Another Old Fart
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Napoleon, Ohio
Bikes: 1995 Schwinn Searcher Express
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I am very familiar with the Miami-Erie Towpath. The towpath follows the old canal from Toledo to Cincinnati.
First and foremost, the Miami-Erie Towpath Trail is only a bike trail in portions. Starting at the Toledo end, the first portion is from the Maumee-Perrysburg SR 25 bridge over the Maumee, south a couple miles through Side Cut Metropark. It is a gravel trail that is not difficult on a hybrid (I have a 1995 Schwinn Searcher Express with 38c tires). The trail ends on River Road.
From that point upriver (SW), you can follow the road to a gravel path leading uphill to the Fallen Timbers Monument, then on a bike bridge over US 24 to Jerome Road and the eastern trailhead for both legs of the Wabash Cannonball Trail.
If you follow the road along the Maumee River SW through Waterville, southwest of downtown you will come to the old interurban bridge and the NE end of Farnsworth Metropark. From here about 10 miles upriver (SW) to Providence Metropark, which is across the river from Grand Rapids, the trail is complete and rideable on a hybrid bike, as long as there hasnít been a lot of rain. The northeast part of this trail is gravel, but the 6 miles from Bend View to Providence are dirt which can get really soft.
There is no trail from Providence/Grand Rapids to Texas, Ohio, which is about 4 miles SW. The only road between Providence and Texas is US 24, which is high traffic with a LOT of trucks, and would be suicidal on a bicycle.
From Texas to Napoleon, the towpath trail is strictly a hiking trail, which would be difficult even on a mountain bike.
From the boat ramps in Napoleon about three miles SW to the outskirts of town, there is a nice gravel trail on the towpath.
From Napoleon to Florida, Ohio, the towpath trail is again just a hiking trail. But SR 424 from Napoleon to Florida is a nice road to ride on.
From Florida through Independence Dam State Park, the trail is a fairly well maintained grassy trail that is rideable on a hybrid.
There is no trail from Independence to Defiance, or from Defiance to Junction.
The towpath trail starts up again in Junction and heads south to Delphos, but this section is again just a hiking trail, and even that has a lot of road sections. But if you really want to ride along the canal through there the traffic isnít too bad on the back roads.
From Delphos south along the Loramie Summit to Fort Loramie, the trail is a well-maintained hiking trail that is difficult but rideable on a hybrid. There is a new gravel section from north of St. Maryís south through town, and another very nice section from New Bremen to Minster. Another option is to ride SR 66A around the more difficult sections. SR 66A (not to be confused with SR 66) is generally low traffic and a nice road to ride on.
Southeast of Fort Loramie, the towpath is not even cleared through Shelby County and on to Piqua.
At Piqua, the paved Great Miami River Trail begins. Except for a gap between Piqua and Troy that is being built now, this trail runs all the way from Piqua through Dayton to Franklin, and is being extended through Hamilton. This trail also connects to the Miami Valley trails system, and in addition to the Great Miami trail you can ride east from Dayton about 18 miles to Xenia. From Xenia you can go south to the Cincinnati suburb of Newtown, north to Urbana, or east to London.
I hope this information helps.