Towpath Trail

Trail length: Approx 20 miles (in Cvnp)

Difficulty: Very easy

Trail Description: We will begin north at Lock 39 and head south. The Towpath runs parallel to the river at this point, you pass by Lock 38 and the Canal Visitor Center. Continuing south, you will now pass over Tinkers Creek. Tinkers creek is the largest tributary to the Cuyahoga river and is known for the very inaccessible gorge it runs through. You will later pass by lock 37 and the Frazee house, which is open to visitors on summer weekends. By now you have traveled about 4 miles. Just south of Frazee house is Sagamore Creek. There are several low flow waterfalls that flow into Sagamore creek just upstream. They can be viewed on the Sagamore loop trail. You are now entering the only place in the valley where there are no roads. This area is called Pinery Narrows and has no roads because there really just isn't enough space. You won't be able to tell from park maps, but the southern portion of the Pinery Narrows is full of amazing waterfalls, none of which have trails going to them. Check out Crazy Mans hollow or Twin Sisters falls if interested. The trail will swing to the left, this is known as the Devils elbow. The secluded nature of Pinery Narrows has made it a wonderful place to spot wildlife. In fact, even Bald Eagles have nested in the area. After going through the Narrows you will pass under the Route 82 bridge, at this point you have traveled about 6.5 miles. You will now continue south towards Red Lock. You will pass through some marshes along the way. On your left about a mile in you will pass the entrance to the Old Carriage trail. If it is winter, there is a pretty cool overlook you can check out that's just a short hike uphill. If it's summer, the trees will have blocked the view. Continuing south, you will reach Red Lock and Highland Road.

The famous Towpath Trail runs through the whole Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It runs parallel to the old Ohio and Erie Canal as well as the Cuyahoga River.  The Towpath Trail receives up to 2 million visitors a year so things can get crowded. It's helpful to know that a healthy portion of those visitors go to the Peninsula Towpath Trailhead, so avoiding that area may help combat the crowds

Trail description continued:

You have now traveled about 9 miles. You will immediately pass over Brandywine creek as you continue your journey south. Just a little farther down the trail is the Jaite Mill site. This is the site of what once was a thriving mill. Little survives but it is still pretty interesting. The trail tends to stray from the Cuyahoga during this section. a mile or so later you will pass by the connector to the Stanford Trail. This trail will take you up to Brandywine Falls. Right before reaching Boston Mills road you will pass by Lock 32. This next section of the Towpath is one of the most popular. The trail passes underneath the two big highway bridges and then past Stumpy Basin via a boardwalk.. After passing through the basin you will go through a circular tunnel and head into a lush forest. To your left the sides of the valley are steep and rocky. For the most part, the trail runs close to the river. Soon you will pass into downtown Peninsula, A quaint village of about 500 people. you have traveled about 13 miles now. You will now pass by Lock 29 which is one of the few locks you can actually go inside of without getting soaked. The Towpath crosses the river now, heading into more lush forest and under state route 303. You will parallel the river and catch glimpse of the Brandywine golf course on the other side of the river. Soon you'll pass by Deep Lock, the deepest lock on the canal. There's a side trail on your right that will take you to Deep Lock Quarry, a cool abandoned quarry you can climb up. Continuing south you'll pass over a couple streams and pass a couple locks. Towards the end of this section of the trail you'll get some views of the hills to the east if you look left. Right before you reach Bolanz road you'll pass over Furnace Creek. Hunt Farm is on the road. You have traveled 16 miles by now. Continuing south, about a mile later you will go through a beaver marsh, at the end of the marsh is Lock 26. You will then pass over Ira road. For the last two miles the trail will stay adjacent to Riverview road and away from the river. You will finish at the Botzum trailhead