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Take a Walk

A guide to walking spots around Cleveland and beyond.


Written by Jake Ryan





When the stress of the hustle and bustle of life weighs you down, take a walk. As the weather gets nicer and we inch ever closer to the end of the semester, now is the best time to take a moment or two for a nice walk. 


There’s no limit to the benefits of walking. Besides the obvious — keeping you in shape, building up stamina, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke, etc. (Better Health Channel) — there are numerous mental health benefits associated with leisurely strolls. Walking helps alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression, and these benefits are especially apparent when walking in nature. The sight of the trees and animals, leaves rustling, clean air and plenty of vitamin D from the sun all combine together to clear your mind —  if only for a short while.  


First, some friendly reminders/tips that we think you should keep in mind:


  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.

  • If going long distances, make sure to pack some snacks and plenty of water.

  • Ignore the sounds of your own voice coming from the distant woods carried along through the trees on the wind.

  • And of course, wear plenty of sunscreen for those hot, sunny summer days. 

 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a simple walk down the street, but why not something a bit more exciting? If you thought the weather was going to be nicer but then remembered that we live on a lake in the Midwest, you can always try your bad luck at a casino (if you’re old enough, of course). Or, you could head somewhere purposely designed for walking. And hey, since it’s almost the end of the semester, I’ll even throw in some places a bit farther from downtown. Why not take a nice day trip and explore nature? 


"There’s no limit to the benefits of walking."

Places to Go — Cleveland


Bicentennial Park — Cleveland

Let’s start off with a great example of a green space in the city. Bicentennial Park itself isn’t huge for walking — the path around the park isn’t very long — but the open lawn right in the center opens the door to essentially any physical activity you can think of. In addition, being right on the water, you get one of the best views of the city’s skyline anywhere in the area. The park also sees many events throughout the year, so make sure to look ahead and mark your calendar.

 

A picture of the "Cleveland" sign with people laying down in the grass.
North Coast Harbor
Edgewater — Cleveland 

Pretty self-descriptive name. Located directly on Lake Erie, Edgewater is best known for a few things: its view of downtown, the pier and the iconic weeping willow tree at the end of the main trail. At the very least, each offers visitors a perfect photo-op. 



A picture of a walking path along a lake, with the city of Cleveland on the horizon.
Erik Drost

Cuyahoga Valley National Park —Peninsula

Do you know we have a national park in Ohio? I didn’t. Do you also know it’s only 30 minutes outside of the city we call campus? You learn something new everyday. The massive park’s most iconic spot is the railroad track that rises high above the main trail. Oh — it’s also really big. The National Park Foundation puts the total land size at over 33,000 acres, which, for those who may not know, is a lot. 



A picture of a sunny waterfalls overlook.
MSHAKE/Getty Images

Places to Go — Ohio


This next section contains locations within an hour of Downtown Cleveland — out in the sticks, as you city folk may say.  


Walter C. Best — Chardon

Everyone loves a big circle! Well, Walter C. Best in Chardon is a very big circle. Over a mile of circle, to be exact. The main path is split into two sections. The first half takes you through the woods and uphill and the second half takes you down around the large pond in the middle of the park. One more thing: watch out for the geese and keep your eye out for the beaver. He works hard on his dam and deserves recognition. 



A picture of a sunset on a small pond by a bridge.
Jim Marquardt

Thompson Ledges — Thompson

It’s got cool rocks. Need I say more? The titular “ledges” are the unique part of this location. Where most nature trails or parks bring you in a winding path through some trees, Thompson Ledges does the same thing with large rock walls and small caves. If you’re thinking, “doesn’t this place have a beach,” that’s Nelson Ledges — Thompson Ledges' more famous and much larger cousin. 



A picture of a person hiking in the middle of two rocky ledges.
Deborah Platt
Maple Highlands Trail — Geauga County

This is technically a biking trail, but last time I checked, there’s no rules against walking on a biking trail. This is not for beginners, though: from one end to the other this trail is over 20 miles, stretching through the whole of Geauga County. Bring some tough shoes. 



A picture of people walking on a walking path under a covered bridge.
Environmental Design Group

Chapin Forest Reservation — Kirtland 

Depending on who you ask, Chapin’s best feature is either its trails or its overlook. The trails themselves allow for over six miles of deep wood hiking. The main attraction is the aforementioned overlook. The highest point of Chapin leads to a lookout point that allows visitors to see the skyline of downtown Cleveland and even out to the lake on a clear day. 


Observatory Park — Montville

The thing about Observatory Park out in Montville is that, unlike most walking trails or parks, this area is meant to be visited late at night. The wide open area gives visitors a perfect view of a full night sky and its distance from “civilization” means there’s little-to-no light pollution. The path around the park also serves as an astronomy lesson, with each checkpoint of the path representing the planets of our solar system. The distance between each spot is proportional to its actual distance in space. 


Bonus Entry: Mentor Beach Park — Mentor-on-the-Lake Online editors note: I can also vouch for this place.


So technically this isn’t a walking spot, but it is one for the best spots to watch a sunset in Northeast Ohio. Located directly on Lake Erie, a quick trek down some steps leads to a wall of rocks that allows visitors to sit and watch the sun fall beneath the lake. Not many views can top the moment the sun reaches the horizon and reflects off the lake’s surface. 

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