In the spring of 2012 Summit County completed their sections of The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail eliminating the on-road sections in Akron and tricky interchanges around Barberton. The route is beautiful and easy to navigate. The entire route through Summit County is now on-trail except for a few blocks in downtown Akron. When we rode the route in May the signage was lacking in this spot.
Traveling north to south the trail will take you over the highways on a spectacular new bridge on the approach to downtown Akron and dead end onto Quaker Street. Follow Quaker Street uphill to where it dead ends into West Bowery Street. The Civic will be in front of you.
Use the crosswalk to cross West Bowery Street where the trail continues on the south side of West Bowery Street, facing traffic on the sidewalk / path. In one block turn left onto Water Street. At the next block, cross W State Street to pick up the trail as it takes you right past the baseball stadium. At the south end of Canal Park at W Thorton there is an easy to miss left turn that goes downhill and takes you under the intersection.
Going south to north was easier. In downtown Akron the trail will dead end and you will cross W State Street and you will proceed on Water Street for one block and turn right on West Bowery Street and left on Quaker Street. The new bridge is in site.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2012
We recently rode the Towpath Trail through Akron, both directions, and the route has been improved. There are new signs in several places making it much easier to navigate. We have new photos and will post them soon.