As closely as possible, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail follows a historic canal where mules once pulled boats from 1827 to 1913. Currently, just over 80 miles of the trail are complete from Cleveland south to Bolivar, but it will eventually extend farther south to New Philadelphia, for a total of 110 miles.
The trail itself is contained within a national heritage corridor that also includes an on-road scenic byway and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which operates between Cleveland and Canton.
Most of the route is level and well-shaded with lots of historic sites and other attractions, making for a pleasant trip. The trail runs nearly continuously between four counties: Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas, and the short on-road breaks are easily navigable.
A highlight of the journey is passage through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, one of the most visited National Parks in the country. North of the park, the trail is paved; beginning in the park and heading southward, the trail is hard-packed, crushed limestone.
In Massillon, on the trail's southern end, a gap of only about a half a mile (along residential streets) exists between the Stark County section and the section in Tuscarawas County. From this gap southward to Bolivar, the trail has a hard-packed, dirt surface. On the south side of Bolivar, you can pick up the 20-mile Zoar Valley Trail.
A substantial portion of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail from Cleveland to Massillon is also a major component of the Ohio to Erie Trail. The planned 320-mile trail, of which more than 240 miles are complete and open for use, will eventually span Ohio from the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland to the Ohio River in Cincinnati.
The trail offers 48 trailheads with parking; here are a few options:
Cuyahoga County: Parking can be found in Bacci Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Deep Lock Quarry Metro Park.
Summit County: Parking can be found in O'Neil Woods Metro Park, Cascade Park, and Summit Lake Park.
Stark County: On the north side of Massillon, a parking lot is available south of Lake Avenue NW between Great Lakes Boulevard NW and 3rd Street NW.
Tuscarawas County: On the southern outskirts of Massillon, a parking lot is available on the south side of Warmington Road SW, where the trail crosses the street. Another lot is available on the east side of Navarre, across from Navarre-Bethlehem Park.