4 of 5: Exploring the Mogadore Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"

Blog Date
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

Mogadore Section and part of Massillon Section - Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
Enlarge Map

The Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" is the over-250-mile part of the Buckeye Trail in Northeast Ohio that goes through the following counties: Lake, Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, Portage, and Geauga. On Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at the northern terminus of the Buckeye Trail at Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, I completed the loop which I had begun on Sunday, November 4, 2018.

My plan was to slowly complete, by hiking and biking, all the sections of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" over several years. With the onset of the March 2020 COVID-19 crisis, my plans radically changed, and I decided to complete the "Little Loop" this year. Below is the blog post about the northern part of Massillon Section and the Mogadore Section, which is the fourth of five Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" blog posts.

You may find it helpful to first read the background information about the trail in the first blog post:

Here are links to all of the section blog posts, along with a list of the counties and some of the parks that are part of each section:

  • 2 of 5: Exploring the Bedford Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
    - Lake County, Cuyahoga County
    - Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, Headlands Beach State Park, Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Mentor Marsh, Lake Metroparks, Cleveland Metroparks, and more!

  • 3 of 5: Exploring the Akron Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
    - Cuyahoga County, Summit County, Stark County
    - Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio & Erie Canalway, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Summit Metro Parks, and more!

  • 4 of 5: Exploring the Mogadore Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" (See below)
    - NOTE: I included the small part of the Massillon Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" in this blog post.
    - Stark County, Summit County, Portage County
    - Stark Parks, Summit Metro Parks, Portage Park District, Mogadore Reservoir, West Branch State Park, Mantua Bog State Nature Preserve, and more!

  • 5 of 5: Exploring the Burton Section of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"
    - Geauga County, Lake County
    - Geauga Park District, Lake Metroparks, Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, and more!

Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" Map
Enlarge Map



Massillon Section & Mogadore Section - Buckeye Trail "Little Loop"

There are 26 sections to the Buckeye Trail, each named for a town or feature within the section, and each with its own unique experiences. As you read the descriptions, you will come to realize the tremendous variety and history that hiking Ohio offers. We strongly urge you to obtain a detailed map from the Buckeye Trail Association for the section (or sections) you wish to hike.

This blog post covers my experiences on the northern part of the Massillon Section and the Mogadore Section from Friday, June 26 2020, through Friday, August 21, 2020.

Massillon Section

The Massillon Section begins in Hartville where the Mogadore Section ends. The north end of the trail follows suburban roads past Nimisilla Reservoir, a unit of Portage Lakes State Park. In Crystal Springs, the trail connects to the south end of the Akron Section on towpath. This junction closes the 'Little Loop' of the Buckeye Trail. The little loop comprises the Akron, Bedford, Burton, Mogadore and Massillon Sections. . . .

Mogadore Section
55.7 Total Miles / 18.4 Off Road Miles (33.0%)
Map Publication Date: December 2019

Welcome to one of the highest regions of Ohio's glaciated Appalachian Plateau. This section is characterized by its flatness and its glacial features - end moraines, ground moraine, kames, eskers and mature kettle lakes. Often one can barely tell when one passes from one drainage to another. The trail begins along the Headwaters Trail in the Eagle Creek drainage which flows into the Mahoning R. Within a couple of miles, the trail passes bogs in the Cuyahoga R drainage and then crosses the Cuyahoga R itself in Mantua. Mantua is a small Western Reserve village with restaurants and a post office. A few miles later, the trail, now on road, crosses one of the highest points on the BT in the state. Shortly, the trail passes closely by the West Branch of the Mahoning R which the trail stays near through West Branch State Park and on. The trail crosses SR 44 south of Ravenna near Rootstown. Here is a good location for resupply with a major grocery only .5 mi south of that intersection. With planning, the Rootstown post office is easily reached. West of SR 44, the trail returns to the area drained by streams that flow into the Cuyahoga R. This condition lasts all the way into Hartville. Although the amount of trail off road is relatively low, the trail offers many opportunities to view the natural terrain along the Headwaters Trail, unimproved trail in West Branch State Park and along Mogadore Reservoir as well as the trails in Quail Hollow State Park. Between Mogadore Reservoir and Quail Hollow State Park, the trail, again on road, passes Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake hangar where all of their blimps have been assembled. You may see the current occupant of the hangar, Goodyear's new semi-rigid Zeppelin airship, Wingfoot Three, as you pass.


