Local trails provide scenic setting for biking, hiking

 

There are a variety of scenic trails in Stark County that make great destinations for bicycling, hiking and walking. The West Branch Trail (pictured here) is within walking distance of Malone. (Photo by Jesse Peek)

As the leaves begin to fall and the weather cools down a bit, it can be depressing to think about being stuck inside all winter listening to lectures and working on papers. There’s still time to get out and enjoy the beauty of autumn, though, and a great way to do that is by taking advantage of some of the wonderful trails located in Stark County.

Stark County is home to several trails that are great for bicycling, hiking or simply taking a relaxing walk—and these trails are all within a twenty minute drive from Malone.

West Branch Trail

One recently constructed trail is within walking distance of Malone—the West Branch Trail. A 4.4 mile trail that runs from West Park near 9th Street NW to Covered Bridge Park, West Branch trail was just opened this summer.

The trail can be accessed at the intersection of Fulton Ave. NW and Park Dr. NW near the Marathon gas station, making it a short drive or even a walk from campus.

Congressman Ralph Regula Towpath Trail

For those wishing to escape the city, there are a number of much longer trails in western Stark County. One such trail is the Congressman Ralph Regula Towpath Trail.

The Towpath has a bit of history behind it. It runs for 110 miles from Cleveland in the north to Zoar in the south alongside the Ohio & Erie Canal. The trail that bicyclists and hikers now enjoy was formerly used by horses that pulled boats up and down the canal.

The Towpath Trail can be accessed about 20 minutes from campus in Massillon. Click above for a larger map and more detailed directions. (Image courtesy of Google Maps)

The Towpath extends 25 miles through Stark County and passes through the towns of Canal Fulton, Massillon and Navarre. In between, though, there are long stretches of heavily forested rural areas that are peaceful and serene. At many points, the Towpath is bounded by the Tuscarawas River on one side and the old Ohio & Erie Canal on the other.

The best place to pick up the Towpath Trail is in Massillon. A well-constructed trailhead is located on Lake Ave. NW off Route 21, which is about a 20 minute drive from campus. The trailhead features a number of eateries as well as Ernie’s Bike Shop,where you can rent bicycles to ride.

Sippo Valley Trail

Another trail in the Massillon area worth mentioning is the Sippo Valley Trail. Running from Massillon to Dalton in Wayne County, the Sippo Valley Trail stretches about 10 miles through stands of trees and picturesque farmland. The trail was converted from an abandoned railroad as part of a “rails-to-trails” program.

The Sippo Valley Trail is much flatter and more open than the Towpath and large portions of it are paved with asphalt. The trail can be accessed at Lincoln Park off 17th Street NW in Massillon, which is also about 20 minutes from campus.

Area parks featuring trails

In addition to the trails in Massillon, there are several parks in the Canton area that offer nice walking trails. Sippo Lake Park (not to be confused with the Sippo Valley Trail) is located in Perry Township (directions). Overlooking Sippo Lake, the park features a one mile trail for hiking and biking. There are also a number of shorter, more primitive trails for hiking.

Petros Lake Park is another park with a well-maintained trail for walking. Petros Park is located on Perry Dr. in Perry Township and is about 15 minutes from campus (directions). The park features a 1.2 mile walking trail that circles a small lake.

Whether you’re biking, hiking or just taking a leisurely stroll, a visit to any of these trails is a great way to relieve stress and get some exercise. So next time you’re looking to escape campus and stretch your legs, head to a local trail and enjoy the falling leaves and comfortable weather while they last.

Jesse Peek is editor-in-chief for Aviso AVW.

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