Cleveland June 27, 2017
These Trails Around Cleveland Will Lead You To Extraordinary Ruins
Cleveland is undeniably an old town with a history that spans many generations, and as such it is bound to hide some secrets. One such secret lies within a vast historic trail that circles from Cleveland to New Philadelphia, and its route is lined with
trailheads that lead to plenty of natural and man-made wonders.
The Towpath Trail is a humbling 85-mile journey through Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, and Tuscarawas counties.
From 1827 to 1913, this path was used by mules to pull boats along the Ohio & Erie Canal.
Though the trail fell out of use in the early 20th century, its path has been reconstructed thanks to maps and ruins.
When completed, the canal contained a total of 146 lift locks. Today, a handful of the locks are still visible, ranging from Lock 4 in Stark County to Lock 38 in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
When constructed, the canal turned remote regions into industrial boomtowns.
Laborers performed backbreaking work for 30 cents a day to construct this canal and, as a result, towns like Peninsula and Boston exploded. Today, remnants of the era are still visible, though much of the region has largely reverted to its natural state due to the efforts of the National Park Service.
Many ruins are near Key Visitor Centers, where you can stop and learn about the area's history.
Back when the canal was active, captains' families would often live with them on their boats, traveling from port to port. As a result, local cultures grew and evolved greatly. The canal brought goods and mail to formerly underdeveloped regions with impressive speed, and the entire region grew around the canal industry.
Unfortunately, though, a combination of Mother Nature and the railroad industry made the canal obsolete.
Its remains sat, falling to ruin, until Congress declared the area a National Heritage Site in 1996. Since then, areas have been beautifully preserved. Today, they are an ideal site for hiking, biking, or horseback riding.
The Towpath Trail and its ruins provide beautiful scenery for hikers and bird-watchers alike.
Some stunning views are available in Steelyard Commons, where you can catch glimpses of the valley along the Cuyahoga River, and in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where one can cross two beautiful cable-style bridges.
A trip along the Towpath Trail offers a trip back in time.
See local culture in a new light as you take in the wonders of these historic ruins.
The entirety of the Towpath Trail is enticingly biodiverse, including breathtaking views everywhere you turn.
Today, you can
countless historic locations along the stretch of the Towpath Trail, and visitors will be treated to lovely natural features along the way.
And, the trail is easy to navigate thanks to an
While viewing the map, be sure to select cultural and historical points of interest so that you may encounter the structures that remain along the historic Ohio & Erie Canal.
While on the trail, consider stopping by Boston Store Visitor Center, 1550 Boston Mills Road, to learn about the history of the region.
The building was constructed during the early years of the canalway's life in 1836. In the past, it served as a tavern and a general store, but today it is one of many canal-era buildings worthy of exploration. Located beside a restored canal lock, this building is filled with exhibits that celebrate the history of the region.
Gather a group and plan a trip down to the ol' canal!
Plan a hike or attend an
at the historic site. Be sure to bring a camera, because the Towpath Trail is a treat for the eyes, and you'll want to brag about your visit.
The Towpath Trail beautifully blends the modern landscape with ruins of the past, and its 85-mile expanse offers countless surprises. Though many people have heard of this celebrated trail, not many realize that it is full of ruins and restored artifacts that shed light on our own regional history. For other glimpses into Cleveland’s past, check out
The Arcade and the Dittrick Museum of Medical History.