Phone - (330) 722-9364
Website - www.medinacountyparkscom/Pages/Allardale.htm
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Remson Corners; take Exit 3 from I-271 and go south on Ridge Road, SR 94, to Remsen Road. Turn left and travel east to the park entrance on the left, past State Road.
Stanley and Esther Allard donated 125 acres of a three-generation family farm to Medina County in 1992 “so others can enjoy the open spaces, the blue sky, the trees, the flowers, the birds and the hills and valleys that we have loved so much.” In the 1930s Allardale was one of the first farms in Northeast Ohio to practice soil-saving techniques such as contour strip farming and the planting of pines and spruces along steep hillsides. In fact, Stan Allard estimated that he planted over 100,000 trees during his lifetime. Plantings continue apace today and Allardale is considered one of the finest tree farms in Ohio.
Taking your dog around Allardale is like touring your own private estate grounds. A paved half-mile loop is tucked inside a mile-long, mostly grass path that climbs across a meadow to the top of Medina County’s hilliest park and drops through a hardy beech-maple forest to a floodplain finish that is a wonder to behold during spring wildflower season. More blooms can be seen on the Wildflower Trailthat ducks into an airy woods and travels around a shallow stream on a gravel path. Heck, your dog won’t howl in protest if you decide to go round a second time.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Expect to share the Allardale loops with other walkers, often with a dog in tow.
Workout For Your Dog – An easy hour or so in store here
Swimming - The stream gurgles lightly and is an ideal sittin’ and coolin’ off stream but not deep enough for canine aquatics
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are allowed to hike around Allardale and mutt mitts are provided
The east end of Long Island has some of the darkest night skies on the Northeast corridor. The Montauk Observatory, to be housed at Third House, has been designated the first “Dark Sky” park in Suffolk County. The revolutionary 20-inch Meade telescope in the park is the first of its kind deployed in the United States.
Bath Nature Preserve
Phone - None
Website - www.bathtownship.org/Parks%20folder/BNP%20page%20parks.htm
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Bath; from I-77 take I-71 west and exit immediately onto Brecksville Road going south. Make a right on Ira Road to the park entrance on the left at 4160.
Raymond Firestone was the last of Firestone Tire & Rubber Company founder Harvey Firestone’s five sons to serve in active management of the family business. Firestone began in the company after graduation from Princeton in 1933 by pumping gas and became president from 1957 to 1964. Although tires made the family fortune (and landed Ray Firestone on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1961) his abiding passion remained the horses that automobiles displaced in American life. He built a 750-acre farm here for his family and stable of 20 or so retired racehorses that he rode and jumped regularly. After his death in 1994, Bath Township purchased part of the estate after a bond issue and the Bath Nature Preserve was opened to the public in 2001.
Bringing your dog to the former Firestone estate is her chance to be a farm dog for the day. After opening with a romp through wind-swept grassy hills you are enveloped by the trail system that covers more than five miles. From here your options are many but your best play is to chart a course around the perimeter of the 404-acre park. Along the way you will pass a stone-free field stream where your dog can scramble down the banks for a refreshing splash, a low-lying wet pasture known as the Garden Bowl, cool pine groves and climax forests. The trail surface varies from grass to farm road to asphalt. Don’t miss the South Woods Trail where the soft, mossy dirt is about as paw-friendly a path as your dog is ever likely to trot. The hills of the former horse and cattle farm are big enough for a good sled ride but there are also long, flat stretches.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: The North Fork Trail that is the main conduit across the old farm is multi-use and half the trails are, appropriately, bridle trails. Slip away onto the designated hiker-only nature trails for an almost certain solitary ramble with your dog.
Workout For Your Dog – More than an hour of rambling around the farm
Swimming – The park features five ponds but the centrally located Garden Pond is the only one that will host a doggie swim in the warm weather. Ringed with vegetation, access can be iffy
Restrictions On Dogs – Dogs are welcome on these trails
Bogs are freshwater wetlands found in northern glaciated regions that receive more rainfall than they lose through evaporation. The substrate is largely composed of organic peat, usually rainwater fed and low in nutrients. The bog in Bath Nature Preserve is a tamarack bog, populated by deciduous conifers also known as larches that shed their needles each winter. There are very few tamarack bogs remaining in Ohio and this one too may soon disappear. A tree census in the early 2000s found only six surviving tamaracks and a preponderance of invasive red maples that signal the acceleration of the bog into a woodland.
