Cleveland May 04, 2022
Here’s The Ultimate Bucket List For Clevelanders Who Are Obsessed With Nature
For more than a century, Cleveland has been known as Forest City. While this nickname is known to originate from Alexis de Tocqueville’s
, its attachment to Cleveland is something of a mystery. We know that it’s the city’s oldest nickname, however, with the nickname being in regular use by 1860. Today, the verdant tree-lined streets of Greater Cleveland keep it feeling relevant. In fact, all of Northeast Ohio boasts a significant amount of forest. This area is a nature lover’s playground, and there are enough local places of interest to embark on a Greater Cleveland nature bucket list. Are you ready to immerse yourself in natural splendor? The following are some of Cleveland’s most unique natural attractions: Democracy in America
1. A.B. Williams Memorial Woods
A B Williams Memorial Woods, Mayfield, OH 44143, USA
Tucked away in North Chagrin Reservation is an old-growth forest with massive trees that predate the founding of this country. The
A.B. Williams Memorial Woods
was the first old-growth beech forest to be studied by the Cleveland Metroparks, and it still dazzles visitors with its beauty today. The trees were old back when it was first studied in the 1930s... but nowadays, some of the trees are
old. Some specimens are estimated to be around 400 years old or so... meaning that some of these trees started sprouting before the
2. Mill Creek Falls
Mill Creek Falls, Mill Creek Trail, Cleveland, OH 44105, USA
No Cleveland nature bucket list is complete without a visit to the area's largest waterfall.
Mill Creek Falls
is tucked away in an urban neighborhood, hiding in Garfield Park Reservation. At 48 feet in height and boasting a massive crest, this waterfall is one of the last things you might expect to see off Broadway Avenue. Believe it or not, this waterfall is actually made via a partnership with mankind and nature. Back in the day, the waters of Mill Creek were diverted by a railroad company to their current location. Mother Nature artfully draped its cascades over local stone, and... well, the result was downright magnificent. As the tallest waterfall in Cuyahoga County, this landmark dazzles to this day.
3. Princess Ledges Nature Preserve
Princess Ledges Nature Preserve, 4361 Spruce Ave, Brunswick, OH 44212, USA
Princess Ledges Nature Preserve
is a true hidden gem. Located off of Pearl Road in a fast-developing portion of Brunswick, this natural landscape has amazingly survived the city's expansion. At only 46 acres, Princess Ledges is a teeny tiny little park, but it has a history that's almost unbelievable. It was
developed, once upon a time, but its sandstone cliffs made development nearly impossible. Thousands of years before that, these cliffs actually marked the ancient shoreline of Lake Erie. Today, the lake is miles away, but you can still spot evidence of its transformative power carved into the local geomorphology.
4. The Blue Hole at Castalia State Fish Hatchery
Castalia State Fish Hatchery, 7018 Homegardner Rd, Castalia, OH 44824, USA
This landmark is located a little bit outside of Greater Cleveland but, boy is it worth a visit. Believe it or not, this photo is totally unaltered. There's no filter giving the water that Caribbean-blue hue... it's
. This spot is known as a
, and ponds like this were once believed to be bottomless. It doesn't have enough oxygen to support fish or other aquatic critters, and its color actually comes from the clarity of the water and the color of the sandstone beneath it. A nearby Blue Hole was once the hottest tourist attraction of the 1920s, but that one is now closed to the public. However, locals can still soak up the beauty of this unusual natural element at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery. It's well worth a visit!
5. Rocky River Reservation
Rocky River Reservation, Valley Pkwy, North Olmsted, OH 44070, USA
Rocky River Reservation is one of the most coveted landscapes in the Cleveland Metroparks district. It is well known for its incredible hiking trails, but many locals don't realize that they're walking along an ancient place of interest. Many millions of years ago, this area was covered by an ancient ocean. In fact, all of Ohio was... and the fact that local stone was formed during the Devonian Period is exactly why dinosaur fossils aren't found in the Buckeye State today. Instead of 60-some million-year-old dinosaur fossils, local shale deposits hide
fossils. In 1928, local paleontologists found
hiding in these shale cliffs. This school bus-sized armored fish is one of many species found in an unusual state of preservation... and its discovery (and later ones found during the construction of Interstate 71 in the 1960s) established Ohio as the best place to find late-Devonian fish fossils in the world. When you hike through Rocky River Reservation, you may be strolling past massive ancient fish that once ruled the planet's waters.
6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Brandywine Falls, Sagamore Hills Township, OH 44067, USA
At 32,572 acres in size,
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
(CVNP) is undeniably the best place for Northeast Ohio nature lovers to spend time. Pictured here is Brandywine Falls, one of several incredible cascades that infuses the local landscape with movement and sound. As the only national park in Ohio, CVNP is a must-see addition to any Greater Cleveland nature bucket list adventure. Lakes, streams, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, forests... you name it, and this park has it.
7. Oenslager Nature Center
Oenslager Nature Center, 6100 Ridge Rd, Wadsworth, OH 44281, USA
Oenslager Nature Center
, formerly known as Wolf Creek Environmental Center, is a real natural gem hiding in Sharon Center. It is home to the Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary, a 248-acre former farm that now has roughly three miles of trails awaiting exploration. With a wetland, pine forest, and so much more, the local landscape of this magnificent park feels downright enchanted. You won't believe that this ecologically diverse landscape was once home to a dairy farm!
8. The Holden Arboretum
The Holden Arboretum, 9550 Sperry Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094, USA
This Kirtland-area living museum is a true treat to experience.
The Holden Arboretum
has some 3,500 acres in its campus, including oodles of thoughtfully curated gardens and unique tree specimens. In addition to incredible natural features, this park also has an impressive slew of artwork decorating its landscape. With local art, a canopy walk, a tower with incredible views, and so much more, it feels like there's an endless amount of beauty in this one expansive landscape. There's so much to see, in fact, that the arboretum offers tram tours to show visitors its most impressive highlights.
9. Chapin Forest Reservation
Chapin Forest Reservation, 9938 Chillicothe Rd. (Rt, 306, Kirtland, OH 44094, USA
While you're in Kirtland, you might want to budget time to visit Chapin Forest Reservation. Believe it or not, this incredible local park sits on Greater Cleveland's only mountain... and you might not even
it's a mountain!
is a tiny geological feature sitting just 18 miles away from Downtown Cleveland. It sits 1,163 feet above sea level, and its peak offers a stunning view of the Cleveland skyline on particularly clear days. A hike across this coveted landscape is a true treat for nature lovers!
This Greater Cleveland nature bucket list is sure to immerse you in natural wonder. Which of these spots in nature is your favorite? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Want to take another virtual road trip? Treat yourself to a trip through time when you explore some of
the most unusual moments in Cleveland’s history. Address: A B Williams Memorial Woods, Mayfield, OH 44143, USA Address: Mill Creek Falls, Mill Creek Trail, Cleveland, OH 44105, USA Address: Princess Ledges Nature Preserve, 4361 Spruce Ave, Brunswick, OH 44212, USA Address: Castalia State Fish Hatchery, 7018 Homegardner Rd, Castalia, OH 44824, USA Address: Rocky River Reservation, Valley Pkwy, North Olmsted, OH 44070, USA Address: Brandywine Falls, Sagamore Hills Township, OH 44067, USA Address: Oenslager Nature Center, 6100 Ridge Rd, Wadsworth, OH 44281, USA Address: The Holden Arboretum, 9550 Sperry Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094, USA Address: Chapin Forest Reservation, 9938 Chillicothe Rd. (Rt, 306, Kirtland, OH 44094, USA