Biking the Towpath Trail? Top 20 must-see places

Biking the Towpath Trail? Top 20 must-see places

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Let’s start with the latest update on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. As of 2021, there are 92 completed, contiguous miles of trail from Cleveland to State Route 800 in Bolivar in Tuscarawas County.

There’s lots to see across 92 miles. Below, we have compiled 20 places we highly recommend for your next Towpath adventure.

According to Dan Rice, President and CEO of Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, a 4-mile stretch of trail will be added to the southern end of the Towpath in 2022 or 2023, bringing the total mileage to 96.

The goal is to complete the trail all the way south to New Philadelphia for a total of 101 miles. Eventually, the Towpath Trail will be part of the Industrial Heartland Trail Coalition’s plan, which includes piecing together a trail from Cleveland to Pittsburgh.

(To be clear, some current trail sections use low-traffic streets or sidewalks in Stark County, but most of the route is multipurpose path).

For now, let’s focus on the existing 92 miles of the Towpath and the possibilities for your next bike ride. Starting at State Route 800 in Tuscarawas County, let’s bike north. Here are 20 great places to stop on the trail.

Note: There are no sponsorships with any business listed in this article.

Highlights: Unique village with bed-and-breakfasts, a diner, coffee house, brewery and multiple taverns inside historic buildings. Zoar Gardens is a beautiful display of flowers and plants.

Distance from Towpath: 3/4 mile

How to get here: From the Canal Lands Park Trailhead, cross Dover Zoar Road and follow the path to the right of Towpath Road. This path will lead to the Zoar Iron Bridge, which you will cross and follow Old Country Road 82. This road leads to Dover Zoar Road. Carefully turn left and merge with traffic to reach Main Street. Turn left and travel into the village.

Restrooms: Yes, across 4th Street north of Zoar Gardens

Zoar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Aerial of Zoar Gardens

Zoar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

There are several taverns in historic buildings in Zoar Village

Zoar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

This historic building is next to public restrooms on 4th Street, very convenient for Towpath Trail users.

Zoar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Historic Zoar Village

Zoar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Zoar Gardens

Zoar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Aerial view of Zoar Village

Zoar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Tin Shop Coffee House is in a historical building /
395 Main Street

Highlights: A small, canal-era town encompasses the Towpath for about 1.5 miles. Options include a diner, pizza, fajitas, a BBQ and craft brew joint, a tavern and ice cream.

Restrooms: Yes, at Fort Laurens trailhead

Bolivar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Aerial of Bolivar

Bolivar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The Towpath Tavern /
225 Canal Street

Bolivar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Canal Street Diner /
157 Canal Street

Bolivar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Bolivar Pizza /
225 W Canal Street

Bolivar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Signs like this one direct Towpath Trail users

Bolivar, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The Towpath Trail is next to the main street

Highlights: The trail through Navarre hugs the Tuscarawas River. There are pubs, pizza, takeout and an old-school diner.

Directions from Towpath: Coming from the south, the trail crosses Main Street/Erie Avenue. Bike north on Main Street toward Canal Street. Coming from the north, the trail crosses Center Street. Bike northeast toward Canal Street.

Restrooms: Yes, at Craig Pittman Memorial Park

Navarre, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

There are multiple places to eat in Navarre

Navarre, Ohio along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Navarre Garden Club

Highlights: Your big three needs are here: you can get air in your tires, use the restroom and get cold water. Ernie’s staff can help if you have a bike repair need. They sell a large selection of gear as well. The Blue Heron Cafe is under the same roof and offers food and ice cream. There’s a great shaded porch with plenty of places to sit, including Adirondack chairs.

Ernie Lehman Jr., manager of the Massillon location, reminds trail users to bring their questions to bike shop staff.

“We really pride ourselves on being a resource for good advice, travel tips, detour information and kind of helping people traveling through the area to get the most out of the experience,” he said.

Restrooms: Yes, clean and heated.

Ernie's Bicycle Shop along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Patio at Ernie’s Bicycle Shop

Ernie's Bicycle Shop along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Cafe at Ernie’s

Ernie's Bicycle Shop along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The cafe at Ernie’s Bicycle Shop offers sandwiches, snacks, ice cream, beverages and more.

Ernie's Bicycle Shop along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Ernie’s Bicycle Shop

Ernie's Bicycle Shop along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Ernie’s Bicycle Shop offers bike rental and repair. It’s also a great place for food / ice cream.

Ernie's Bicycle Shop along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Aerial of Lake Avenue Trailhead and Ernie’s Bicycle Shop in Massillon

Highlights: This is a spot where bikepackers/long distance cyclists can spend the night camping.

