Towpath Trail

Over the weekend Tom and I decided to do the 2014 Summit Metro Parks Biking Spree.  We have done the Fall Hiking Spree for years but this was our first time for the Biking Spree (I think this is just the second year it has been offered).  The idea is to ride five of the designated trails over a two month period, turn in your form and get a bicycle license plate and a sticker for it.  We decided to ride three sections of the Towpath Trail on Saturday, and two sections of the Bike and Hike Trail on Sunday.

The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail runs for 100 miles from Cleveland to New Philadelphia.  21 miles of the trail is administered by the Summit Metro Parks.  Most of this part of the trail is packed crushed limestone – almost as hard as asphalt.  Saturday we rode from Clinton to the Summit Lake Trailhead and back, a round-trip of 27 miles.

Towpath Trail sign in Clinton
Map of the Towpath Trail
At the start of the Towpath Trail
Lock on the Ohio and Erie Canal
Great Blue Heron resting on the canal
Continental Divide between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes
Summit Lake
Lock with water along the towpath trail
Tom, the smart aleck, thinks this is soooo funny – especially since I never noticed the sign

We have ridden this trail before and always enjoyed it.  The canal is on one side, and the trail is mostly flat.  The Tuscarawas River runs along much of the other side of the trail.  A lot of the trail runs along industrial areas south of Akron – but the industry started along this corridor because of the Ohio and Erie Canal.

Riding the Towpath Trail along Summit Lake is my favorite part.  There is a boardwalk in the lake – no room for the trail beside it – and it is fun to ride.  There were lots of people out on Saturday, especially the closer we got to Akron, so we had to be careful.  One little girl saw us coming and jumped in the middle of the trail with her arms out – acting like a traffic gate.  It was cute, but we have 400 pounds of mass, so you really don’t want to get in our way!

We saw lots of urban wildlife – groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks, goldfinches, turtles, ducks, geese, and several Great Blue Herons.  One section of the trail goes by an industrial swamp – and has heron nests in the dead trees of the swamp.  Not the place I would choose to live, but the herons seem to like it.

My Runtastic Cycling app recorded the 27 miles, done in two hours with an elevation change of 485 feet.  Our average speed was 13.7 miles per hour and our max speed (going down a hill) was 27.5 mph.  I burned 991 calories and drank lots of water.