Cleveland February 19, 2018
This One Easy Hike Near Cleveland Will Lead You Someplace Unforgettable
Cleveland is spectacular when it comes to natural wonders. There is so much to see in Northeast Ohio, and it seems there always has been. However, the influence of man has undeniably shaped even our most pristine natural places. At this one park about 20 miles outside of Cleveland, a man-made waterfall dazzles each and every visitor. It won’t be here forever, though, so you simply must plan a visit before the year is over.
Welcome to Gorge Metro Park!
This stunning 155-acre park can be found at 1160 Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls.
This charming natural space has long been coveted by locals.
This postcard from around 1921 offers a brief glimpse into the history of the park. It had been used as a cultural site from 1880 until 1930, serving as an amusement park and popular picnicking site. In 1930, the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company—the predecessor to Ohio Edison—donated the land to the Summit Metro Parks.
You may know this park for its famously stunning cave.
The Mary Campbell Cave has long been a topic of local legend. Whether or not the legends are true, the cave does have historical significance. To learn about its history, check out our full feature article
However, on this hike, you'll encounter one of the park's dreamiest artificial creations.
This dam was constructed in 1913 as a way to harness the Cuyahoga River for hydroelectric power production. It only served this purpose until 1958, at which point it became a source of cooling water for a nearby power plant up through 1992. Since then, it has been a mere landmark.
In the early 2000s, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency realized the dam was threatening to the survival of local aquatic life.
And, the EPA determined, aquatic life was given a disadvantage in the most critical areas of the crooked river. By altering the flow, chemistry, and overall environment of the water, in addition to barring migratory species, the dam poses a particular threat to the health of our river.
After years of deliberation, the city and the EPA decided to remove the dam.
The city hopes to begin the process of removal in 2019. The projected removal date would align with the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire that redefined necessary environmental precautions around the nation.
To reach this historic landmark, go to the primary trail head and stay on the central riverfront trail.
The trail (highlighted blue in the image above) travels alongside the Cuyahoga River. It will provide you a scenic view of the dam and leads to an an observation deck overlooking the river, as well as a shortcut trail to Mary Campbell Cave.
Though the initial loop of this trail is short, sweet, and easy, the hike becomes more challenging if you don't take the shortcut.
As you reach the stunning sandstone ledges, the trail becomes primitive and is a bit challenging. The hike is well worth it in the wintertime, though, because you'll pass an enchanting garden of ice growing on the rock formations.
You might want to plan a few visits to see the dam before it is removed, because the might of the Cuyahoga River is awe-inspiring in every season.
The park is open from 6 AM to sunset, and there's truly nothing dreamier than spending your morning here.
Bring some hot tea and a blanket and cozy up to watch the sunrise. The majesty of this park is mind-blowing, especially on foggy mornings.
The realm of nature meets the influence of man at Gorge Metro Park, but we're slowly returning the landscape to Mother Nature...
...And you'll love seeing how Mother Nature has reclaimed it.
Don't forget to pay this pretty place a visit within the next year, because this glimpse into our region's past won't be here forever.
The beauty of this natural landscape, however, reigns eternal.
This historic dam has been a landmark in the region for over a century, but it won’t be here much longer. Plan a trip and bring some friends along to see it before it’s gone. It is always an adventure when you’re exploring natural beauty alongside our region’s industrial roots.
For another historic site, check out this
abandoned bridge near Cleveland.