Restrooms: Yes, portable.

Bridgeport Quarry Trailhead

River’s Edge camp sites at Bridgeport Quarry Trailhead (photo courtesy of Stark Parks)

Bridgeport Quarry Trailhead

Bridgeport Quarry Trailhead is maintained by Stark County Park District (photo courtesy of Stark Parks)

Bridgeport Quarry Trailhead

The River’s Edge camping area is available for cyclists along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (photo courtesy of Stark Parks)

Highlights: This town beckons Towpath travelers to stop and explore. There are restaurants, taverns, a coffee shop, chocolate store, ice cream stops, a tea room and a winery. The Canal Boat Lounge has a patio overlooking the canal. The St. Helena is a canal boat replica pulled by horses that you can ride. The Old Canal Days Heritage House Museum is next to the Towpath. There’s a campground at the canoe livery where bikepackers can camp.

Restrooms: Portable toilets at St. Helena Heritage Park.

Canal Fulton along the Towpath Trail

Aerial of Canal Fulton along the Towpath Trail

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The St. Helena III Canal Boat ride is a historic replica pulled by horses. Visitors can ride the boat down the canal for a one-hour ride with a historian.
125 Tuscarawas Street SW

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The Barrel Room on Canal wine bar
129 Canal Street North

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The Cherry Street Creamery
136 Cherry Street

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Patio of the Miller-Doan Tavern
122 Cherry Street

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Dragonfly Winery, next to the Dragonfly Tea Room
215 Market Street

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Outdoor seating at Dragonfly Winery

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Dragonfly Tea Room
215 Market Street

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The patio of the Canal Boat Lounge overlooks the canal. Next door is the Sisters Century House Restaurant.
119 / 123 Canal Street

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Deliciously Different candy store and chocolates. Ask about the Canal Mud.
136 Canal Street

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Oser’s Dairy and Deli
102 Canal Street

Canal Fulton along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Speakeasy Coffee
128 Canal Street

Highlights: Lake Anna is a beautiful spot to rest or enjoy some takeout from a nearby restaurant. There’s a brewery, coffee bar and other restaurants along a signed route known as the Magic Mile Loop. This route was designated specifically for Towpath Trail travelers to access the arts & entertainment district in Barberton.

Distance from the Towpath: 0.5 miles to Lake Anna

Restrooms: Yes, at Lake Anna Park.

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

Aerial of Barberton and Lake Anna

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

Lake Anna

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

Ignite Brewing Company /
600 W. Tuscarawas Avenue

Ignite Brewery - Barberton Ohio

The taproom at Ignite Brewery /
(Photo courtesy Liz Blystone)

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

Kave Coffee Bar /
584 W. Tuscarawas Avenue

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

Inside Kave Coffee Bar

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

Mural in Barberton

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

M&M Taphouse is inside this former bank building / 523 W. Tuscarawas Avenue
Several bars are across the street

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

R-D Bike Shop
128 Second Street

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

White House Chicken /
180 Wooster Road North

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

If you ask Barbertonians about fried chicken, they’ll likely tell you that Barberton is renowned for it

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

The Erie Depot is about 0.3 mile north of Lake Anna on 4th Street

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

Entrance to Barberton’s Magic Mile route from the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Barberton Ohio - Towpath Trail

There are benches along the sidewalk surrounding Lake Anna

Highlights: Summit Lake is a stunning natural feature in the heart of Akron. The pier is a great spot for a photo. Summit Metro Parks’ nature center has fascinating exhibits about the history of the area, including its years as a popular amusement park. There’s a bike fix station outside, along with places to sit and rest.

Restrooms: Yes, nice restrooms inside the nature center.

Summit Lake - Akron, Ohio

The Summit Lake Nature Center was recently opened by Summit Metro Parks

Summit Lake - Akron, Ohio

The pier over Summit Lake

Summit Lake - Akron, Ohio

View of Summit Lake from the pier

Summit Lake - Akron, Ohio

Shaded spots to sit and rest outside the nature center

Summit Lake - Akron, Ohio

Inside the Summit Lake Nature Center

Summit Lake - Akron, Ohio

Exhibit showing the huge swimming pool that once attracted visitors to Summit Lake

Summit Lake - Akron, Ohio

A great view of the lake from upstairs at the nature center

Summit Lake - Akron, Ohio

View from the pier on Summit Lake

Highlights: This historic home has been restored to its original glory and serves as the office for the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition. This is one location of Summit Bike Share, which means bicycles are available to borrow Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The staff is knowledgeable about the Towpath and are glad to offer advice for your trip.

