Cleveland November 22, 2017
9 Trails In Cleveland You Must Take If You Love The Outdoors
Unfortunately, one of the side effects of calling the best location in the nation home is that we Clevelanders have almost become forgetful of the beauty of our surroundings. We
know that our region is stunning, but the stunning variety of habitats and cityscapes that dot its expanse are largely hidden and oftentimes must be sought out. If you adore the outdoors, the trails on this list will reawaken your wonder for our environment by introducing you to nine different landscapes. Prepare for spectacular scenery, because these stunning destinations will leave you in awe.
1. Fort Hill Loop Trail, Rocky River Reservation
This hike will take you to one of the most scenic sites in the entirety of the Emerald Necklace. Fort Hill is an authentic earthworks site dating back to over 2,000 years ago. It consists of a set of human-made walls and ditches that overlook the majesty of the Rocky River. 155 steps take you 90 feet above the river, offering breathtaking views of nature and human history alike. A walk along this trail spans 1.3 miles.
2. Squire's Lane Trail, North Chagrin Reservation
This park is coveted as the home of Squire's Castle, a stunning shell of a castle that was constructed in the late 1800s. Its scenery is straight out of a fairy tale, and you must see it to believe it. This hike is just under a mile, but it will transport you from the Strawberry Picnic Area to the spectacular site of Squire’s Castle.
3. Mastick Woods Loop Trail, Rocky River Reservation
This beautiful trail is just under a half mile, circling through the woods surrounding the river across an easy-to-conquer level surface. The entirety of the Rocky River Reservation is especially lovely in the fall when it is bathed in warm hues.
4. The Towpath Trail at Beaver Marsh, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Taking this boardwalk stroll across a spectacular wetland will humble you. Once upon a time, the area was used as a junkyard, until park volunteers stepped in and cleaned the site so that Mother Nature could reclaim it. Through their efforts (and a bit of beaver intervention), the land has become a restored habitat that delights visitors of all ages. It is especially striking in late fall and early winter, when the vastness of its landscape becomes emphasized by the bare trees.
5. Whipp’s Ledges Loop Trail, Hinckley Reservation
Only 1.25 miles separate the Whipp’s Ledges and Top O’ Ledges picnic areas, so you might as well conquer the distance. This enchanting site is overflowing with Sharon Conglomerate ledges and stones, with some of the ledges measuring 350 feet tall!
6. The trails at Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve
In 1896, William Gordon willed a plot of land along Lake Erie's shore to the city for use as a public park. Gordon Park, as it would come to be known, became something of a dumping ground for solid waste. Incredibly, that waste would form a 10-acre area between the Lake Erie's sunken ship breakwall and the shore.
The park became recognizable as the preserve it is today when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed a walled-off area ("Dike 14") that jutted out from the Lake Erie Shoreline. In this area, they placed sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River until 1999, when they left and nature took back over. The 88-acre site consists of three trails, which total 2.5 miles. Enjoy meadows, forests, wetlands, and other spectacular habitats as you explore this charming lakefront wonder.
7. The Bridle Trail, South Chagrin Reservation
Park at the Sulphur Springs Picnic Area and walk along the babbling brook of Sulphur Springs. For this park, it is fun to pick a trail and just see where it goes. A number of trails lead to exciting features, including a swing set, the Henry Church Rock, and even an entirely different park! Keep in mind, though, that pedestrians on the bridle trail must yield to horseback riders.
8. Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail, Scranton Flats
This half-mile paved trail travels through the heart of the Cleveland Flats, taking hikers on an unforgettable tour of the city's inter-urban wildlife. This trail actually follows a 19th-century rail spur set, allowing you to walk back in time as you traverse its length. Enjoy views of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, the arch of the Superior Viaduct, and the historic remains of a region shaped around industry. In total, this trail will span 1.3 miles. Until then, this little urban escape offers a quick and easy stroll through the city.
9. Brandywine Gorge Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
This incredible 1.5-mile trail offers unbelievable views, allowing you to take in wondrous views of the creek and explore beyond Brandywine Falls. The most charming feature of this trail is its 65-foot waterfall, which cascades over finely chunked shale to create an almost veil-like appearance. In the winter, the landscape becomes transformed by ice into an equally beautiful wonderland.
The diversity of our landscape, as you can see, is remarkable. With thousands and thousands of acres of parks, nature preserves, and reservations, there truly are endless opportunities to enjoy it. What is your favorite outdoor escape?
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