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FreeWheeling Easy in Western Pennsylvania


Information on Trails Near Eire and Eastern Ohio

by Mary Shaw and Roy Weil

We are pleased to present selections from the book FreeWheeling Easy in Western Pennsylvania. In most cases, this includes the first paragraph of the description, the summary information, and the trail organization.

Trails West: Lake Erie and Eastern Ohio

Stavich Bicycle Trail
Presque Isle State Park Bikepath
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Bike and Hike Trail (to Kent and Stow OH)
Emerald Necklace

topStavich Bicycle Trail

New Castle PA to Struthers OH in Lawrence County PA and Mahoning County OH

An excellent 8-foot asphalt surface (measured as 9.75 ft) carries you through farmland and woods along the Mahoning River. The trail corridor originally served as railbed for the Penn-Ohio interurban trolley line rather than a railroad. Trolleys are more forgiving about gradients than railroads, so you’ll find noticeable (but still slight) slopes. The only scenic drawback is the existing trackage of the Pennsylvania and Lake Erie railroad, especially the switch yard near Struthers. Much of this track is now being salvaged, though two tracks are still in use.

Location: New Castle PA to Struthers OH, Union and Mahoning Townships in Lawrence County PA and Lowellville and Poland Townships in Mahoning County OH
Trailheads: New Castle PA, Edinburg PA, Lowellville OH, Struthers OH
Length, Surface: 12 miles reported, 9.8 measured; asphalt, 8 feet wide (9.75 measured)
Character: Busy, rural, sunny, flat
Special usage restrictions: No motorized vehicles; no horses
Amenities: Water, food
Driving time from Pittsburgh: 1 hour 10 minutes northwest

Trail organization: Gary Slaven, Falcon Foundry, 6th and Water Sts, PO Box 301, Lowellville OH 44436-0301, (216) 536-6221

topPresque Isle State Park Bikepath

Presque Isle State Park in Erie County

Presque Isle is a 3200 acre peninsula of glacial sand that juts 7 miles into Lake Erie from the city of Erie. A loop road popular with sightseers extends the length of the peninsula. A 5.8-mile paved multipurpose trail roughly parallels this road from the park entrance along the south (inland) side of the peninsula to Perry's Monument. The trail is barely two lanes wide, and it is often crowded.

Location: Presque Isle State Park
Trailheads: Parking lots at intervals along the trail
Length, Surface: 5.8 miles; asphalt
Character: Crowded, state park, mostly shady, flat
Special usage restrictions: No motorized vehicles or horses
Amenities: Water, rest rooms, bike rental, food, swimming, fishing
Driving time from Pittsburgh: 2 hours 45 minutes north

Trail organization: Presque Isle State Park, PA Department of Environmental Resources, PO Box 8510, Erie, PA 16505, (814) 871-4251

topOhio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Along Cuyahoga River in Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area

The Cuyahoga River valley has served as a transportation corridor for centuries. At some places along this trail you’ll see canal and railroad beside you and modern superhighway overhead. This trail follows the towpath of the Ohio and Erie Canal, which was built between 1825 and 1832 to connect Cleveland, on Lake Erie, with the Ohio River 308 miles away. The route was from Cleveland upstream along the Cuyahoga River to Akron, then down the Tuscarawas River. Until the middle of the 19th century the canal was an economic success. However, like many canals, railroads and floods spelled its end. The final blow for this canal was the flood of 1913. Parts of the canal and traces of its heritage are now being restored in the corridor from Cleveland to Zoar. The modern-day Towpath trail runs 19.5 miles from Lock 39 in Valley View south to the northern edge of Akron. Mileage markers along the trail are based on historical mileages measured from Lake Erie, so the northern end of the trail is near milepost 11 and the southern end half a mile past milepost 30. The mileposts are not exactly a mile apart on the modern trail, so our intermediate measurements are approximate.

