Cleveland January 22, 2019
This Natural Wonders Road Trip Will Show You Cleveland Like You’ve Never Seen It Before
Greater Cleveland is a lovely area, but that’s thanks only in part to the creations of mankind. Our region is naturally stunning and features a small sampling of all of Mother Nature’s finest art projects. Gorgeous and powerful waterfalls, lovely lakeside meadows, enchanting forests, and even a mountain – this area truly has it all. No matter the season, it’s endlessly worthwhile to embark on nature-fueled journeys, and this road trip through Greater Cleveland will leave you inspired to get out and explore.
Prepare for a road trip through natural beauty, because this adventure will leave you inspired for months to come.
for an interactive map with driving directions and exact addresses.
1. Virginia Kendall Ledges, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
As the only national park in the state of Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is bound to be something special. Sure enough, this lovely landscape hides the wonder that is The Ledges, a prehistoric chunk of Sharon Conglomerate that rises up to 30 feet in certain portions. A man-made trail carves through the area, offering visitors 1.8 miles of scenic beauty.
2. Henry Church Rock, South Chagrin Reservation
The Cleveland Metroparks are a gold mine of natural splendor, but the Henry Church Rock is an example of what happens when natural artistry meets the creativity of man. This sculpture was created by its namesake blacksmith in 1885, and nobody is quite sure of what message this work of art is meant to convey. Nonetheless, it's a gorgeous contribution to the surrounding landscape.
3. Gildersleeve Mountain, Kirtland
On clear days, a plateau-like shape rises over The Land. What is it? This landmass is actually a petite mountain known locally as Gildersleeve Mountain, and it peaks at 1,163 feet above sea level. Across its landscape spans Chapin Forest Reservation, a lovely park that is home to various unique native species.
4. Whiskey Island, Cleveland
This peninsula sits at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. The mile of land was reported to be the first piece of solid ground encountered by Moses Cleaveland when he first arrived in what would become his namesake city. Lorenzo Carter, the first permanent settler in Cleveland, built his family farm on the peninsula. Whiskey Island, as we see it today, was formed after the construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal led to the rechanneling of the Cuyahoga River in 1827.
5. Lakeview Park, Lorain
If you take your trek during the winter months, Lakeview Park's gorgeous shore will be lined with stunning ice gardens created by the whipping winds over Lake Erie. In the summertime, you'll be treated to the playful aroma of roses from the nearby garden and you enjoy a pleasant day on the beach.
6. Glacial Grooves, Kelleys Island
At the intersection of Division Street and Titus Road are some glacial markings that have been almost single-handedly fueling eco-tourism at Kelleys Island for decades. These grooves are 400 feet long and 35 feet wide, measuring as deep as 15 feet in certain places. They were formed as glacial debris was dragged across the earth, and today they're the largest and most accessible example of this geological phenomenon in the entire world.
7. Crystal Cave, Put-in-Bay
Hiding 35 feet below the surface of this Lake Erie island is an incredible natural feature that formed as far back as 15,000 years ago. The Crystal Cave at Heineman's Winery is hailed as the largest geode in the world, as it is lined with stunning celestite crystals that are downright otherworldly.
8. The Aquifers of Castalia
Located about seven miles southwest of Cedar Point is an old-timey tourist attraction that once made the town Castalia, Ohio famous: a bright blue pond that's ever-vibrant and seemingly bottomless. The Blue Hole is actually about 45 feet deep and doesn't contain enough oxygen to support a fish population, which limits the amount of natural biological debris created by animal inhabitants and keeps the water incredibly pure. The original Blue Hole, which is actually an aquifer fed by an underground spring, is now closed to the public, but similar pools of sparkling blue water remain open to the public at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery. You can find more details about this quirky destination in our previous feature article
The landscape surrounding Greater Cleveland is truly a treat, and it’s amazing to consider that such a wondrous place is our home. Which of these pretty places is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share photos of your adventures throughout Northeast Ohio on Instagram using
#only.in.cleveland for a chance to see your photos featured!
If you’re a fan of adventure,
you’ll surely adore these frozen waterfalls near Cleveland.