djs3771 in November, 2012

I use this trail several times per week. It runs parallel to the old Ohio and Erie Canal and the Cuyahoga River meanders nearby. Most of the towpath is crushed limestone, a softer surface which is nice for walkers and joggers. It has the potential to be a little sloppy the day after it rains.
The best part about the Towpath, though, is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has a program called "Bike Aboard". You can hop aboard the train at one of a half dozen train stops, and for $3, they will load up your bike onto a train car and you ride inside a comfortable coach to your desired stop. When you get off the train, the bike handlers will pull your bike off for you, and then you can ride back to your car via the towpath trail.

Massillon to Canal Fulton

By jimnoonan in October, 2012

Generally, this trail is in good shape. It's relatively flat, packed nicely, not crowded. Its scenic and shaded for the most part. It could be a bit wider to accomodate side by side riding. It could use a bit more frequent maintenance on brush growing along the borders. Off the trail itself, which is a raised surface, is the canal on one side, and the Tuscarawas River on the other. You need to pay attention!

By tfenchak in September, 2012

Bolivar to Massilon 9/9/2012

By 7802mark in September, 2012

Not quite as scenic as the sections north of Massilon. Also, the trail surface is rougher, especially south of Navarre. South of Navarre, narrow tires are not a good idea. We road 35mm and 1.5 inch tires and were OK, though the ride was a bit rough. There is one bad spot, where gravel and mud has washed down on to the trail. There are warning signs, so, take them seriously, and, if you don't have really fat tires, be prepared to dismount for a few yards. The section in Massilon is not great, but is passable, if you know in advance roughly what the route is. Study the map, and then keep your eye on the signs and painted road markings. The trail crosses the river twice, on ordinary sidewalks that are part of road bridges. I don't think the section in Massilon is good for younger children, and the sidewalks over the bridges might be tough for trailers and trikes. On the plus side, the trail heads are well constructed and have at least a portapottie at each. Stark County Parks appear to be committed to maintaining and improving the trail. It would really be a big improvement for Massilon to work on an improved routing through town.

By oneguy in September, 2012

What a trail and what a great day we had on it. My wife and I started our adventure in Cleveland at the Rockside Station of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and took the train to the Akron Northside Station. Ready for this, we spend a total of $4.00 on the train ride. The price included the transport of our 2 bikes and our passage on the train. Unbelievable!!! Our plan was to bike directly to the Peninsula Depot for lunch but we ran into Szalay’s Farm Market just before we got to the depot. We got some strawberries and a couple delicious plumbs and then onto the Peninsula Depot for lunch. We had a great lunch at the Winking Lizard. We both had the Chicken Rubin Sandwich and would highly recommend it. Our next stop was at the Canal Visitor Center where we talked to a really nice and knowledgeable Ranger about the towpath. After a walkthrough of the center we finished the last 1.7 miles back to the Rockside Station. And the best part of the day is that it is mostly downhill from Akron to Cleveland.

By gandhirama in August, 2012

Nesmith Lake to Stark County line

By 7802mark in November, 2011

At the end of October, we rode from the Nesmith Lake trailhead, on the south side of Akron, to the Stark County line and back. This trail is very nice, with varied scenery. The Nesmith Lake trailhead is easy to find and has a spacious and well paved parking lot. The trail surface is partly crushed stone and partly asphalt paving. It is in very good to excellent condition. There are a couple of mild hills near Barberton, nothing to be worried about. Public restrooms are available at several of the trailheads, though not at Nesmith Lake. There is a gap in the trail between Snyder Avenue and Eastern road. (Some maps show it farther, from Snyder to Vanderhoof Road, but we easily found the trail at Eastern.) The on road section between Snyder and Eastern is not great, but not terrible either. Adults and older children shouldn't have any problem. We saw signs of trail construction south of Snyder Ave. The Summit County Parks web site says construction to close this gap is under way. and could be complete as soon as the end of 2011. I rate the trail at 4 stars, but when the gap is completed, it will easily earn 5. Highly recommended.

Train out, bike back 5 stars

By 7802mark in November, 2011

I forgot to do the star rating when I submitted my review. I give it 5 bright gold stars! This is a great trail.