Here is information about trail towns in the Mogadore Section:

Village of Mantua

On July 14, 2018, Andrew Bashaw, Executive Director of the Buckeye Trail Association welcomed the village of Mantua as the 10th Buckeye Trail Town. The festivities took place at the bridge at the Headwaters Trailhead. Bashaw commended the village for becoming a Trail Town, welcoming Buckeye Trail travelers with hospitality during their visits to the area. He noted the opportunity this partnership provides, the prospect “for us to do more and more over time.” Mantua Village Mayor Linda Clark concurred, sharing; “This is an excellent opportunity for your community.”



From: Canal Fulton Canalway Center
(The End of the Akron Section is at Crystal Springs Bridge Park)
To: Quail Hollow Park, Stark Parks

Day #14 - Friday June 26, 2020

Read about the first half of Friday, June 26, 2020, (my bike ride from Canal Fulton Canalway Center to Crystal Springs Bridge Park) in my Akron Section blog post:

When I reached Crystal Springs Bridge Park, I had a choice on which way to follow the Buckeye Trail:



From: Quail Hollow Park, Stark Parks
To: Mogadore Boathouse & Marina, Mogadore Reservoir

Day #15 - Friday, July 3, 2020

Back on Sunday, January 19, 2020, I was on the Buckeye Trail when it was 17 degrees and windy. On Friday July 3, 2020, the weather was at the other extreme of my "Little Loop" journey, with my weather app reporting that it was 90 degrees when I ended the day at Mogadore Reservoir. A very hot day!

Quail Hollow Park

Quail Hollow Park offers several areas for small and large events including bridal and baby showers, wedding ceremonies and receptions, and other celebrations.  The 700 acre park features the former H.B. Stewart Manor House surrounded by forest, rolling meadows, marshes, and ponds.  Indoor event areas include a library, dining room and breakfast room.  A kitchen for food preparation includes counters and refrigerators.  Restrooms and a drinking fountain are located inside the facilities.

A charming gazebo can be rented for outdoor activities including weddings.  A rock garden and herb garden offer an elegant location for photos.

I started the day at Stark County Park District's Quail Hollow Park -- a very interesting place! It is great how following the Buckeye Trail gives me the opportunity to visit and learn about new places in Ohio.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stewart Manor House in Quail Hollow Park was not open, but I looked around the outside of the building and the grounds. I will need to come back to see inside this historic building when it reopens. You can learn the history of the house in the Stark County Park District's video: Virtual Tour of the Stewart Manor House


Related tweet with video: Virtual Tour of the Stewart Manor House

While bike riding through the countryside, I met a woman who was section-hiking the Buckeye Trail. We both stopped at the side of the road and "talked trail" for a while. She is also interested in trying backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. She told me about the Road Scholar: Educational Travel for Adults (@RoadScholarOrg) program, which has educational "adventures in all 50 states and 150 countries."


Built in 1917, the hangar at Wingfoot Lake is the oldest airship facility and one of the oldest active aircraft bases in the world. In addition to a maintenance and construction facility for Goodyear's blimp fleet. In 2018, The Wingfoot Lake hangar was awarded an Ohio historical marker recognizing its contributions to Lighter-Than-Air aviation in general as well as its military significance during WWI & WWII. The very first class of airship pilots was trained at Wingfoot Lake.

. . .

The Wingfoot Lake base in Suffield, Ohio is near Akron, Ohio, home to the world headquarters for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

It is great that the Buckeye Trail goes right by the Goodyear's blimp Wingfoot Lake hangar. I was very fortunate that the blimp was out when I was biking by the hanger, so I was able to see it and take photos.

Mogadore Reservoir
Completed in 1939, Mogadore Reservoir is located near Mogadore by Ohio State Route 43 in Portage County and is formed from the damming of the Little Cuyahoga River.

Mogadore Reservoir was originally created to supply additional water to Akron industries downstream but now serves mostly recreational and flood protection purposes.

I ended the day at the Mogadore Boathouse & Marina, which rents electric motor boats, rowboats, kayaks, and canoes.

Wingfoot Lake State Park provides visitors with a delightful day spent outdoors. Groves of tall trees, expanses of grass, and a picturesque lake create a relaxing backdrop to paddling, fishing, or miniature golf. Originally owned by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, the park joined the state system in 2009. On a clear day, visitors can spot the Goodyear blimp parked in its hangar on the lake's south shore.

After my bike ride, I drove back to see Wingfoot Lake State Park.



