Now that the weather is finally warm, it’s time to head outside and get a little exercise while becoming one with nature. These nine impressive hiking trails around the Cleveland area will help you to do just that:
1. Princess Ledges Nature Preserve
Located in Brunswick Hills, Princess Ledges Nature Preserve is about 35 minutes from downtown Cleveland in Medina County. Gorgeous rock ledges span an impressive 1100 feet. Dense forests make for excellent wildlife sightings. The nature trail is one mile in length; the ledges trail is just over half-a-mile.
2. Holden Arboretum
Located in Willoughby, Holden Arboretum is a natural wonderland in any season. Six hiking trails call Holden Arboretum home, and each has its own distinct views. Wind your way through breathtaking ponds, lakes, and creeks and take in the copious wildlife among mature forests. The trails at Holden Arboretum range from less than 1/4 mile to just over a mile long.
3. Chapin Forest Reservation
Kirtland's Chapin Forest Reservation is part of the Lake Metroparks System. This park in particular is a favorite among families and avid hikers. The trails here feature amazing rock formations and lush forests. Six miles of hiking trails are available, but are broken into smaller, more easily digestible trail excursions that range from half a mile to three miles in length.
4. Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve
Located in Mentor in Lake County, Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve is a favorite among hikers and bird-lovers. The 3/4 mile Kerven Trail winds through thickets, meadows, forests, and wetlands, making way for plenty of opportunity to spot any of dozens of species of birds and other wildlife.
5. Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park (and Nelson Ledges Quarry Park)
Located about an hour east of Cleveland in Garretsville, Nelson Ledges is well known for its unique towering rock structures, making it a favorite place for hikers. The landscape is rugged and distinct; filled with stone structures, lakes, creeks, and dense forests. Four trails are available, ranging from easy beginners paths to more difficult ones for more experienced hikers.
6. Gorge Metro Park
Cuyahoga Falls' Gorge Metro Park is located about 40 minutes south of downtown Cleveland in Cuyahoga Falls. The park offers two trails of varying skill levels. Glens and Gorge trails are each just under two miles apiece. Gorge trail allows hikers to pass through impressive rock formations, while Glens trail winds alongside the river through meadows and wooded forest.
7. Lake Erie Bluffs
Coastal trails wind through the 600-acre Lake Erie Bluffs, which also features a 50-foot observation tower. Guests are invited to climb the tower and take in the sights and sounds of the local wildlife; particularly American bald eagles, which are seen here in great numbers.
8. Shaker Lakes Nature Center Trails
Located in Shaker Heights, two trails call Shaker Lakes Nature home. The first is a 1/3 mile barrier-free path that allows anyone to partake in a nature walk. This path is short and excellent for families with small children. The second path is a one mile trail that passes through marshlands and a bubbling brook. Observation points are available at several points throughout the trail, making viewing the local wildlife simple.
9. North Chagrin Reservation
This Willoughby Hills park is popular among hikers of all abilities. An impressive 13 trails are available; all of which (with the exception of the equestrian trail) are less than five miles in length. Ranging in length from .5 and 4.5 miles, North Chagrin Reservation's trails are ideal for anyone looking for fantastic views. Squire's Castle also calls North Chagrin Reservation home, so visitors are welcome to explore the shell of the caste as well.