Walking the Path of History
Whether you’re in the mood to stroll, run or hike, the 25 miles of Towpath Trail managed by Stark Parks in this section offers an ideal setting for your “on foot” journeys.
Getting There - Trailheads offer parking and entrances to the Towpath. Find all 48 on the “Map Your Trip!” page.
Stark County Park District — Towpath Fast Facts
- Number of Towpath miles: 25
- Number Miles open to horseback riders: 19.1
- Number of Trailheads: 13
- Surface — Level, crushed limestone, mostly ADA Accessible
- Key Visitor Centers: Canal Fulton Canalway Center, Congressman Ralph Regula Canalway Center at Sippo Lake Park, Lake Avenue Trailhead
Visitor’s Tip: You’ll find a small break in the trail at Lincoln Way, south of the Lake Avenue Trailhead. Call Stark Parks or ask at the Lake Avenue Trailhead for directions.
Towpath Adventures - a few ideas!
Canal Fulton - An easy one-mile hike from St. Helena Heritage Park to Lock 4 Park along the Towpath Trail will include: views of the St. Helena III Canal Boat being pulled by two Percheron horses; a stop by the only working Dry Dock along the canal - Lock 4; a replica of a canal boat captain’s house; & plenty of locations to have a picnic and/or throw a fishing line into the canal.
Walk a world away - Aside from occasional car sounds, you’ll feel like you’re in the Ohio of old if you hike north a mile or more from Canal Fulton or if you hike south from Craig Pittman Memorial Park in Navarre. You’re likely to come across horseback riders on this southern section. Be sure to give them right-of way, but enjoy the rustic setting and the birds you’ll encounter on this more remote section of the Towpath. BYO water. Modern restrooms are available at Navarre-Bethlehem Park across from Craig Pittman Memorial Park.
Connecting to the Olde Muskingum Trail - You’ll get a different view of the canal from the west side of the Tuscarawas River if you choose to walk/run on the Olde Muskingum Trail, a six-mile trail parallel to the Towpath that begins at Rt. 93 next to the Canal Fulton Canoe Livery in Canal Fulton. You can “do a loop” by crossing back over to the Towpath Trail at Butterbridge Road, at the old iron bridge near High Mill Avenue, or at 40 Corners Trailhead.
Boundary Marker of the Western Frontier - Be careful finding the big rock along Erie Avenue north of Massillon that marks what was once the western border of our country! You can then stop at the Lake Avenue Trailhead to rent bicycles or canoes, get ice cream or a bite to eat, or pick up a new pair of running or hiking shoes.
Visitor’s Tip: It should be noted that there are no trailside services between Navarre and Bolivar and that this stretch of the Towpath Trail also is open to equestrians.
Expand your journey
- Birdwatching & Wildlife - Canalway park partners offer ranger-led walks, or conduct your own with visits to Key Viewing sites suggested by Area Naturalists in Birdwatching.
- Questing - Two Canal Fulton-area Quests are available, including one giving you a mule’s-eye view of the historic waterway!
- History Buffs - Take a tour of the Magnolia Flouring Mills with a Stark Parks historian. The historic mill has been in continuous operation since 1834 and is beside the Sandy & Beaver Canal which once connected to the Ohio & Erie Canal. You’ll find a Quest for this site too.
Towpath Traveling Tips
- Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen
- Map Your Trip! Continue your journey to other great locations in the area
- Plan according to your fitness level - especially if little ones are in tow
- Be aware of weather conditions
- Canalway Alerts - check the link for Stark County Park Districts for trail closures - especially after heavy rains
- Caution - Boardwalks/Wooden Sections - get slippery when wet or covered with frost
- Navigating a Shared Use Trail - simple rules for pets & sharing the trail...more
- Note: Eight ft. leashes in the County Parks; Six ft. in the National Park; All yield to horses.
- Visiting a Preserve - from leaves to berries - take only photo souvenirs - Learn more....
Join a Running Club - Here’s a starter list of clubs that frequently use the Canalway.
Before You Go
Plan & Expand Your Visit - using site features
Take a walk or a jog along the Towpath Trail.
Follow the Canalway
Dates: Winter & Spring Saturdays - 9 a.m. - Noon Nov. 17th, Dec. 8 & 22, Jan 26, Feb 9 & 23, March 9 & 23, April 6 & 27 Enjoy fresh food in winter and support local farmers, Grab lunch while you’re there, and then Head over to the Towpath Trail for a brisk winter’s walk. On snow-covered days, bring your cross-country skis for a great Towpath experience! Looking for fresh food and warm times during a long Canalway Winter? Head on over to the Countryside Winter Farmers Mark... More »
A Towpath was a Towing Path Bicyclists and walkers on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail today follow the same path that in the 1800s was used by mules and mule-drivers to pull canal boats—with some exceptions. Canal Fever , KSU Press, 2009 More »