Towpath Trail camping spots

Where to Camp Along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail allows travelers to explore Ohio history by following the route canal boats did during the 19th century. Here’s where you can pitch your tent along the way. 

1. Cleveland Metroparks’ Ottawa Overlook, Brecksville
Towpath trail hikers used to be able to rent campsites behind Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Stanford House. That area has since been closed to camping but if you detour from the Towpath Trail at Station Road Bridge and head into the Cleveland Metroparks’ Brecksville Reservation you can instead stay at one of these backcountry sites. Visit the website for map access, to obtain a permit and for more information, 330/635-3200,

2. Big Bend Trailhead, Akron 
Big Bend Trailhead at Akron’s Sand Run Metro Park (located about 3/4-mile south of the intersection of North Portage Path and Merriman Road) offers free primitive camping year-round, but there are conditions: Stays are limited to one night and no fires are permitted. Sites are first-come, first-served, and campers must sign in at the trailhead kiosk. Portable restrooms are available on-site, and travelers must carry in their own water. 1337 Merriman Rd., Akron 44313, 330/867-5511,

3. 1/4-Mile South of Franklin Trailhead, New Franklin
Much like the camping options at Big Bend Trailhead, this Summit Metro Parks site offers free primitive camping with a one-night limit. Just like Big Bend Trailhead, sites are available first-come, first served, and fires are not permitted. Campers here are also required to sign in. Restrooms are available at the Franklin Trailhead (located just east of Center and Fairland roads) but water must be carried in. 2328 Center Rd., New Franklin 44216, 330/867-5511, 

4. River’s Edge Camping Area, Massillon
This Stark Parks site also offers free primitive camping for hikers and cyclists traveling the Towpath Trail. Located between Canal Fulton and Massillon and situated along the Tuscarawas River, this site offers a portable toilet on-site. Water and flush toilets can be found at the Lake Avenue Trailhead 1 1/2 miles south along the Towpath. Like the Summit Metro Parks sites, campers must sign in at the kiosk. 3499 Block Erie Ave. NW, Massillon 44646, 330/477-3992,