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Towpath Trail Camping

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. Stanford Backcountry Campsites, Peninsula
From May through October, travelers can get no-frills camping for $25 a night behind Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Stanford House. Five sites are available, each accommodating up to two tents and six people. The site is accessed by way of a short trail just north of the Boston Store, and reservations are required three days in advance. Portable restrooms, firewood and water are on-site. Behind Stanford House; 6093 Stanford Rd., Peninsula 44264, 330/657-2909, forcvnp.org/camping

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, summitmetroparks.org/camping

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, summitmetroparks.org/camping 

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, starkparks.com

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