Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail In Ohio

Here is everything you need to know about the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Ohio
  • Length: 94 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: https://www.cincinnatiparks.com/mt-airy-forest-explorers-trail/

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail holds a significant place in the history of transportation and commerce in the state of Ohio. The construction of the canal began in 1825 and was completed in 1832, spanning a distance of 308 miles from Lake Erie in Cleveland to the Ohio River in Portsmouth. The canal was a major transportation route, connecting the Great Lakes with the Ohio River and allowing for the efficient movement of goods and people.

The canal played a crucial role in the economic development of Ohio, as it provided a reliable and cost-effective means of transporting goods such as coal, lumber, and agricultural products. It also facilitated the growth of towns and cities along its route, as businesses and industries sprang up to take advantage of the canal’s transportation capabilities. The canal system was operated by a series of locks and dams, which allowed boats to navigate the varying elevations along the route.

However, with the advent of railroads in the mid-19th century, the canal’s importance as a transportation route began to decline. By the early 20th century, the canal system had fallen into disrepair and was largely abandoned. In the 1960s, a movement to preserve and restore the canal began, leading to the creation of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

Today, the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is a popular recreational trail that follows the historic route of the canal. Stretching over 100 miles, the trail offers hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts the opportunity to explore Ohio’s rich history and natural beauty. Along the trail, visitors can still see remnants of the canal, including locks, aqueducts, and historic buildings. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail stands as a testament to the importance of the canal system in Ohio’s past and serves as a reminder of the state’s rich industrial heritage.

While On The Trail

Access Points

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Transportation Available

1. Akron Metro RTA – Public bus service in Akron, Ohio.
2. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad – Scenic train rides through Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
3. Cleveland RTA – Public transportation system serving Cleveland and surrounding areas.
4. Uber – Ride-hailing service available in the area.
5. Lyft – Ride-hailing service available in the area.
6. Yellow Cab – Taxi service operating in the region.
7. Lime – Electric scooter and bike rentals for short-distance travel.
8. Bird – Electric scooter rentals for short-distance travel.
9. Summit Bike Share – Bike-sharing program in Akron, Ohio.
10. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Car rental service with multiple locations in the vicinity.


The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail offers several amenities for visitors. Some of the amenities available at the trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail, including at trailheads and visitor centers.

2. Parking: Parking areas are provided at different access points along the trail, allowing visitors to park their vehicles and access the trail easily.

3. Camping Sites: The trail offers camping sites for those who wish to spend the night. These sites may have facilities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas often have picnic tables and sometimes grills for cooking.

5. Water Fountains: Water fountains are available at certain points along the trail, providing a convenient source of drinking water for visitors.

6. Visitor Centers: The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail has visitor centers located at various points. These centers provide information about the trail, its history, and other relevant details. They may also have exhibits, gift shops, and restrooms.

7. Bike Rentals: Some sections of the trail offer bike rental services, allowing visitors to rent bicycles and explore the trail without bringing their own.

8. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailheads, you may find amenities such as information boards, maps, benches, and bike racks.

9. Interpretive Signs: Throughout the trail, there are interpretive signs that provide information about the history, ecology, and points of interest along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

Please note that specific amenities may vary depending on the section of the trail you are visiting. It is always recommended to check with local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information on amenities available at specific locations along the trail.

Nearby Services

1. Canal Fulton Provision Company – A local eatery offering delicious food and drinks in Canal Fulton.
2. Lock 4 Trailhead – A convenient starting point for the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, equipped with parking and restroom facilities.
3. Canal Tavern of Zoar – A historic inn and restaurant in Zoar, providing comfortable lodging and tasty meals.
4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park – A vast national park with various lodging options, including campgrounds and cabins.
5. Mustill Store & House – A restored historic building in Akron, serving as a visitor center and offering information about the trail.
6. Peninsula – A charming village with multiple dining options and quaint bed and breakfast accommodations.
7. Boston Store Visitor Center – A visitor center located in Peninsula, providing information about the trail and nearby amenities.
8. Canal Visitor Center – A visitor center in Canal Fulton, offering information about the trail and nearby attractions.
9. Lock 29 Trailhead – A trailhead in Peninsula, featuring parking, restrooms, and access to the towpath trail.
10. Akron General Medical Center – A nearby hospital in Akron, providing emergency medical services if needed.

Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail Difficulty Notes

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail presents a moderate difficulty level for hikers and bikers alike. Spanning over 100 miles, the trail offers a diverse terrain that includes flat stretches, gentle slopes, and occasional steep inclines. While the majority of the trail is well-maintained and easily accessible, there are sections that may require more effort and endurance, particularly in areas with loose gravel or uneven surfaces. Additionally, the trail passes through various urban and rural landscapes, presenting occasional obstacles such as road crossings and narrow pathways. Overall, the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail provides a challenging yet rewarding experience for outdoor enthusiasts of different skill levels.

