i wanted to submit my current opinion of the zoar trail from fort laurens to the dover dam. my brother and i just rode this and other parts of the area in/and around zoar and bolivar yesterday. i had read the previous nine reviews on this website; not to mention we had a friend that did this as well in 2014. so i knew going in to possibly expect some unimproved and/or primitive conditions. we were pleasantly surprised that the trail was actually not bad at all. we do the majority of our biking up in the cuyahoga valley towpath and up in cleveland so we know what the crushed limestone/smooth gravel towpaths sections are all about. that being said, the trail from fort laurens past the four locks (7,8,9, and 10); old county road 82 and bridge; current county road 82 (take to downtown zoar); down to state route 800 is comprised of the aforementioned conditions. there is no paved sections at all once you get past the bridge over interstate 77. however, it is smooth as the limestone has been flattened over the years. very little human traffic at all, very peaceful, and easy to navigate. the tuscarawas river bends and snakes close to the trail from time-to-time and was still and low in spots. the short ride (one minute or so) on state route 800 to where state route 212 joins is where you will find the trailhead to the zoarville bridge. the trailhead is marked by a pedestrian with a stick figure and says TRAIL on the yellow sign. trail then gets a little bumpy with bigger rocks and grass (not tall at all) till you get to the bridge over the tuscarawas river. this bridge only served the trail for hikers, bikers and horses (no car/truck traffic anymore). the trail then takes a right turn (90 degrees) and for 2.8 miles down to the dover dam adjacent to the tuscarawas river (note: at this point the river will be on your right as you are going south towards the dam whereas when you are coming down the zoar trail before this the river is on your left). here is where the trail is no longer crushed limestone. it now represents a hiking/horse path that is used by bikers as well. so don't expect a traditional bike path which you may be accustomed to in other parts of the area/country. this was (from my understanding)a trail that was blazed and/or created by the boy scouts so if that is true then it was first a hiking trail. if there are any plans for the county to improve it down the road; only time will tell. but for now, it was a path wide enough for two bikes to travel side-by-side and the best i can describe it is that it looks like a small pick-up truck path has gone down there from time-to-time. meaning that there are two dirt-flattened two-foot wide paths straddling around the middle which is grass/weeds. it had rained on thursday but there were no puddles only a few slightly muddy low spots. there were NO huge potholes, large holes, trees down, washed out areas, etc. now, that being said, i can see that the time of the year and current weather conditions prior to doing the path just might effect the condition of this part of the zoar trail going down to dover dam. again, very peaceful ride and well worth it. one note if you do this ride in the near future or this fall, please watch when you get to the dam area...approach with high caution. there is a bee/wasp/or hornets' nest that is right near a tree as the trail gets wider at the dam. it is hanging (believe it or not) at eye/head level from a crooked branch. if you are fixated on the dam in the distance, you just might get too close to this nest. so be very careful of it.
hope this helps, enjoy the trip!
oh, one other note...one of the previous posts said that the boardwalk right before you get to state route 800 was broken/washed out...it has now been rebuilt.
in addition, when you are at the trailhead 212/800...do not expect to see the old zoarville bridge if you are looking for it. this time of year the tree foilage is still blocking your view...possibly in the fall/winter/spring you can see it with very little foilage on the trees.