Sand Run Metro Park–Big Bend Trailhead
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Ohio Birding Day Hike
Sand Run Metro Park Trails
About Big Bend Trailhead
The Big Bend Trailhead is access to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.
About the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Annually, more than 2.5 million Americans find their way to the iconic 81+ mile Towpath Trail running through the heart of the Ohio & Erie Canalway.
Whether birding, biking, hiking, running, riding on horseback, taking a canal boat ride, or traveling alongside it by scenic rail — folks find that old-school “travel” along the Towpath Trail adds an undeniable energy to the quality of life in the counties of Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas in Northeastern Ohio.
Travel — literally! — along the path where, from 1827 to 1913, mules once pulled canal boats laden with passengers and goods up and down the historic Ohio & Erie Canal.
Today’s Trail follows the historic Towpath as closely as possible, the exact route determined by historic maps and remnants of the Trail itself. In some places, the Trail leaves the historic route where time and events have erased the old path. Along the Trail and at Key Visitor Centers, you can learn more about the cultural, historic, natural and recreational resources being preserved and celebrated along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. When completed, today’s Towpath Trail will be 101 miles long.
From Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail website
About Sand Run Metro Park
The 994-acre Sand Run Metro Park opened in 1929, but the area has been welcoming visitors for centuries. The land surrounding Mingo Pavilion was a campsite for Mingo Indians. Portage Path was once an important Native American trail between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers; later, it was the western boundary of the United States. A high ridge above the Wadsworth Area was a lookout point for General Elijah Wadsworth, who made his camp near the present-day Old Portage Area during the War of 1812.
In the 1930s, Sand Run Parkway and many of the surrounding shelters and structures were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1974, the park district’s Administrative Offices were moved here from Goodyear Heights Metro Park.
Today, visitors can drive through the ford crossing where Sand Run meanders across Sand Run Parkway. In the cool, shady ravines of Sand Run and its tributary streams, hemlocks, ferns, skunk cabbage and large colonies of horsetails grow. Each spring, large-flowered trilliums, and other seasonal blooms appear, including bishop’s cap, foam flower, bloodroot and pale violet.
The towering forest is home to red, gray, black, and fox squirrels; screech, barred, and great horned owls; and pileated woodpeckers. Red-tailed hawks roost in the treetops when they are not soaring over the ridges. Many rare species inhabit the park, including sharp-shinned hawks, butternut trees, and native orchids.
Near the intersection of Sand Run Parkway and Merriman Road is a small wetland that has become a highly productive amphibian breeding area. Every spring, the parkway is closed on nights when spotted salamanders migrate to this area for mating. The phenomenon has become a popular attraction for robust nature enthusiasts who often stand in the rain to witness hundreds of salamanders crossing the road. Other amphibians that breed in this area include spring peepers, wood frogs, American toads, and green frogs.
From Sand Run Metro Park webpage
Restrooms on site.