Features And Attractions

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Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
3. Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians.
4. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
5. Camping is not allowed along the trail.
6. Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
7. Hunting or trapping is not permitted on the trail.
8. Fishing is allowed in designated areas only, following state fishing regulations.
9. Swimming or wading in the canal is not allowed.
10. Littering is strictly prohibited; please dispose of trash in designated bins.
11. Alcohol consumption is not permitted on the trail.
12. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may have seasonal restrictions or closures due to maintenance or weather conditions.

Seasonal Information

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Stretching 110 miles from Cleveland to New Philadelphia, this scenic trail offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich history and natural beauty of Ohio. When planning your visit, it’s important to consider the best times of the year to fully enjoy the trail and be aware of any seasonal closures.

One of the best times to visit the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and blossoming trees, creating a picturesque backdrop for your hike or bike ride. The weather during this time is generally mild, making it comfortable for outdoor activities. Fall is equally stunning, as the foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, providing a breathtaking experience for visitors. The cooler temperatures during fall also make it an ideal time for outdoor exploration.

It’s important to note that some sections of the trail may have seasonal closures due to weather conditions or maintenance work. During the winter months, certain portions of the trail may be closed or inaccessible due to snow and ice. It’s advisable to check the official website or contact the park authorities for up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed for maintenance or repairs during other times of the year. However, the majority of the trail remains open year-round, allowing visitors to enjoy its beauty and historical significance.

Overall, the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail offers a unique and immersive experience throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in exploring the remnants of the historic canal system or simply enjoying the natural beauty of Ohio, there is no shortage of opportunities along this trail. By planning your visit during the best times of the year and staying informed about any seasonal closures, you can make the most of your time on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near trail entrances for easy access.
2. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities along the trail are equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
3. Paved Surface: The trail is mostly paved, providing a smooth and accessible surface for wheelchair users.
4. Accessible Trailheads: Trailheads are designed to be accessible, with ramps or level access points for wheelchair users.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are equipped with accessible tables and seating options.
6. Accessible Fishing Platforms: Fishing platforms are designed to be accessible, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy fishing opportunities.
7. Accessible Interpretive Signs: Interpretive signs along the trail are designed with accessible features such as large print and braille.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains along the trail are designed to be accessible, with lower spouts for wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Trail Bridges: Trail bridges are designed to be accessible, with ramps or level access points for wheelchair users.
10. Accessible Trail Loops: Some sections of the trail offer accessible loop options, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy a shorter route.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or wandering into unsafe areas.
2. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and watch out for other trail users, wildlife, and potential hazards.
3. Use proper lighting: If biking or walking after dark, use a headlamp or carry a flashlight to ensure visibility.
4. Share the trail: Be courteous to other users, yield to faster traffic, and announce your presence when passing.
5. Wear appropriate safety gear: Helmets are strongly recommended for cyclists, and reflective clothing can enhance visibility.
6. Stay hydrated: Carry an adequate supply of water, especially during hot weather, to prevent dehydration.
7. Use insect repellent: Protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects that may be present along the trail.
8. Check weather conditions: Be aware of weather forecasts and avoid the trail during severe weather or flooding.
9. Secure your belongings: Keep valuables out of sight and lock your vehicle to deter theft.
10. Stay on marked paths near water: Avoid venturing too close to the canal or riverbanks, as they can be unstable.
11. Be cautious of wildlife: Respect the natural habitat and keep a safe distance from any wild animals encountered.
12. Carry a cell phone: Have a fully charged phone with you in case of emergencies or to report any incidents.
13. Travel in groups: If possible, hike or bike with others for added safety and assistance if needed.
14. Follow all trail rules and regulations: Observe posted signs, speed limits, and any specific guidelines for the trail.
15. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a basic first aid kit and know how to access emergency services if necessary.

Conservation Notes

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is a significant conservation area in Ohio, with efforts focused on preserving its natural resources and historical significance. The trail spans approximately 110 miles, following the route of the historic Ohio & Erie Canal. It serves as a vital link between urban and rural communities, providing opportunities for recreation, education, and conservation.

Conservation efforts for the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail are primarily focused on protecting and enhancing the natural habitats and ecosystems along the trail. The trail passes through a variety of landscapes, including forests, wetlands, and meadows, which support a diverse range of plant and animal species. Conservation initiatives aim to maintain and restore these habitats, ensuring the long-term survival of native flora and fauna.

One of the key conservation challenges for the trail is the management of invasive species. Invasive plants, such as garlic mustard and honeysuckle, can outcompete native vegetation and disrupt the ecological balance. Conservation organizations and volunteers work together to identify and remove these invasive species, allowing native plants to thrive and supporting the overall health of the ecosystem.

Additionally, efforts are made to protect water quality along the trail. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail runs alongside rivers, streams, and wetlands, which are essential for maintaining clean water sources. Conservation measures include erosion control, stormwater management, and the implementation of best practices to prevent pollution and preserve water quality.

Overall, the conservation status of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is actively managed and monitored to ensure the preservation of its natural resources. Through ongoing efforts, this historic trail continues to provide a valuable habitat for wildlife, a recreational space for visitors, and a connection to Ohio’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

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