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The Miami & Erie Canal was built between 1825 and 1845, an engineering marvel stretching from Cincinnati to Toledo. This canal was heavily used until competition from the railroad caused the decline of the canal system. The Miami & Erie Canal was last used commercially in 1929.
Today, the Miami & Erie Canal Trail spans nearly 40 miles from Delphos to Fort Loramie, passing through many quaint western Ohio towns and villages. Numerous locks, spillways and historic buildings remain from the canal era, and much of the local history has been preserved in the many museums located along the corridor. Note that its surface is largely unpaved and varies greatly along the route.
The trail connects three state parks, local parks, community trails and historical sites. Sections of the trail are part of the Buckeye Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail.
Parking and access is available along the corridor in Delphos, Spencerville, St. Marys, New Bremen, Minister and Fort Loramie.
The stretch from Bloody Bridge to St Mary's brings you very close to the canal, and the scenic farm land, forests, and ponds make it a memorable hike.
The Bloody Bridge parking situation is pretty carefree, so don't expect too much. Starting the trail from Bloody Bridge and going South is slightly confusing because you can take two routes.
First, you can walk next to the canal until you get to 66, but this part does not have gravel (at least when we went) and the grass may be high if they haven't mowed lately. Your other option is to walk the road that parallels the canal, until it dead ends into 66. We did both, but will probably stick to the road in the future because the path has some sink holes.
The big stops on this stretch are Lock 14, and the massive 40 acre ponds. Lock 14 is very scenic, and worth stopping to investigate. Per the Canal Booklet - Originally wooden, this lock was converted to concrete in 1907. The 2003 renovation includes a pedestrian bridge and parking lot. The booklet also mentions the 40 acre ponds were created as a result of the canal crossing the St. Marys river flood plane. The area next to the ponds is very peaceful, and is a standout feature on this part of the trail.
The Bloody Bridge to St Marys stretch of the Miami & Erie Canal Towpath really provides a nice scenic walk by the canal that I highly recommend. If you're looking for an off-cement walk, next to a canal and several large ponds, I think this hike is the perfect site.
The canal was easy to find, but not the trail. We were looking for maybe a small parking lot and a sign proclaiming the trail beginning. It turns out one walks along the canal. We intended to use this trail as a bike path. We decided to park at the (Very Nice) War Memorial and ride until we came to be riding along the canal through people's yards. There was a sign at the edge of Delphos stating "No Biking". We parked the bikes and decided to walk. We felt a little awkward walking through people's backyards but continued to a large farmers field. There were several large holes along the path hidden by the high grass. Walking we saw them but maybe not on a bike. I would not recommend this trail.
My sister and I did this trail on the morning of Aug 10th, 2015. We actually started at Deep Cut Rd. and went on to St. Marys. The first mile or two was not cleared very well. ( Unless you were suppose to be on the side road, Delphos St Marys Road that parallels it) Which we did for the most part. Other than that, it was one of the most beautiful hikes we have taken in a long time. I can't wait to get back to Ohio and do another section.
Rode on this trail 6/2011 from Farnsworth Metro Park to Providence then crossed the river to Grand Rapids. Very good road for biking.
Many benches for resting along the way
Mostly shaded from the sun
Great geological examples
Cafe's and restaurants in Grand Rapids (Make sure to check out Rita's!)
Well populated with hikers, runners and fellow bikers during the day
A few trail sections suffering from water wash-out but no biggie!
A few stretches were newly paved with gravel making travel with a road bike rather taxing
Make sure to take along snacks and water as there are no facilities between Farnsworth and Grand Rapids.
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