Phone - (216) 635-3200
Website - www.clemetparks.com/visit/index.asp?action=rdetails&reservations_id=1000
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Bedford; the park is situated between I-77 to the west and I-480/271 to the east. Exit I-77 onto Pleasant Valley Road east to Dunham Road and turn left to the park office past Tinkers Creek. From I-480/271 exit onto SR 14 east and turn right on Alexander Road to Dunham Road. Turn right and same.
Bedford Reservation harbors Tinkers Creek Gorge where the stream ends its 30-mile journey to the Cuyahoga River by plunging a dramatic 220 feet over a course of two miles. The energetic water has gouged a steep, walled gorge that was inaccessible to homesteading or logging, securing its preservation as a unique natural area. The United States Park Service recognized as such and declared Tinkers Creek Gorge a National Natural Landmark in 1968. The stream is named after Joseph Tinker, the principal boatman for General Moses Clevealand’s survey crew, who died in a boating accident on a return trip to New England.
The canine hiking in Bedford Reservation is among the most spectacular in the Emerald Necklace. To fully experience Tinkers Creek Gorge you will need to go many miles on the Buckeye Trailand the park Bridle Trailif you want to create a loop of several hours duration. Experienced trail dogs only need apply. For less adventurous dogs there are options to the attractions of Tinkers Gorge. The paved All-Purpose Trailtravels along the rim, mostly flat and mostly shaded and affords views into the wooded chasm. In the east end of the reservation the Viaduct Park Loop Trailtours a mid-1800s stone viaduct and the powerful Great Falls of Tinker’s Creek spilling over cracked ledges. Travel to the west end of the gorge and the Hemlock Loop Trailis an easy romp for any dog. There aren’t many hemlocks but the route does allow fun splashing in the creek. For a likely solitary outing with your dog check out the woods along Sagamore Creek. The loop here is an easy 90-minutes circling and tagging the stream several times.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Most of these trails allow horses but are not crowded velow the gorge rim.
Workout For Your Dog – You can check off the short trails in the park in a little more than an hour but most outings will be more like a half-day
Swimming - Tinker’s Creek is either too lively or too shallow to make it a prime doggie swimming hole
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are permitted to hike throughout Bedford Reservation
In 1806 Stephen Frazee left Pennsylvania for Connecticut’s Western Reserve. He prospered enough to buy 600 acres on the Ohio & Erie Canal. In 1826 Frazee built a state-of-the-art two-story brick house on the frontier that would not have been out of place with the fancy houses on the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia. Still standing in the southwestern end of the park, the Frazee House was built from bricks made on site and locally milled lumber.
Phone - (216) 635-3200
Website - www.clemetparks.com/visit/index.asp?action=rdetails&reservations_id=1006
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Brecksville; on SR 82, east from I-77 and west from I-271.
When the last glaciers retreated from Ohio they left seven distinct ravines in this area that was one of the first open spaces acquired after the establishment of Cleveland Metroparks in 1917. By the time the Harriet Keeler Memorial Shelter House (Keeler was a long-time educator in the Cleveland public school system and nature enthusiast) opened in 1929 the park already sported a 5.5-mile bridle path, a one-mile nature trail, three baseball diamonds, two boys’ summer camps, ten miles of foot trails, and two swimming pools. The federal Civilian Conservation Corps set up camp here in 1935 and worked on trail construction and the rustic Brecksville Nature Center. Today, Brecksville Reservation is the largest of the 17-park Cleveland Metropark system with over 3,400 acres.
