Ride From the Heart - Towpath Trail

Post Date:August 06, 2019

The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail is a 110-mile bike and hiking trail in Cleveland, OH. The trail runs along the historic Ohio & Erie Canalway, where from 1827 to 1913, mules would pull canal boats of passengers and goods back and forth. 
It’s where I ride my bike, and annually ride to raise money for the American Heart Association on my birthday (August 8). It was on that trail, riding my bike in 2017 that I experienced symptoms leading to emergency surgery to remove a 99% blockage in my LAD artery (read full story here.)  

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The trail has beautiful scenery and many interesting historical and cultural points of interest along the way – if you ever come to Cleveland, I encourage you to take the time to explore this trail, as well as the many others that are part of the Cleveland area parks system.

Here is a little info on some of the places that I pass on my annual 50+ Ride from the Heart:​

Lock 4/Canal Fulton Park (St. Helena’s Park) is the start of my ride. Lock 4 features an historic canal lock (the fourth lock south of Summit County) and mill raceway. At St. Helena’s Park you can ride the St. Helena III - a replica of a freighter that would have traveled on the Ohio and Erie Canal more than 100 years ago.

As I ride into Akron, I get a great view of Canal Park Baseball Stadium – home to the Rubber Ducks baseball team. The ballpark opened its doors in 1997 and takes its name from the Ohio and Erie Canal, which runs beyond the park’s outfield.
Leaving downtown Akron, I begin my travel through the Summit County Metro Parks into Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There’s a lot to see and visit around this area!

Szalay’s Farm & Market has been a family-run farm since 1931, specializing in sweet corn and offering a farmer’s market with fresh fruits and vegetables and local homemade treats.  

About a half mile West from the trail in Bath township is Hale Farm and Village, a living history museum depicting life in the 19th century that offers demonstrations in glassblowing, pottery, spinning and weaving, and more.

Right before entering Cuyahoga Valley National Park is Deep Lock Quarry, the deepest lock on the Ohio & Erie Canal. The Quarry provided blocks of Berea sandstone for the canal locks, and for millstones used by Ferdinand Shumacher, co-founder of Quaker Oats, who purchased part of the quarry in 1879. 

Established in 1974, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park protects nearly 33,000 acres of land along the banks of the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron and is one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. There are many natural, historical and cultural attractions within the park, including the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, a tourist train that provides scenic and event excursions year-round such as beer/wine tastings, murder mysteries, annual Polar Express, Thomas the Train, and more. Hikers and bikers can ride one direction of the Towpath Trail, then pick up the train at a boarding station on the way back for only $5.  

Just before I hit the finish line, I’ll see the Canal Exploration Center at Lock 38, where you can learn about 12,000 years of local history and check out a lock that’s been restored to its 1905 condition.

Finally, I’ll get to Quaker Steak and Lube in Valley View, Ohio to celebrate riding over 50 miles towards my goal of $10,000 for AHA on behalf of Ava Cooper

Help Us Reach $10,000!