The Ohio & Erie Canal was built between 1825 and 1832 providing a remarkable transportation route from the Cleveland "flatlands" on Lake Erie to Portsmouth on the Ohio River. Today, nearly 2 million visitors come to enjoy the 19.5 miles of multi-use trail that slice through the heart of the Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor. Trail users first parallel the mule-drawn route then the Valley Railway, which brought an end to canal transportation.
Hikers and bikers are the primary users of the pathway with short segments open to equestrians. (Remember, horses have the right-of-way.) Pets are welcome too, as long as they remain on leashes 6 feet or less.
There are numerous access points throughout the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The most poplar hop-on spots are the visitor centers where large parking lots, picnic tables, restrooms, drinking water, and pet refuse disposal mitts are available. This is a great way to see the park because the Towpath connects many of the park's sights via short foot trails or back roads. The highlights include Canal Visitor Center, Hunt Farm Visitor Information Center, Boston Store, Frazee House, Brandywine Falls, Boston Mills Ski Resorts, Blossom Music Center, Hosteling International's Stanford House, and Metro Park facilities (O'Neil Woods, Hampton Hills). A summertime bonus is that many of these spots provide bike racks affording you the opportunity to lock your bike and step indoors to an air-conditioned environment where museum relics and displays are oftentimes interpreted by a park ranger.
The trail is marked with historic sandstone mile markers, many of which had to be rerouted as a result of the 1913 flood, therefore, the miles are not exact. Also, note that the miles run north to south while the lock numbers run south to north.
In addition to the park's visitor centers and facilities found along the Towpath, users are given an opportunity to view the historic remnants of the path including several canal workers' homes, over a dozen locks, three aqueducts, several stone culverts, and other related structures. Interpretive signs along the trail detail the purpose each.
Wildlife is enjoyed all year. A flurry of songbirds and white-tailed deer live amid the woodland and meadow route. Beaver, coyote, raccoon, and even wild turkey are occasionally spotted. Wildflowers grace the pathway three seasons.
Directions: From Peninsula, OH, Hunt Farm Information Center: Head south out of the tiny burg of Peninsula on Akron Peninsula Road traveling approximately 2 - 3 miles. Turn right (west) on Bolanz Road to reach the Information Center.
Elevation: 800 feet
Elevation Gain: 25 feet
Distance: 19.5 miles
Usage: Moderate to Heavy
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Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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