Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Three bikers ride down the towpath trail. The surrounding area is wooded and full of green foilage.
Riding the Towpath Trail.


Discover the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park by bicycling, running, or strolling on the Towpath Trail. Here you can travel the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal on the same path that mules walked to tow canal boats loaded with goods and passengers. From the trail, you can make connections to many natural and historic sites, as well as to Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Beyond the park, you can continue your journey on the Towpath Trail further along the Ohio & Erie Canalway.


Towpath Safety and Etiquette

The Towpath Trail is a shared recreational trail. It is open to walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and (in some sections) horse riders. To ensure an enjoyable trail experience for all users, please observe some basic trail courtesy.

  • Travel at a safe speed and keep to the right except to pass others. The speed limit for bicycles is 15 mph.
  • Bicyclists yield to ALL users.
  • Don't risk a head injury. Always wear a helmet when cycling.
  • EVERYONE yields to horses. Horses can be startled by sudden movements, so use caution. Make sure the rider knows in advance that you are passing.
  • Give a clear warning before passing on the left.
  • Travel single file when passing and being passed.
  • Pets must be kept on a leash which is six feet or less. We recommend a shorter leash to prevent bike accidents. Keep you and your pet on the right side of the trail.
  • Avoid walking in cross-country ski tracks.
  • Move off the trail when stopped.
  • Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on the Towpath Trail within the national park. Other motorized vehicles are not permitted as stated in the Superintendent's Compendium.

History of the Towpath

The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Before the canal was built (1825-1832), Ohio was part of America's frontier. Travel was difficult and getting crops to market was nearly impossible. The canal provided a successful transportation route across the state, connecting the Ohio River at Portsmouth and Lake Erie at Cleveland. The canal opened up Ohio to the rest of the eastern United States. Learn more about the Towpath Trail at Ohio & Erie Canalway.

Shuttle by Train

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers one-way shuttle service for Towpath bikers, hikers, and runners. Purchase single Explorer tickets at the baggage car. For frequent users, we recommend buying a seasonal Explorer pass. Arrive 10 minutes before departure and flag down the train by waving both arms over your head. Cash is preferred; exact change is appreciated. Make sure to have trailers detached and all items removed from bikes before boarding. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has a 40-pound weight limit for bicycles.

Check the train's Explorer page for the current days of operations, prices, and schedule. The page also has a map and answers to frequently asked questions.


Distance Between Points

The following table lists the distances in miles between national park trailheads and other points of interest along the Towpath Trail. For distances outside the national park, visit Ohio & Erie Canalway.

Lock 39 Canal Expl. Ctr. Frazee Station Rd. Red Lock Boston Peninsula Hunt House Beaver Marsh Ira Botzum
Lock 39 Trailhead - 1.8 3.6 6.3 8.8 10.7 13.1 16.4 17.5 17.8 19.8
Canal Exploration Center 1.8 - 1.8 4.5 7.0 8.9 11.3 14.6 15.7 16.0 18.0
Frazee House 3.6 1.8 - 2.7 5.2 7.1 9.5 12.8 13.9 14.2 16.2
Station Road Bridge Trailhead 6.3 4.5 2.7 - 2.5 4.4 6.8 10.1 11.2 11.5 13.5
Red Lock Trailhead 8.8 7.0 5.2 2.5 - 1.9 4.3 7.6 8.7 9.0 11.0
Boston Trailhead 10.7 8.9 7.1 4.4 1.9 - 2.4 5.7 6.8 7.1 9.1
Peninsula: Lock 29 Trailhead 13.1 11.3 9.5 6.8 4.3 2.4 - 3.3 4.4 4.7 6.7
Hunt House 16.4 14.6 12.8 10.1 7.6 5.7 3.3 - 1.1 1.4 3.4
Beaver Marsh Viewing Area 17.5 15.7 13.9 11.2 8.7 6.8 4.4 1.1 - 0.3 2.3
Ira Trailhead 17.8 16.0 14.2 11.5 9.0 7.1 4.7 1.4 0.3 - 2.0
Botzum Trailhead 19.8 18.0 16.2 13.5 11.0 9.1 6.7 3.4 2.3 2.0 -

Bike Rentals

Several local businesses offer bicycle rentals along this section of the Towpath Trail, including:


Trailheads Along the Towpath

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    Last updated: April 15, 2024

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    Mailing Address:

    15610 Vaughn Road
    Brecksville, OH 44141


    440 717-3890

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