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 trailhead 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 Center at 5424 E. 49th Street. Restrooms and drinking water are available at the Canalway Center.
This trail was featured in an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Oct. 22, 2007.
The land that this trail is built on drains very well, so this is one of the few mountain bike trails that is not monitored and is rarely closed, except in cases of extreme weather, maintenance, or other unusual issues. The new "flow trails" opened in late 2021 are monitored and open/closed based on conditions, so check our trail status page before heading out if you hope to ride these sections.
Riding on the trails is permitted between 6:00am and 9:00pm when conditions allow. Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles are permitted on all Cleveland Metroparks mountain bike trails.
By Car: If you are coming from Cleveland, take Interstate 77 South to the Grant Ave. exit and turn right onto Grant Ave. If you are coming from the south, take Interstate 77 North to the Grant Ave. exit and turn left onto Grant Ave. Then turn left onto E. 49th St. The Canalway Center will be on the right. Turn right at the large Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation sign and follow the park access road all the way to the Canalway Center. You can park anywhere in the upper or lower lot. Look for the mountain bike trailhead sign (see photo above) to the right of the Visitor Center.
By Bike: The mountain bike trail is easily accessible via the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Look for this sign directing you to the Canalway Center; it is near the very high railroad bridge overhead, and next to a small wooden bridge over the old canal. 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, keeping to your left when the trail splits. Near the top of the hill, just before the parking lot, the Canalway Center will be on your right, and the trailhead sign (see photo above) will be on your left.
As of the fall of 2022, there are about 6 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails available to ride in this park, plus a pump track and skills park located adjacent to the Canalway Center. Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles are permitted on the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation mountain bike trails.
The Beginner Loop 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 make a hard 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, the trail meets up with the Beginner Loop. Bear left to back into the Intermediate Loop again, or bear right to take the second half of the Beginner Loop back to the trailhead.
The Beginner Loop and the Intermediate Loop are the "original" trails here, first opened in 2007. Together they make up what is now known as the "Primitive Loop."
Beginner-friendly trail about one mile long (green line on the map below).
Beginner Flow Trail
Red line on the map below, about 0.2 miles long. Access from the middle of the Primitive Loop or the end of the Canal Trail.
White line on the map below; about one mile long. Start at the park entrance near E. 49th St.