From: Mogadore Boathouse & Marina, Mogadore Reservoir
To: West Branch State Park Boat Launch (Rock Spring Road Parking) on Michael J Kirwan Reservoir

Day #16 - Tuesday, July 14, 2020

There were nice wooded sections at the start and end of the day, and the rest of the route was on roads. While it was not as hot out as the last time I was on the trail (Friday, July 3, 2020, it was 90 degrees), it actually felt hotter today due to high humidity.

Mogadore Section Supervisor Bill Jindra
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On a section of trail in the woods, I was glad to meet Buckeye Trail volunteer Bill Jindra, so I could thank him in person for his good work. The Buckeye Trail is made possible by volunteers -- learn about volunteer opportunities on their website here.

On this very humid day, he was giving of his time and using his own bush hog mower and trail construction equipment to clear an overgrown section of trail. Bill Jindra is also the Mogadore Section Supervisor, and thus asked me to give him feedback on the Mogadore Section I had just traveled so far. I told him that it was well marked and easy to follow.



Saturday, July 18, 2020 - Buckeye Trail Little Loop Challenge 2020

I participated in the Buckeye Trail Little Loop Challenge 2020, which you can learn about in my blog post:



From: West Branch State Park Boat Launch (Rock Spring Road Parking) on Michael J Kirwan Reservoir
To: Cuyahoga River Near Headwaters Trail in Mantua, Ohio

Day #17 - Friday, August 14, 2020

I was surprised to realize that it had been one full month since I did the last part of the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop" -- I had not been out much, since it had been a very hot month.

It was a very humid morning, but not too hot. In the afternoon, it reached 90 degrees -- please note the photos of cows that had more sense than I did, since they stayed in the shade. I was very tired as I finished the bike ride at the Headwaters Trail in Mantua, Ohio.

It was extra special to enter the trail town of Mantua, Ohio, since I had attended the "Little Loop" presentation led by Buckeye Trail Association Trustee Randall Roberts (@RandallDRoberts) on February 10, 2019. I learned a lot from him about the history of the trail, and more about the "Little Loop."


I appreciate that Portage Park District thanked me for sharing about their park system. I look forward to coming back to explore more.



From: Headwaters Trail Parking (at the Cuyahoga River), Mantua, Ohio
(The End of the Mogadore Section is at the Point Where the Buckeye Trail Leaves the Headwater Trail to Enter the Woods)
To: Eldon Russell Park, Geauga Park District

Day #18 - Friday, August 21, 2020

Portage Park District
Headwaters Trail

History & Resources
This eight and a half mile limestone-paved trail, built on the former Cleveland-Mahoning Railroad line between Mantua and Garrettsville, provides a safe and scenic route for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. It passes by beautiful farmland and forests, steep ravines and wetlands, including State Nature Preserves, and the Upper Cuyahoga State Scenic River.

Named Headwaters Trail because of the area’s extensive wetlands, springs and headwaters streams, the trail also crosses a continental watershed divide—between the Mahoning River Watershed that drains to the Ohio River then to the Mississippi River and into the gulf of Mexico, and the Cuyahoga River Watershed, draining to Lake Erie then out to the North Atlantic Ocean.

Portions of the Headwaters Trail have been designated as part of the Buckeye Trail system that circles the State of Ohio. Camp Asbury is also on the Buckeye Trail and adjacent to the Headwaters Trail. The railroad operated as a passenger and freightline from Youngstown to Cleveland until the mid 1970s. Much of the line is now out of service, and in private ownership. The State Route 700 trailhead is the site of the former Jeddoe Station. Historic stories of the railroad include a train robbery and great escape in Garrettsville, and a tragic boiler accident, these stories can be found on interpretive signs along the trail.

When I learned about the Headwaters Trail at the February 10, 2019, "Little Loop" presentation, I was interested in returned to bike ride this Portage Park District rail trail. Therefore, I was very glad to be back as I traveled in Northeast Ohio on the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop."

The Buckeye Trail only covers part of the Headwaters Trail (east from the Cuyahoga River in Mantua to 0.1 miles past Asbury Road), so I hope to return someday to bike ride the entire route. Here is a map of the entire Headwaters Trail:

Headwaters Trail - Portage Park District
Enlarge Map

At the point where the Buckeye Trail leaves the Headwaters Trail, it enters the Burton Section, heading toward Camp Asbury -- please read on in the next blog post:



Please use these links to read more about the Buckeye Trail and my experiences completing the "Little Loop."

I hope you enjoyed learning about the Buckeye Trail "Little Loop!'