Canalway Community: Tim Fitzwater

Canalway Community: Tim Fitzwater

What makes the Towpath Trail and the Ohio & Erie Canalway special are the people who live and play on the trails every day. Today we celebrate local photographer and bicyclist Tim Fitzwater.

What makes the Towpath Trail and the Ohio & Erie Canalway special are the people who live and play on the trails every day. Today we celebrate local photographer and bicyclist Tim Fitzwater.

You can check out some of Tim’s amazing photography in the 2021 edition of the Towpath Companion. Learn more here!


Can you provide a bit of background on your experience bicycling along the Towpath Trail and throughout the Ohio & Erie Canalway?

I started riding the Towpath Trail through the Cuyahoga Valley not long after that section was finished. My friends and I thought it was so cool to ride out and get lunch at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula from our neighborhood in Bath. My Dad and I would then often ride the section between Canal Fulton and Massillon - he liked to head down to that less trafficked part on the weekends (he still does). For the last few years, my current friends and I have a group ride in the evenings where we choose a direction on the path and ride out to get dinner. We meet on the Towpath in Akron and Barberton is a regular destination. My girlfriend has now gotten into cycling and we love to ride to Magic City Brewing and sit on their patio. And most recently with the section, North of Akron reopened I will commute into Akron on the Towpath for work meetings or photography shoots.  

What is the most unique experience you’ve had traveling along the Canalway?

I have had so many unique experiences along the Canalway, from seeing foxes in the mornings to watching a bald eagle snatch a fish out of the river, but I'd say a favorite was spending a couple of days camping and riding all the way to the southern end over a 4th of July weekend with my friend Ben. It was just really cool to see the whole path all at once. The River's Edge Campground outside of Massillon is such a pretty spot and waking up with the sunrise and a cup of coffee along the path was truly special  

Do you have any tips for folks who might want to explore the Canalway by bike, whether on the Towpath Trail, other connector trails, or roads?

Some tips for someone one who wants to start exploring the Canalway by bike would be to simply start picking different Trailheads along the Path and riding sections within your skill level based on distance. While the CVNP is beautiful it's also really nice to head to some of the less-traveled parts and enjoy some more tranquility. If you do want to ride through the park, I'd suggest getting out early in the mornings or on the weekdays. Another thing I really like to do is to pick a nice mid-point to turn around. Whether that be the patio of a restaurant or packing a lunch to eat at one of the picnic areas. Use resources like the visitor centers, associated websites, and Google Maps to plan your trip.  

Do you also happen to have any recommendations for great scenic places for capturing stellar photos?

When it comes to taking scenic photos along the Canalway, there really isn't any place to go wrong. As a photographer, I'd say it is more about the time of day. I have hiked almost every section with my cameras and my favorite thing is to get out around sunrise. The misty mornings in the Cuyahoga Valley are amazing; the Beaver Marsh, Hunt Farm, and Boston Store are excellent places to head in the mornings. I also love photographing downtown Akron at sunset from the path overlooking Locks 2,3, and 4. You can park at The Richard Howe House in the evenings. Heading into the newer sections through Cleveland has some beautiful sweeping views and when the new bridge to Whisky Island/Wendy Park is open it will be hard to top the views from the Old Coastguard Station. Parking at the Waterloo Trailhead you will almost always end up seeing Great Blue Herons fishing in the river. 

Posted: April 29, 2021

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