Hills and forests are the attraction for canine hikers at Brecksville and the best route to lap up plenty of both is on the four-mile Deer Lick Cave Loop Trail. This canine hike is conducted almost exclusively on wide, groomed carriage paths that roll up and down but seldom oppressively. The journey exceeds the destination here, although the sandstone overhang that forms the cave is not without interest. This stretch of the trail was the final leg completed in 1980 after more than twenty years building the Buckeye Trailthat circles Ohio. The park features more than 16 miles of the Buckeye Trail. Shorter loops are available to explore the ridges and streams that percolate the ravines. The Hemlock Loop Trailwanders under cool eastern hemlocks clinging to the Chippewa Creek Gorge and the paved Prairie Loop Trailintroduces your dog to a tallgrass prairie.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Many of the footpaths are shared with horses but you can find long stretches of solitude at Brecksville
Workout For Your Dog – Many hours of roaming up and down these hills
Swimming - Your dog will come across many streams and tiny waterfalls but probably won’t find any deep enough for anything more than a refreshing splash
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are allowed on the trails across the park
Standing outside the Nature Center is a pyramidal conifer - a dawn redwood. The dawn redwood has been called “a living fossil” because it was long considered extinct until discovered in Japan in 1941. Several years later a stand was found growing in the wild in China. Today only one known dawn redwood forest is known to exist, located in China and fiercely protected with only about 5,000 individual trees. It was introduced to the United States and Europe around 1948 with only a handful of individuals.
Cascade Valley Park
Phone - (330) 865-8060
Website - www.summitmetroparksorg/ParksAndTrails/CascadeValleySouth.aspx
Admission Fee - None
Directions - Akron; from SR 8 exit at Tallmadge Avenue. Go west for one mile to Cuyahoga Street. Turn right and the Chuckery entrance will be 3/4 mile on the right; the Oxbow area another 1/4 mile on the right and the Schumacher Valley Area further along on the left.
Akron was founded by Simon Perkins on the new Ohio & Erie Canal in 1825. In 1833, Dr. Eliakim Crosby, a one-time Connecticut schoolteacher and Army surgeon during the War of 1812, started a town just to north after building the Cascade Race, a waterway that powered mills and businesses along the canal. He called the town Cascade but the locals called it north Akron and it was absorbed into Akron three years later. Next Crosby set his sights on the Cuyahoga River, buying up land to build a manufacturing center that he claimed would rival the most prosperous of New England. This new waterway, the Chuckery Race, filled in 1844 but financial reversals doomed the project. Dr. Crosby moved on to Wisconsin where he would die in 1854 at the age of 75. Traces of the historic Chuckery Race can still be seen in the park. In the late 1970s, Metro Parks and the City of Akron developed a plan to transform 1,500 acres of land in the Cuyahoga River and Little Cuyahoga River valleys into a unique urban park called Cascade Valley with seven activity areas.
Your dog can get a different hiking experience from each of the Cascade Valley activity areas. Oxbow and Chuckery brings the twisting Cuyahoga River into play from each side. Oxbow is primarily a recreational destination but serves up a wooded mile with a valley overlook thrown in. The sledding hill here makes this a popular spot in winter as well. Chuckery is more of a hiking spot for your dog with an hour ramble on a wide path that traces the Cuyahoga as it makes one of its sharper turns. If you want to make it an afternoon with your dog here, the Chuckery Trail links to the Highbridge Trail that leads to Gorge Metro Park 3.2 miles away. Steps in each area ease the harder climbs but there is nothing here that will wipe the wag off your dog’s tail. The Schumacher Valley Area, donated by descendants of German emigrant Ferdinand Schumacher, Akron’s “Oatmeal King,” is billed by the Park District as the “wildest terrain within the City of Akron.” Indeed, these quiet woods harbor a quick descent into a steep-cut peninsula carved by tributaries of the Cuyahoga River. A slower, more gradual ascent closes the 1.2-mile loop that will sap the energy of the most energetic dog. As is the want in Cascade Valley Park, the Schumacher Trail can serve as a stand-alone canine hike or a warm-up for the 2.8-mile Valley Link that crosses the Cuyahoga River to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and even Sand Run Metro Park.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: The Schumacher Valley Area is the place to go to enjoy the woods alone with your dog although the trails get less play than the ballfields in the other areas. The Chuckery Trail can be used by cross-country skiers.
Workout For Your Dog – Up to an hour in any one Cascade Valley area or you can stay all day
Swimming - There is dog paddling afoot in the Cuyahoga River
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome to hike the trails but stay off the ballfields
A magnificent bur oak with branches spreading like a three-pronged fork stands int he Chuckery Area. The oak has been called the Indian Signal Tree since the early 1800s. It is believed the tree was manipulated into this unusal shape when it was small, by Indians who were known to do this to mark their trails.
