Originally used for mules pulling canal boats, the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is now the key walking, running, and biking route through the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area.

Currently spanning 90 miles long across four counties, the Towpath Trail is estimated to be 101 miles when complete. The trail follows closely, though not entirely, along the original route of the Ohio & Erie Canal and provides natural, cultural, historical, and recreational opportunities throughout.

The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition supports the development of the Towpath Trail in Summit, Stark, and Tuscarawas Counties, with sister organization Canalway Partners leading efforts in Cuyahoga County. Development of the Towpath Trail is expected to be complete by 2025. Currently, nine miles of the Towpath Trail remain to be built on the southern end of the Towpath Trail.

Learn more about the development of future Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail sections below. To learn more about visiting the Towpath Trail, visit the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area website.

 

Construction workers building a Towpath Trail boardwalk in Bolivar.

 

McDonnell Trailhead Connection

A quarter-mile section of the Towpath Trail is currently in development to connect the McDonnell Trailhead on the Stark/Tuscarawas County border with the trail as it heads south to Bolivar. The trail included the development of a 100-yard boardwalk through the original canal prism and under a railroad bridge.

A ribbon-cutting and official opening of this trail section is anticipated for late summer 2021.

Volunteers wearing protective gear guide a brush trimmer along a future trail.

State Routes 800 to 416

South of Zoarville, the Towpath Trail continues across State Route 800. Here, the trail will follow the Zoar Valley Trail, across the Zoarville Bridge, before heading south parallel to the Tuscarawas River. Development of this section will extend the Towpath Trail another 4 miles to State Route 416 in Dover.

Tuscarawas County Commissioners and the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition entered into a license agreement with land owner Kimble Company for the development of the Towpath Trail along this section. In 2019, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced a $483,000 Transportation Alternatives Program grant to be awarded to Tuscarawas County Commissioners. These funds will be released in 2022, and with local fundraising, the total project budget of $580,000 is expected to be matched. Development is expected to begin in 2022-2023.

 

State Route 416 to Downtown Dover

After crossing State Route 416, the Towpath Trail is planned to continue along the Tuscarawas River into the heart of Dover. Studies and partnership conversations are currently underway to determine the feasibility of routes throughout this section.

 

Dover to Waterworks Park

The trail will continue from Dover to New Philadelphia, reaching its southern terminus at Waterworks Park, adjacent to the Tuscarawas River.