Trail treasures: History on the Towpath Trail

Summit Metro Parks
2 min readMar 22, 2022

Dave Daly, Interpretive Naturalist

A cyclist travels along the Towpath Trail in southern Summit County. Photo by Tim Hite.

The Ohio & Erie Canal had a huge impact on the growth and success of our state. Although it ceased operation in 1913, much of its original footprint remains, including some of the old locks. Head to the Clinton Trailhead in the southwestern corner of the county, where a short walk will take you to two of the old locks. Built from Berea sandstone, these relics of the past were instrumental in moving boats brimming with wheat, coal and other goods up and down the waterway. During the canal’s heyday the Village of Clinton rivaled Akron in size and importance.

Historical photo of a canal boat along the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Of course, the locks are no longer operable, but standing near one you can imagine what it would have been like to be a canal boat captain or lock operator. As times have changed, boats and mules have given way to hikers and cyclists. A former industrial thruway has become home to a gorgeous array of plants and animals. Consider visiting the Clinton Trailhead for your next outdoor excursion and see history before your eyes!

For more stories like this, check out Green Islands Magazine, a bi-monthly publication from Summit Metro Parks. Summit County residents can sign up to receive the publication at home free of charge.

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Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks manages 15,000 acres, 16 parks, three nature centers and more than 150 miles of trails. Find more at www.summitmetroparks.org.