An iconic trail along the Ohio & Erie Canalway. The backbone of CVNP. 3.75 miles.
At a Glance:
Flat, packed limestone trail. Wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Distance: 3.75 miles
Rockside Station is one of the most popular stops along Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. It serves as the boarding site and Cleveland-area home to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. It is also the northernmost access point to the CVNP trail system and its watered canal sections are registered as National Historic Landmarks. Hikers, bikers, and runners can fit a quick and beautiful trip along this stretch without necessarily making a day-long commitment. Cross country skiers will love the views in the winter. Birders, train enthusiasts, history buffs, and sightseers will also find plenty to love here. Just a heads-up: this stretch does parallel Riverview Road, so if you’re looking for something a bit more secluded, plan to start further south.
What Makes it Great
With plenty of history and eye-catching views, the trip from Rockside Station to Frazee House takes you from the city clamor into the peace of nature and antiquity. Along the route, your panorama is peppered with locks—including Lock 38, the only operational lock in CVNP that was restored in 1992 to its early 20th century condition. The Tinkers Creek Aqueduct is another point of interest, having been reconstructed a few short years ago. Travelers on the path can learn all about the history at the Canal Exploration Center, also known as the Locktender’s House, where the history of the area is brought to life. Further south, a working floodgate drains excess water from the canal. You’ll spy the Wilson Feed Mill and the red-bricked Stephen Frazee House, which was built around 1825 in Federal architecture style. All can be taken in with relative ease through this leg’s 20-foot elevation change and fairly smooth course. This is certainly a beautiful trail through changes of seasons, a marriage of countryside and olden times.
Who is Going to Love It
A true crowd-pleaser, this section of the Towpath Trail is sure to make just about everyone happy. It’s a great place to start an adventure, whether you’re planning to travel the entire length of the park system, or just pass part of the day. It’s flat and scenic, which means there’s plenty here for outdoor enthusiasts of every age, type, and skill level. And with restrooms and stops along the way for picnicking and sightseeing, you’re always close to civilization throughout the trip.
Directions, Parking & Fees
Take I-77 to Exit 155 (Rockside Rd.). Proceed east on Rockside Rd. about one mile until you arrive at Canal Rd. Left on Canal Rd., then take a left on Rockside Road. Entrance to the park is free. Tickets are required for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.