Title: Top 5 Hiking Trails in Cuyahoga County to Explore This Spring
Written by Abigail Preiszig
Five hiking trails in Cuyahoga County that are perfect for exploring this spring.
After almost a year of staying home, many are feeling bored in their surroundings. Luckily, spring is inviting us all back outside! This year, explore someplace new without going too far. Here are five hiking trails in Cuyahoga County you should visit this spring:
Bedford Reservation Tinker’s Creek Gorge Overlook - Bedford
Bedford Reservation spans 2,200 acres, offering over 34 miles of biking, hiking and bridle trails. The paved pathways throughout the park are perfect for a relaxing stroll, or — if you are feeling adventurous — the woods have approximately five dirt hiking paths. My favorite place to start or end any hike is at Tinker’s Creek Gorge Overlook, a natural landmark with an expansive view of the budding forest and Tinker’s Creek Gorge. Tinker’s Creek Gorge was declared a national natural landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 1967. This declaration is due to the gorge’s “illustrative character, rarity, diversity, and value to science and education.” The overlook has parking right next to it and is wheelchair-accessible.
Big Creek Reservation Lake to Lake Trail - Berea/ Middleburg Heights
The Lake to Lake Trail is a 2.4-mile paved towpath connecting Lake Abram to Lake Isaac, joining the two largest glacial wetlands in Cuyahoga County. Despite being so close to a busy road and hospital, this is a very relaxing walk. The best part about this trail is the boardwalk going across Lake Abram Marsh — the wetlands look neverendingly beautiful. On the boardwalk, free binoculars are available to provide a closer look across the wetlands; try to spot birds such as the American Woodcock, wild turkey and plenty of waterfowl. At the top of the boardwalk is the coolest playground and dig site, containing a fake Mastodon skeleton, swing sets and slides. When you reach Lake Isaac, there is a short trail loop along the lake. This tree-covered trail is beautiful during any season. In the spring, you will be surrounded by a chorus of spring peepers; and during the summer, the blare of bullfrogs is unmistakable.
West Creek Reservation - Parma
West Creek Reservation offers 326 acres of forest, uplands, wetlands, creeks and abandoned quarries — perfect for bikers, hikers, birdwatchers and more. West Creek is a watershed that naturally drains the surrounding cities of Parma, Seven Hills, Brooklyn Heights, Independence, North Royalton and Broadview Heights into the Cuyahoga River. You can learn about the watershed and watershed stewardship techniques at the Watershed Stewardship Center located on the reservation. The Watershed Stewardship Center is dedicated to scientific research and promoting sustainable action. It is the first center of its kind in the Cleveland Metroparks. The Watershed Stewardship Center offers a plethora of programs and events for grade-school students throughout the summer as well as free interactive, educational exhibits for anyone to experience at any time. Get lost exploring the multitude of terrain available at the reservation and disconnect in a peacefully remote forest! Wheelchair-accessible, paved trails accompany one-way mountain bike trails and dirt pathways. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park in addition to covered pavilions at Monarch Bluff and Keystone Shelter. Bluebird Point is one of the most interesting aspects of this reservation. It is a beautiful meadow serving as a breeding ground for bluebirds, tree swallows, and other cavity-nesting birds. Prior to its restoration, Bluebird Point was a landfill.
Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail - Cleveland/ Tremont
This 1.3-mile towpath will allow you to see Cleveland from a new perspective; however, parking can be intimidating! On the north end of the trail park at Merwin’s Wharf, walk across the bridge on Columbus Rd., and find the trail to your left. On the south end, park under I-90 right across from the Cleveland sign in Tremont and you will find the path right in front of you. The towpath leads you under Hope Memorial Bridge and I-90, along the canal, and throughout the Flats. The fishy smell is not the best, but a beautiful view of the Cleveland skyline makes up for it. The sound of seagulls is unmistakable, and you are sure to see plenty of ducks and geese in the water. This paved towpath is wheelchair-accessible and very popular among runners. It is also a great location to take photos of the city.
Huntington Reservation Porter Creek Trail - Bay Village
Huntington Reservation offers a variety of habitats to explore such as creeks, forests and meadows. At this reservation, enjoy three miles of hiking, spanning over seven trails. It is home to the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, a great place to learn about the nature that surrounds us. The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center is home to Muddy Boots preschool, a wildlife rehabilitation program, and a planetarium. They offer many free and paid events for all ages. General admission to the center is free and if you happen to find injured wildlife, or are unsure of how to approach a wildlife situation The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center is the place to contact. For hiking, Porter Creek Trail is elite. This trail goes along Porter Creek and ends at the entrance to Huntington Beach. At Huntington Beach, you can find access to Lake Erie swimming and kayaking, picturesque picnic locations, and lots of wildlife. Huntington Beach is one of the best places in Cuyahoga County to watch the sun rise or set.
This spring, let’s make daily walks an annual tradition, not just something we do during a lockdown. Take advantage of the natural versatility the Cleveland Metroparks has to offer in just one county, then explore beyond that!
The information used in this article was gathered from https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks