Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
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The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Before the canal was built, Ohio was a sparsely settled wilderness where travel was difficult and getting crops to market was nearly impossible. The canal, built between 1825 and 1832, provided a successful transportation route from Cleveland, on Lake Erie, to Portsmouth, on the Ohio River. The canal opened up Ohio to the rest of the settled eastern United States. Today you can walk or ride along the same path that the mules used to tow the canal boats loaded with goods and passengers. The scene would have been different then: The canal was full of water, carrying a steady flow of boats among the constant conversations of "canawlers."

This multi-purpose trail is the major trail through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. From it you can make connections to many of the natural and historic sites in the park and to other trails which intersect along the way.

You can still see remnants of that former scene as you pass many of the canal locks and related structures. From the vantage point of the Towpath Trail you can also enjoy the beauty of forests, fields, and wetlands flanking the path as it wends its way through the Cuyahoga River valley. Signs along the trail explain many of these canal features and historic areas.

A visit to Canal Visitor Center or Hunt Farm Visitor Information Center can make your outing on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail even more enjoyable. At either of these stops you can talk to a park ranger, see exhibits, and get information.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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