Train out, bike back

By 7802mark in November, 2011

In October 2011, we caught the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's first Saturday morning departure at Rockside Road Station. Bikes are welcome, and handled smoothly, and the fare for bikers is not just reasonable, but almost ridiculously low! We rode the train all the way to Akron. From the train station in Akron to the trail is just a very few blocks of on road riding. Traffic in Akron, early Saturday morning, is pretty sparse. About 5 miles north of Akron, the trail runs through a section of suburban strip mall, where we found a small cafe and had quite well made omelets for lunch. The ride from Akron back to Rockside Station is 27 miles. It is a very nice ride. The trail surface is mostly packed crushed stone. A few sections are asphalt paved. It is in very good condition. We only encountered a couple of brief, mildly muddy sections. Generally it is a smooth ride and you can ignore the surface condition. We ride 700x35 and 26x1.5 tires and had no surface related difficulties. The trail runs through varied scenery. A boardwalk runs over several hundred yards of scenic wetland. Szalay's farm market was in full swing, and makes an entertaining break. At the north end, a short on road ride connects the trailhead to the CVSRR Rockside Road Station. Print maps of both ends of the trail, because the on road routes are not marked, and do have a couple of turns, though they are also neither long nor difficult. If you find that you can't do the whole 27 miles, just make sure you have the CVSRR schedule. If you stand, with your bike, on a station platform and wave your hands over your head as the engine approaches, the train will stop and you can finish your trip the lazy way for just a few bucks more. This is a great ride and I highly recommend it. Invite your friends. Make it a Boy or Girl Scout or Church group outing. You can't go wrong with this one.

Ohio & Erie Canal--Cuyahoga Valley NRA

By fitzldojbf in July, 2011

The Ohio & Erie Canal--Cuyahoga Valley NRA or Towpath as we refer to it is one of my favorite places to ride bicycle in Northeast Ohio. It provides a moderate ride with a lot of exposure to wildlife, different biomes and freedom from fighting automobile traffic. I provides a combination of history, environment, social, and cultural settings.

The trail is hard packed and in bad weather not a pleasant place to ride. Unless you like mud of course and ride a mountain bicycle. I ride a road bicycle and find it very easy to ride the Towpath unless it is muddy.

We usually start our ride in Peninsula and ride to either Bath Road, about a 15 mile round trip ride, or to Akron, about a 30 mile round trip ride. These routes take us along the historic Erie Canal where the remnants of locks are marked and described. The routes also follow along the route of an operating historical railroad and the Cuyahoga River.

At Bath Road a short detour to the east of the Towpath are hundreds of heron nests can be viewed from the road. At some times of the year these nests have a great deal of activity with the huge herons flying in and out while they are building nests, courting, feeding their young and trying to keep cool during the summer heat. This is a must see if you have not been there.

Along the route there are also farmers markets, covered bridge (short detour off the trail), farmland (corn) and friendly people. Sometimes it gets very busy but if you like being in a popular place with lots of outdoor enthusiasts even this time is fun. I usually take to the road instead of the Towpath when it gets congested.

We like to start in Peninsula because it has a bicycle shop, two sports pubs, art shops, and a train station to board the historical railroad. This railroad also offers an option to you if you want to ride part of the train and return to your starting point on the train. However, there are many starting points where you may park your car.

I rate it a 5 star. Check it out.

train your bike

By jrutch in October, 2010

what fun...rode one way & trained back....started at visitor center just south of the rockside station and biked down to botzum (about 18 miles) and trained back....no problems with this or the fact that we had a tandem, the train crew handled it all perfectly (and for $2 each, what a deal!!!)....the trail was well-maintained with some work on-going to repair a few sections.....the visitor center parking lot had plenty of parking and the trail was right in front....stopped in peninsula for some shopping/looking around....just be aware of the train schedule as they only run 2 or 3 times a day and not everyday (check the website): http://www.cvsr.com/

Navigating the Towpath Trail in the Akron Area

By tombilcze in April, 2010

I ride sections of this trail around the Akron area frequently. The Towpath is managed by several jurisdictions: the National Park Service, Summit Parks and the City of Akron. Most of the web-based maps are out of date. Here’s the trail status as I know it as of April 6, 2010.

1. South of Akron, the Towpath starts at Snyder Avenue in southern Barberton. The section just to the south, between Center Road and Snyder Avenue has not been built.

2. You can cycle north from Snyder into the southern edge of Downtown Akron via a dedicated trail with minimal road crossings. Summit Parks shows the section between Manchester Road and Summit Lake as being incomplete. It is indeed complete as of last summer and is in excellent condition. There is a nice new trailhead with restrooms at Wilbeth Road.

3. The dedicated trail ends at Bartges Street heading north. Follow the signs 1 block east on Bartges Street and make a left into the former BF Goodrich factory parking lot, now known as Canal Place. You cycle through the passageway adjacent to the tall factory smokestacks. The trail picks up again behind the Spaghetti Warehouse. It’s probably only 1,000 feet of parking lot to navigate.

4. The trail is asphalt paved as it passes north past Canal Park and Lock 2. The dedicated trail ends at State Street behind the stadium. There is a project underway to extend this section to Lock 3 Park across the street.

5. Today, you must ride city streets for about 4 blocks north. Follow Water Street across State Street from the current trail end for a block. It ends at Bowery Street. Continue north on Bowery for 2 blocks to Quaker Street. Turn left onto Quaker Street and follow it to Ash Street behind Cascade Plaza. The trail resumes with a bridge over the Innerbelt.

6. From the Innerbelt bridge, you can cycle the remainder of the trail north through Summit County with few road crossings.

I hope this helps people navigating through Akron. I understand that grant money has been received or construction projects are underway to fill in these last three gaps in the trail.

