Towpath Trail Travels
Annually, more than 2.5 million Americans find their way to the iconic 81+ mile Towpath Trail running through the heart of the Ohio & Erie Canalway.
Regardless of how you like to journey “on foot” — walking, hiking, or running — old-school “travel” along the Towpath Trail adds an undeniable energy to the quality of life in the counties of Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas in Northeastern Ohio.
Towpath Trail Fast Facts
Canalway - 85+ miles of Towpath Trail (& growing!)
Trailheads - 50+ Trailheads provide parking & Towpath
Trail access starting at Harvard Ave.
(N) to Canal Lands Park (S)
Trailhead/Towpath care - National Park, County Park Districts
Surfaces - Level, Mostly ADA Accessible
North Cuyahoga County Section -
Cleveland Metroparks - Paved
National Park & Stark County - Level, hard-packed,
Tuscarawas County Section - Earthen, hard-packed
Emergency Number - 911
The Towpath is a Towing Path
Travel — literally! — along the path where, from 1827 to 1913, mules once pulled canal boats laden with passengers and goods up and down the historic Ohio & Erie Canal.
Walking the Path of History
Today’s Trail follows the historic Towpath as closely as possible, the exact route determined by historic maps and remnants of the Trail
itself. In some places, the Trail leaves the historic route where time and events have erased the old path.
[Canal Fever, KSU Press, 2009]
Along the Trail and at Key Visitor Centers, you can learn more about the cultural, historic, natural and recreational resources being preserved and celebrated along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. When fully restored, the Towpath Trail will be 101 miles long in the National Heritage Area.
Head to our “Map It!” page to find the Trailheads closest to you. Each of the Trailheads offer access to the Trail - and all but the Portage Path Trailhead in Summit County have parking too.
You’ll find that most Canalway journeys involve a combination of our three travel components - America’s Byway, Scenic Railroad and Towpath. They often travel side-by-side or interconnect. So you may want to combine your walk/run with a drive or hop aboard CVSR for a double-your-fun Canalway day.
Towpath Traveling Tips
- Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen
- Map It!
- Check which Trailheads along your route have water available
- Note distances between Trailheads - and plan according to your fitness level - especially if little ones are in tow
- Be aware of weather conditions
- Canalway Alerts - check for trail closures - especially after heavy rains
- Boardwalks/Wooden Sections - get slippery when wet or covered with frost
- Chilly frost in spring and fall - just a thin layer - turns Towpath boardwalk and other small wooden sections into slippery surfaces - continue to run - but be careful/walk in these areas
- Recent rains / Early morning dew - again, be aware of wooden sections getting slippery
- Navigating a Shared Use Trail - our simple rules for smooth travel among those on foot, on wheels and on hoof (in some sections)
- Visiting a Preserve - from leaves to berries - take only photo souvenirs - and more...
Enhance Your Journey
Questing - Turn your walk into an adventure. Each Quest takes you on a walking journey through an outdoor space with a story to tell. Solve the mystery in the clues to find the box hidden in each Quest. Leave your signature/personal stamp as proof of your sleuthing skills.
Birdwatching & Wildlife - Canalway park partners offer ranger-led walks, or conduct your own with visits to the Key Viewing sites outlined in our Birdwatching section.
Train for the Towpath Marathon in October - and help celebrate its 20th year! Described as “one of the most beautiful race courses in America” by Runner’s World magazine & named one of the “Top 24 Trail Runs in America” by Trail Runner Magazine.
Join a Running Club
Here's a starter list of local Running Clubs that frequently use the Canalway:
Crooked River Trail Runners:
Southeast Running Club: http://www.southeastrunningclub.org/
Vertical Runner: http://www.verticalrunner.com/
Summit Athletic Running Club: http://www.summitathletic.com/
Northeast Running Club: http://www.cwrrc.org/
Join a Hiking Club
There are many active Hiking Clubs in the Canalway that would welcome you on their journeys, including:
Akron Metro Parks Hiking Club (AMPHC):
Cleveland Hiking Club:
Stark Parks Hike-a-Hundred Club: