The weather here in Northeast Ohio is an unpredictable beast. Every single day brings a different weather pattern, and what we get is often different than what is predicted. As a result, it’s hard to resist the allures of the great outdoors when a sunny day finally graces our region. There are hundreds of miles of trails crisscrossing Greater Cleveland, and many of them are the perfect length to fit into a busy day… even with children. Prepare for fun in the sun, because you just might knock out several of these ten lovely hikes in any given day.
1. Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail: Scranton Flats
Scranton Flats was a name once associated with less-than-desirable conditions here in Cleveland. Today, however, native plants, birds, and other critters have reclaimed the area and transformed it into an urban haven. The Towpath Trail carves through the area, connecting Tremont to the Flats with an easy-to-travel paved path. The trail stretches just over half a mile, and it is estimated to be completed in 2020.
Address: Scranton Road, Cleveland, OH, 44113
2. Wake Robin Boardwalk Trail
Mentor Marsh is positively otherworldly. This gorgeous landscape comprises one of the largest natural marshes on Lake Erie's shore, and its proximity to the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve makes this site an attractive site to nature lovers. Wake Robin Trail, a short and sweet hike through this incredible state park, is one of the park's most famous bird watching sites.
Address: Woodridge Lane, Mentor, OH, 44060
3. Stearns Trail
The 20-acre plot of land at the Shaker Lakes Nature Center is a breathtaking piece of paradise right around the corner from home. This beautiful site brings visitors up close to the marsh, and it also immerses them in the splendor of man-made gardens. The one mile long Stearns Trail takes adventure seekers on a trip through the loveliest portions of the nature center.
Address: 2600 South Park Boulevard, Cleveland, OH, 44120
4. Kendall Lake Loop
Raw beauty surrounds the Virginia Kendall area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Virginia Kendall Park was set aside for locals to enjoy in the 1930s, and it has delighted visitors with its untamed landscape ever since. From the Ritchie Ledges to the area's namesake lake, there's much to love about this coveted local park. Lake Loop is a short one-mile trail that offers an effortless hike through the area, delighting visitors of all ages with its untouchable beauty.
Address: Truxell Road, Peninsula, OH, 44264
5. Hemlock Loop
Along the winding course of Porter Creek is a pretty trail that offers nature lovers a short and sweet trek through serenity. At just under half a mile in length, Hemlock Loop is an effortless hike. This pretty piece of heaven is located in Huntington Reservation just mere steps away from Lake Erie's shore, offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich habitats of Lake Erie's shore-adjacent property.
Address: 28728 Wolf Picnic Area Drive, Bay Village, OH, 44140
6. Mayfield Village Wetlands Trail
The Mayfield Village Wetlands Preserve is an oft-overlooked oasis that has been open to the public since the late 1990s. This 24-acre space is a haven for wildlife, particularly amphibians and insect-loving birds. The one-mile loop trail around the wetland's perimeter will immerse you in the sounds of the wetland without disturbing its song-loving residents.
Address: 425 N Commons Boulevard, Mayfield, OH, 44143
7. Lookout Ridge Loop
West Creek Reservation is overflowing with splendor. This 326-acre reservation hides a multitude of surprises, ranging from rocky gorges to verdant floodplains. Lookout Ridge Trail offers an incredible way to experience this landscape, and it begins with a boardwalk at the edge of the parking lot. At just under a mile, this trail is perfect for a lunchtime getaway or a hike and picnic with the kids.
Address: 2277 West Ridgewood Drive, Parma, OH, 44134
8. Cahoon Creek Loop
Bradley Woods Reservation is amazingly easy to overlook, despite the fact that it boasts an incredible 795-acre campus right off Bradley Road in Westlake. Like much of the surrounding parkland, Bradley Woods includes several abandoned quarries that are intertwined with local history. Visitors love traversing the fairly undisturbed wilderness in the Cahoon Creek portion of the park, as this stretch of natural beauty is downright enchanting in every season.
Address: 4538 Bradley Road, Westlake, OH, 44145
9. Bunns Lake Loop
If you have called this area home since the 1980s, you just might remember the 1986 dedication of Bunns Lake. This lovely pool was dreamed up to create a waterfowl habitat, and it has accomplished just that. Ducks and blue heron alike adore this friendly landscape, and they frequently find themselves in the company of nature lovers and hikers.
Address: White Oak Lane, Westlake, OH, 44145
10. Music Mound Loop Trail
The historic Music Mound is a hill that's long been used for local concerts (and once for
Bereastock, a 1970s music festival that ended in rioting). Locals have long enjoyed the sweet sounds of nature in this area, and Mill Stream Run Reservation now offers an outdoor wonderland just across the street. The Music Mound Picnic Area offers solace in a well-trafficked area, and its namesake 0.3-mile trail offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Address: Baldwin Picnic Area Drive, Berea, OH, 44017
There’s a great deal of natural splendor here in Greater Cleveland, and many of these pretty places offer short and sweet hikes that are perfect for anyone and everyone. Which of these trails is your favorite?