Restrooms: Yes

Richard Howe House - Towpath Trail

This 1836 high-style Federal structure was the home of Ohio & Erie Canal engineer Richard Howe.

Richard Howe House - Towpath Trail

Richard Howe House /
47 W. Exchange Street

Highlights: The Big Bend area of Sand Run Metro Park has two primitive campsites available on a first come, first served basis for those traveling the Towpath Trail or the Buckeye Trail. Sand Run Metro Park has a tremendous amount of hiking available via the Valley Link Trail and other connected trails. This is one of four Summit Metro Parks properties that make up a huge green space south of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Restrooms: Yes

Sand Run Metro Park

2 primitive camp sites are available on top a hill at Sand Run Metro Park along the Towpath Trail

Sand Run Metro Park

A trail map of Sand Run Metro Park. The Valley Link Trail also extends to Cascade Valley Metro Park

Highlights: This is a top spot for wildlife viewing inside the national park. The Towpath Trail takes the shape of a long boardwalk over the marsh with benches and signs explaining the historical significance of the location. The area used to be a scrap yard and is now home to diverse animal, bird and aquatic life.

Restrooms: No

Beaver Marsh - Towpath Trail

Beaver Marsh

Beaver Marsh - Towpath Trail

Beaver Marsh

Beaver Marsh - Towpath Trail

Beaver Marsh

Beaver Marsh - Towpath Trail

Beaver Marsh

Beaver Marsh - Towpath Trail

Beaver Marsh

Highlights: This farm market has all kinds of fruits, vegetables, snacks and local goods. On weekends, outdoor huts offer roasted corn on the cob, fresh lemonade, fresh fruit sundaes and ice cream. They have deli hot dogs, turkey burgers and grilled salmon, sausage, and pork loin sandwiches. There’s a great outdoor eating area with giant swinging benches.

Restrooms: Yes

Szalay's Farm - Towpath Trail

Szalay’s Farm outdoor seating area has covered picnic tables with swinging benches.

Szalay's Farm - Towpath Trail

Szalay’s Farm fresh juice

Szalay's Farm - Towpath Trail

Szalay’s Farm began in 1931 as a vegetable farm

Szalay's Farm - Towpath Trail

Szalay’s specializes as a sweet corn farm

Szalay's Farm - Towpath Trail

Three outdoor huts at Szalay’s Farm offer hot food and ice cream on weekends

Szalay's Farm - Towpath Trail

Bike racks at Szalay’s Farm parking lot

Highlights: Historic village with a lot of charm. Restaurants include Winking Lizard Tavern and Fisher’s Cafe & Pub. Century Cycles bike shop and Trail Mix Park Store are also here. Lock 29 has access to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and paddling access to the Cuyahoga River.

Restrooms: Yes, at the Lock 29 Trailhead parking lot.

Peninsula Towpath Trail

The Towpath Trail crosses over what remains of Lock 29

Peninsula Towpath Trail

The patio at Trail Mix (photo from 2020)

Peninsula Towpath Trail

Trail Mix Park Store has snacks, drinks, gear and local merchandise.

Peninsula Towpath Trail

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad station

Peninsula Towpath Trail

Patio at Winking Lizard /
1615 Main Street
(Photo courtesy of Winking Lizard)

Peninsula Towpath Trail

Century Cycles

Peninsula Towpath Trail

A bench outside Trail Mix Park Store

Highlights: This new visitor center serves as the gateway to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It’s a great place to rest, refuel with snacks or drinks, and learn about the park.

Restrooms: Yes, super nice ones!

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Boston Mill Visitor Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Restrooms are located in this building (left) next to the visitor center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

There are two levels of exhibits inside Boston Mill Visitor Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Snacks and drinks are sold at Boston Mill Visitor Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Boston Mill Visitor Center exhibits

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Coffee beans, bakery, honey, and other locally-sourced items are available at Boston Mill Visitor Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Hats, shirts, books and other Northeast Ohio themed gear is for sale at Boston Mill Visitor Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Trailhead at Boston Mill Visitor Center

Boston Mill Visitors Center

Trail Mix Boston has moved across the street to this building, the Boston Store. Trail Mix Park Store has food, snacks, drinks, apparel and more. All proceeds benefit Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Boston Store

Inside the Boston Store /
Photo courtesy of Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Highlights: A nice, air-conditioned reprieve right next to the trail, this canal-era building used to be a tavern. Now it houses exhibits delving into history between 1825 to 1876.

Restrooms: Near parking lot.

