Cleveland Metroparks Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation Mountain Bike Trail
First Singletrack in Cuyahoga County!
The Cleveland Metroparks in partnership with the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association opened the first legal singletrack trails in Cuyahoga County in late summer of 2007. Many thanks to the Metroparks officials for making it happen and to the CAMBA volunteers who put in countless hours of work to build the trails.
The trail is located in the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation in Cuyahoga Heights. The trail is made up of a one-half mile beginner loop, which leads to a two-mile intermediate loop. Both are well-marked with directional signs. The trailhead is at the Canalway Visitor Center on E. 49th St.
By Car: If you are coming from Cleveland, take I-77 South to the Grant Ave exit. Turn right on Grant Ave, then left on E 49th St. The Canalway Visitor Center will be on the right. Look for the mountain bike trailhead sign (see photo below) to the right of the Visitor Center. If you are coming from the south, take I-77 North to the Grant Ave exit, turn left on Grant Ave, then left on E 49th St.
By Bike: The mountain bike trail is easily accessible via the Towpath Trail. Look for this sign directing you to the Canalway Center; it is near the very high railroad bridge overhead. If you are riding south, it's a couple of miles south of Harvard Rd. If you are riding north, it's 3.8 miles north of Rockside Rd. Follow the paved path to the Canalway Center. Near the top of the hill, just before the parking lot, the Visitor Center will be on your right, and the trailhead sign (see photo below) will be on your left.
This sign marks the beginning of the mountain bike trail. Please read and follow the rules and regulations, and do not ride anywhere other than the designated trails.
The Beginner section of the trail is relatively flat and smooth. In the first half, a sign directs you through a chain link fence gate. After riding through the gate, bear right, keeping the fence on your right to continue following the trail.
About halfway into the Beginner loop, you meet the Intermediate loop. Go straight to follow the Intermediate loop, or turn left to continue on the Beginner loop.
The second half of the Beginner loop is a little less flat than the first, but is still a relatively gentle grade. There is a small dip in the trail surface to watch out for.
The end of the loop leaves you back where you started, where you can start over, or head back to the parking lot or Towpath.
The Intermediate loop has a few short but steep climbs, some sharp turns, many camel humps, a couple of rock gardens, and a few bridges crossing over streams and ravines. The bridges are plenty wide. There is one long, gradual climb at the beginning of the Intermediate loop, which means you spend most of the rest of the loop dropping back down. At the end of the Intermediate loop, you can go directly back into the start of the loop, or take the second half of the Beginner loop back to the parking lot or Towpath.
This section of trail is typical of the Beginner loop.
Here is one of the more rocky sections of the Intermediate loop. It actually splits; you can take the left fork (shown on the right in this picture) for a smoother ride, or take the right fork (shown on the left in this picture) to hit more rocks. The leaf fall on this particular day made it an additional challenge, as the leaves hide what rocks may be awaiting below to knock you around!
Here is one of several bridges on the Intermediate loop. Note the hump immediatly after the bridge, following by another bridge in the background.