Chapin Forest Reservation
Phone - (440) 256-3810
Website - www.lakemetroparks.com/select-park/chapin.shtml
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Kirtland; take Exit 193 from I-90 and head south on SR 306, Chillicothe Road. The main park entrance is on the right at 10090 after crossing Eagle Road. An alternate entrance can be reached by continuing to Chardon Road, making a right and another right on Hobart Road.
When this land of glacier-formed ledges and towering forests was threatened with logging after World War II, Frederic H. Chapin purchased 390 acres and turned it over to the the State of Ohio. The park is especially popular during the winter when nordic skiers gather at the Pine Lodge Ski Center to take advantage of the groomed trails, fireplace and amenities. Storms blowing across Lake Erie clip the elevated ledges here and begin dropping the snow for which this part of Northeast Ohio is famous.
Chapin Forest serves up more than five miles of trails to hike with your dog, mostly on the blue blazes of the Buckeye Trail that follows a serpentine route across the park. The most dramatic scenery under the majestic climax forest are among the ledges and rock outcroppings of Sharon conglomerate but these paths are restricted and open only to guided walks, which are scheduled regularly throughout the year. First time visitors to Chapin Forest will want to take dogs on the 1.5-mile Lucky Stone Loop. Like most of the trails that wind through the mature woods, this wide path is formed from compacted stone and fine gravel and mostly paw-friendly. After a moderate, tongue-wagging climb to the top of the ledges the Lucky Stone rolls merrily along. The highlight comes at a break in the trees where the view on a clear day reaches all the way to Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline about 18 miles away. There is no finer overlook in Northeast Ohio. There are other half-hour canine hiking loops at either end of the park. You can also take your dog on any combination of small loops off the Buckeye Trail that acts as a spine to the mostly linear trail system. However you craft your dog’s hiking day in Chapin Forest Reservation, you will be in no hurry to leave.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Bikes and horses are permitted only when snow is not on the ground but generally you will not find much competition for these trails
Workout For Your Dog – Plenty of trail time for your dog
Swimming - There is easy access for a doggie dip at Quarry Pond and the Twin Ponds at Pine Lodge can be entered from grassy banks
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome throughout Chapin Forest Reservation
The Stories In the Stone Trailis a short loop around Quarry Pond that operated in the early 1800s, extracting Berea sandstone. Stone blocks from this quarry were hauled by wagon two miles north to lay the foundation for Kirtland Temple, the first temple built by the Church of Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith, latter-day prophet and founder of the Mormons, was quarry foreman from 1833 to 1836.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Happy Days
Phone - (216) 524-1497
Website - www.nps.gov/cuva/
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Peninsula; from I-80 take Exit 180 and go south on SR 8. Turn right on SR 303 West to the parking lot one mile on the right.
Cleveland coal baron and industrialist Hayward Kendall acquired this property in the early 1900s to use as a hunting retreat. Upon his death in 1927 the property transferred to his wife, Agnes, with the stipulation that it would eventually become a park named in honor of his mother, Virginia. Agnes Kendall was not interested in the property and turned it over to the State in 1929. During the Depression of the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps was based in Virginia Kendall Park constructing trails and building the rustic Happy Days lodge for urban children. The buildings were designed to harmonize with the natural patterns of the land using locally quarried sandstone and wormy chestnut.
The primary trail system runs south from the Visitor Center, highlighted by a mile-long band of 30-foot sandstone ledges. The Ledges Trailcircles the rock formations on a wide footpath that doesn’t require the crazy passages emblematic of some of its area cousins, making this trail suitable for any level of canine hiker. Spur trails climb to the nooks and crannies and the top of the ledges, often with stone stepStill there are drop-offs here so rein in a rambunctious dog. You can also tkae your dog around a trio of easy loops that dip into a verdant creek valley and tour fragrant pine woods. The national park trails continue across Truxell Road to the Salt Runand Lake trails. The Lake Trailis a gentle trip around Kendall Lake on a wide, wooded path. Head towards the dam area for the easiest access for your dog to get a swim. Athletic dogs will welcome the chance to challenge the hills of the Salt Run Trail. Steps buried in the slope ease the ascents but this trot is sure to set your dog to panting. These pretty woods serve up long views with little understory from a paw-friendly dirt trail. A short cut-off slices the 3.2-mile loop in half but chances are your dog won’t vote to take it. If you park in the Virginia Kendall Unit your dog will reach these hikes on mown grass trails across enchanting hills. Your dog will love these hills as much as the sledders after a snowfall.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Trail maps are available, complete with distances. Signposts can be counted on to deliver you to the right trail at intersections.