Canal Exploration Center Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Canal Exploration Center at Lock 38

Canal Exploration Center Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Guests enjoy exhibits

Canal Exploration Center Cuyahoga Valley National Park

History is retold through exhibits at Canal Exploration Center

Canal Exploration Center Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Inside Canal Exploration Center

Canal Exploration Center Cuyahoga Valley National Park

A park ranger shows guests Lock 38

Highlights: This Cleveland Metroparks property features a paved all-purpose trail leading to a picnic area, nature center, mountain bike trails and even other parks. CanalWay Center has exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the area. For an awesome side quest, consider the 13-mile Mill Creek loop to view the tallest waterfall in Cuyahoga County.

Restrooms: Yes

CanalWay Center Spring 2019

CanalWay Center in Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation on May 16, 2019. (Kyle Lanzer/Cleveland Metroparks)Kyle Lanzer/Cleveland Metroparks

CanalWay Center Spring 2019

CanalWay Center in Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation on May 16, 2019. (Kyle Lanzer/Cleveland Metroparks)Kyle Lanzer/Cleveland Metroparks

Pollination Kiosks at CanalWay

Pollinator Power stations exhibits at Ohio & Erie CanalWay Center on February, 10, 2020. (Kyle Lanzer/Cleveland Metroparks)Kyle Lanzer/Cleveland Metroparks

ohio erie canal

Map of the Cleveland Metroparks Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation

Highlights: Architecture critic Steven Litt praised the Towpath Mounds as landscape art in his cleveland.com first look from 2017. The mounds and the overlook platform make for a worthwhile stop to take in the view. Visitors like to climb to the top of the mounds to look over the highway and see part of the Cleveland skyline.

Restrooms: No

towpath mounds

Climb to the top of the Towpath Mounds for a view of the Industrial Valley and part of downtown Cleveland

towpath mounds

At the Towpath Mounds, this overlook gives view to the Industrial Valley

towpath mounds

Aerial view of the Towpath Mounds

Highlights: This interpretive feature pays homage to the history of railroads in Cleveland and includes an overlook of the city skyline. There are cool benches built between old rail car axles.

Restrooms: No

Roundhouse Overlook along the Towpath Trail

Roundhouse Overlook

Roundhouse Overlook along the Towpath Trail

Roundhouse overlook

Highlights: This greenspace is at the corner of University Road and West 10th Street in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. There are picnic tables, swings, grills and historical installations to commemorate the location of a Civil War training camp for the Union Army that was once on this site.

Restrooms: No

Camp Cleveland along the Towpath Trail

Camp Cleveland

Camp Cleveland along the Towpath Trail

Camp Cleveland

Camp Cleveland along the Towpath Trail

Camp Cleveland

Camp Cleveland along the Towpath Trail

Camp Cleveland

Camp Cleveland along the Towpath Trail

Camp Cleveland

The northern terminus of the Towpath Trail is Canal Basin Park along the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland’s Flats. Keep your eyes on Canal Basin Park as it continues to be developed. With the recent completion of the Wendy Park Bridge by Cleveland Metroparks, many Towpath travelers will want to make the journey to Lake Erie.

The map below shows the most direct route from Canal Basin Park to Wendy Park, but cyclists should check to make sure the Center Street Bridge is open before attempting the trip. The bridge is scheduled for major renovations as of this writing.

Highlights: Reaching Lake Erie after a long bike ride along the Towpath Trail is a satisfying payoff. The historic Coast Guard Station is picturesque and provides a unique view of downtown. The Whiskey Island Trail allows you to connect all the way to Edgewater Park with its beach, pier, concessions, ice cream and bar.

Restrooms: Yes

Wendy Park - Cleveland Metroparks

The Wendy Park Bridge

Wendy Park - Cleveland Metroparks

All purpose trail at Wendy Park

Wendy Park - Cleveland Metroparks

All purpose trail leads to the Historic Coast Guard Station

Wendy Park - Cleveland Metroparks

Historic Coast Guard Station at Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Reservation

Wendy Park - Cleveland Metroparks

Pier next to the Historic Coast Guard Station at Wendy Park

Wendy Park - Cleveland Metroparks

View of Lake Erie from the Historic Coast Guard Station

Wendy Park - Cleveland Metroparks

View of Cleveland from the Historic Coast Guard Station

Dan T. Moore III played a crucial role in establishing the Cleveland Metroparks' Wendy Park on Whiskey Island

The Whiskey Island Still and Eatery on Whiskey Island has a great view of Lake Erie. David Petkiewicz, cleveland.comThe Plain Dealer

lake erie beaches near cleveland

Thousands of people take advantage of the hot weather to go to Edgewater Beach Park in Cleveland nearly everyday in the summer. File photo by David Petkiewicz, cleveland.comDavid Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

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