Last Friday Tom and I met some friends to ride part of the Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath Trail. This beautiful trail runs for 87 miles from Cleveland to Bolivar. The trail goes through five counties and is administered and maintained by four county park systems and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For our ride we headed to the section administered by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
We met Chris Ferlinc and Bill Cashell at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Visitors Center in Boston Mills. We had been there last fall with my parents, just after it opened. Although Chris and Bill have ridden the Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath Trail many times, they had never been to the Visitors Center. I was thankful for cell phones because they parked in the overflow parking and we parked in the regular parking lot. Our cell phones enabled us to get together quickly.
It was a beautiful summer day and the parking lots were very busy. I didn’t realize that the Cuyahoga Valley Visitors Center trailhead is the busiest along the entire trail. It makes sense, though, because more people than ever are visiting the national parks. We saw license plates from Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Quite a mix in a little space!
We picked up a strip brochure that showed all the of the trailheads and the mileage between them. Although it was nice to have that information with us, I was disappointed it didn’t have the total mileage of the trail on it. The strip brochure is convenient to keep in a fanny pack or bike pouch.
Although the trailhead and the area within a couple of miles was very busy, we soon lost the crowds as we pedaled south. We like riding with Chris and Bill because they ride at a good pace. It was a perfect day to ride – not too hot and the path was shaded. We rode 10 miles south to the southern end of the Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. When we got to the Botzum trailhead, we decided to turn around. We were all getting hungry needed to get back to Peninsula for lunch.
We had lunch at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula. The restaurant was busy, but we didn’t have to wait for a table. We chose to eat outside. Lunch was good and the company was even better. After lunch it was just a short two miles back to the parking lots. We were all satisfied with the ride and the time we got to spend together.
The Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath Trail is a wonderful resource in Ohio. We love to ride all the great bike trails in the state. This one gives us variety and a meeting place for friends from the Cleveland area. We can’t wait until we get to ride it again.