This was the first time I headed south out of Akron on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail; I've started at the Wilbeth Road Trailhead 3 of 4 times before but always rode toward Cleveland. I'm happy to report that the southern half is every bit as incredible as the north!
For the first few miles the trail runs through a kind of suburban area. There are many houses and backyards opposite the trail side of the canal. The canal is still and green. Trail surface is crushed limestone, and in excellent condition. I would put this trail's surface quality right up there with the Great Allegheny Passage. The trail is also very level.
There are many great bridges over the towpath as well as the Tuscarawas RIver. The Tuscarawas River is your companion for many miles heading south. Often you are riding on a raised strip of land between the canal and the river. The river is a very popular boating destination, I saw just as many people floating down the Tuscarawas as I did riding down the Towpath Trail.
There are many interesting historical artifacts along the trail. The old canal locks are over 100 years old.
I passed through Canal Fulton, an awesome little trail down that has ice cream right on the trail! Canal Fulton has really embraced the trail and it shows! There are signs near the trail with a map of all of the shops and amenities the city offers.
Beyond this aqueduct bridge the trail seemed to end. I know that the Zoar Valley Trail exists somewhere on the other side of Bolivar, but the road seemed dangerous so i just turned around and headed back to Akron.
Earlier this year a portion of the Towpath Trail in Akron was victim of arson. Some dickhead set the floating bridge on fire, causing a massive amount of damage and briefly closing the trail. Someone was kind enough to build a temporary floating detour, so north/south travel is now unimpeded. You can donate to help repair this vandalism HERE
I had to take a detour which lead through downtown Akron. There was a Rubber Ducks baseball game going on. Yes, the name of their town's baseball team is the Rubber Ducks. I continued on to the Mustill Store Trailhead, where was another detour. Instead of taking the detour, I started heading back to my car. Always a great time on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath trail, and I can't wait to come back!
As I neared 100 miles I passed my trailhead again to gain those last few miles. I had started the ride a little late at 11:30am, and the sun was now beginning to set. Got back to my car at just over 100 miles and before it was totally dark