Location: Along Cuyahoga River in Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, Cuyahoga and Summit Counties OH
Trailheads: Rockside Rd, Canal Visitor Center, Station Rd Bridge, Redlock, Boston, Peninsula, Hunt Farm, Ira, Indian Mound (Bath Rd)
Length, Surface: 19.5 miles, mostly crushed stone with some hardtop where equestrian trail overlaps
Character: busy; suburban to rural, wooded; shady; flat
Usage restrictions: Horse trail partly overlaps towpath trail; no motorized vehicles; no snowmobiles
Amenities: Rest rooms, water, bike rental, food, lodging, swimming, fishing
Driving time from Pittsburgh:2 hours 30 minutes northwest

Trail organization: Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, 15610 Vaughn Rd, Brecksville OH 44141, (216) 524-1497

topBike and Hike Trail (to Kent and Stow OH)

From Walton Hills to Kent and Stow, Ohio

The Bike and Hike Trail follows the routes of a former railroad, the New York Central, and two former interurban trolley lines, the Akron, Bedford, and Cleveland (or “alphabet” railroad) and another branch of the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company. It features a variety of terrain along the route. The trail runs roughly as a “Y” with the base of the stem near Cleveland and arms reaching to Kent and Stow. The junction, where the arms join the stem, is just east of OH8. Most of the road crossings are at grade level, so watch for traffic.

Location: Walton Hills to Kent and Stow, Cuyahoga and Summit Counties OH
Trailheads: Walton Hills, Brandywine Falls, Boston Mills, Silver Springs Park, Springdale, Munroe Falls
Length, Surface: 29 miles, asphalt and crushed stone (1 mile on-street near Brandywine Falls; 3.3 miles on-street in Stow and Silver Lake
Character: busy, suburban; sunny; flat in north, hilly in south, with short steep hills at many road crossings
Usage restrictions: No motorized vehicles, no snowmobiles, no horses
Amenities: Rest rooms, water, food, swimming, fishing
Driving time from Pittsburgh: 2 hours 20 minutes northwest

Trail organization, Metro Parks, Serving Summit County Section: Thomas Shuster, Director, Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, 975 Treaty Line Road, Akron OH 44313-5898, (330) 867-5511

Trail organization, Cleveland Metroparks Section, Steven Coles, Chief of Park Planning, Cleveland Metroparks, 4101 Fulton Parkway Cleveland OH 44144-1923, (216) 351-6300

topEmerald Necklace

Cleveland Metroparks surrounding Cleveland OH

The Cleveland Metroparks system includes 19,000 acres of public land including 100 miles of parkways and 12 “reservations” for recreational activities. The system is called the “Emerald Necklace” because the lands nearly encircle the city of Cleveland. Ten of the reservations include paved all-purpose trails for cycling, walking, jogging, in-line skating, and other activities. The surface is suitable for wheelchairs, but some of the trails are hilly and some grades are steep.

Location: An arc around Cleveland, in Cuyahoga County OH
Trailheads: Many picnic areas in the Cleveland Metroparks system
Length, Surface: 47 miles of all-purpose trails, 8’ asphalt
Character: crowded; urban; shady; hilly
Usage restrictions: No horses, no motor vehicles
Amenities: Rest rooms, water, food, swimming, fishing
Driving time from Pittsburgh (to Bedford): 2 hours 40 minutes northwest

Trail organization: Cleveland Metroparks System, 4101 Fulton Parkway, Cleveland OH 44144-1923, (216) 351-6300

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topOrdering information

FreeWheeling Easy is available in many western Pennsylvania bike shops, outdoor stores, and bookstores for $9.95+tax. If you can't find it there, you can order from us: Shaw-Weil Associates, 414 South Craig St. #307, Pittsburgh PA 15213. We have to charge you for tax and postage, so send a check for $11.93. We usually ship in 1 to 5 days. Sorry, we don't do credit cards, but books does. You can order it from for $9.95 + shipping, but you will pay more for shipping and it will take longer.

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Updated 04/11/97 by Mary Shaw
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