Extend Your Ride

By GregoryAJones in September, 2009

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath extends north to Cleveland from Rockside Rd. in Independence and switches from crushed stone at that point to a paved trail where the trail becomes part of the Cleveland Metroparks system. There is some surprising scenery on this 6 mile extension which winds through a reclaimed industrial area along the Cuyahoga River and includes 2 nice bridges over busy city streets, waterways, birds, fishing, etc. The trail ends near mile marker 5 which corresponds to the same milestones set on the Towpath. You can venture west then north beyond the trail head parking lot for lunch or shopping at Steelyard Commons and for the very adventurous, you can ride through Tremont and/or Ohio City and link up with the Cleveland Lakefront Shoreway Bikeway.

Towpath Trail

By Workman in July, 2009

The Towpath Trail is open from Harvard Rd. in Cleveland to just south of Cedar St. in Akron. probably about 30 miles. In Akron there is a gap from Spaggetti Warehouse parking lot south of Cedar St. to Bartges St. (about 3-4 blocks). (It is possible to ride through parking lots to reach Bartges St.) From Bartges St. south to Summit Lake Park is an older section of trail (sidewalks along the canal) and somewhat rough asphalt. From Summit Lake Park south is a brand new section including a "floating towpath" thru part of Summit Lake. It looks like a "boardwalk" but in fact has no pilings and instead is on floating plastic barrels. You would not know it is floating because it is just as solid as if it were driven into the ground. The new section ends at Wilbeth Ave. From Wilbeth Ave south to Waterloo the trail is under construction and should be open by the fall of 2009. The bridge is completed, the base surface is down it should not be too long. From Waterloo south thru Barberton to Snyder Ave. at the south edge of Barberton the trail is open. The trailhead at Snyder Rd. is called Wolf Creek Trailhead. There is a 2 mile gap from there to the junction of Van Burean Rd. and Eastern Rd. Clearing has been started and I was told the it should be open by sometime in the of summer 2010. From the Eastern Rd. connection to Lincolnway in Massillon, the trail is open. At Lincolnway there is a gap that can be accessed by crossing the sidewalk on the Lincolnway road bridge and following the connector trail north on 6th St. to get under the bridge, then the connector runs south to Tremont Ave and under that bridge, west 1/2 block to 5th St. south to Green St. east to 4th St, south to Oak Knoll Park, and then south and east on a paved trail thru the Park to Walnut Rd. East on Walnut Rd. across the river, brings you to the Towpath Trail. From there it is open all the way south to Rt 212 just west of Bolivar. Take Rt. 212 east to Bolivar and then follow the street south to Fort Laurens. Turn east into Fort Laurens and go to the end of the driveway where you will find a path that is 1/10 of a mile long to a $2,000,000 bridge over I-77. from there to Zoar village, the trail is again crushed stone. South of the exit point to Zoar village, the trail is unimproved a dirt and a mountain bike or house trail south to Rt. 800. At the point where the trail meets the railroad, up on a high embankment, you must find your way to the river and cross under the railroad bridge. There is usually not a clear trail at this point. Also the section south of Zoar village has several missing stream bridges that may need to be "forded". The majority of the surface from Cleveland to Zoar is crushed stone, with a few places concrete or asphalt. The majority is very scenic and beautiful. I road Akon to Barberton on June 30, 2009.

Great scenery

By CherylD02 in June, 2008

I have biked this path several times although I've not gotten as far as the end. That's my goal this year! I love the scenery and as for a lot of people on the path, if you go in the mornings, it's not as crowded. The scenery is fantastic and right around the Brecksville area there is a bald eagle's nest with an eaglet and mom and dad. You can sometimes see them soaring above you on the path. Awsome site! Enjoy!

Ask about the train

By Jay Nicks in December, 2007

This trail now runs 31 miles from downtown Akron to Grant Road in Cleveland. It is a gravel surfaced canal towpath. There are many large over pass bridges (see photos). Bikes can be rented at RR crossing on highway 303, 2 miles East of I 271.

Bike and Ride the Train

By in October, 2007

"The Cuyahoga Valley Railroad has a Bike-Aboard program, for $2 you can ride the train with your bike. It's a fun way to see more of the beautiful trail. The scenery along the canal and river is beautiful and I always spot blue heron, deer, turtles, and other wildlife. If you're lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the nesting bald eagle. "

Beautiful!

By in April, 2006

I started in Valley View and biked the whole length of this trail to Akron (28 miles one way). It is hard packed stone and part ashphalt. It was a beautiful ride with many places to stop and rest and it also passes through some small towns where you can buy snacks and drinks. The ride was cut short in Akron where construction is ongoing to connect another 10 or so miles on to the Southern end of my trip.

Fun trail

By in May, 2003

I think this trail is a great place to have some fun.

Enjoy!

Crowded

By JD in February, 2002

"So crowded with bikers, joggers and hikers you feel like you never left the city."