Workout For Your Dog – Many hours to a full day of trail time
Swimming - Kendall Lake fills the bill nicely
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome on this diverse set of hikes
The park ledges are cut in the Sharon Conglomerate, formed from small pebbles rubbed round by continual tumbling in the fastmoving primeval streams from 320 million years ago. The pebbles―almost all made of quartz washed down from Canada―are known as “lucky stones.”
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Hunt Farm
Phone - (216) 524-1497
Website - www.nps.gov/cuva/
Admission Fee - None
Directions - Cuyahoga Falls; on Bolanz Road about 3/10 of a mile west of Akron-Peninsula Road and 1/10 of a mile east of Riverview Road. O’Neil Woods is on the west side of the river on Martin Road, south of Ira Road. Hampton Hills is on the east side of the river east of Akron-Peninsula Road. Both are south of Hunt Farm.
In 1974 Congress created the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area as an urban park for the national park system, knitting together local parks and farmsteads that peppered the riverscape. Hunt Farm retains the feel of the small family farm with agricultural exhibits. Hearby, two such farms have been donated in the park for public use, both owned and administered by Summit County MetroParks. O’Neil Woods was once the cattle farm of William O’Neil, founder of General Tire and Rubber Company. The 162 acres of woods and ravines in Hampton Hills served as farmland for a succession of families dating to the early 1800s.
The Deer Run Trailthrough O’Neil Woods is two completely different hikes on one two-mile loop trail. The north side of West Beth Road (this hike requires two road crossings with your dog) tackles a steep hill, including a LONG staircase on the east side of the loop. Depending on your preference for stair-climbing take the loop counterclock-wise to go up the stairs and down the natural slope or clockwise to take the wooden stairs going down. Across the road the trail flattens out and meanders beside the stream, crosses meadows and sweeps past an alder swamp. The trail system at Hampton Hills is a stacked loop that climbs steadily up a ravine cut by Adam Run Stream and its tributaries. The full loop on the Adam Run Trailcovers 3.2 miles or you can opt to take your dog on the 1.6-mile Spring Hollow Trailsampler. The wide, dirt path makes a super hiking surface for your dog and the woodlands are fetching (look for a pine grove planted by the Girl Scouts when the park was opened in 1968) but Adams Run is not an attractive stream. The downed trees clogging the waterways won’t concern your dog, however - he’ll give this ramble high marks.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: No bikes or horses allowed on these trails and there is enough climbing that casual walkers don’t come here
Workout For Your Dog – Allow at least one hour in either O’Neil Woods or Hampton Hills
Swimming - There is plenty of access to streams but more for cooling off than swimming
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are allowed on these trails; there is a grassy area for a game of fetch at the Hampton Hills parking lot
Today the Top O’ the World area off the Adam Run Trailis an open grassy area ideal for a game of fetch or to wander through the fields admiring the wildflowers and bluebird boxes. But to many, there is a sinister undercurrent coursing through the peaceful meadows. Visitors to Top O’ the World have reported being chased by a spectral black figure thought to be the ghost of a deranged farmer who killed his family in the farmhouse that stood here until the early 2000s or the protector of an old Indian burial ground. So if your dog’s ears perk up for no apparent reason here, take heed.
Gorge Metro Park
Phone - (330) 867-5511
Website - www.summitmetroparks.org/ParksAndTrails/Gorge.aspx
Admission Fee – None
Directions – Cuyahoga Falls; west of SR 8. Exit onto Howe Road and turn right on Front Street. Cross the river and park in the lot on the left.
Local hardware store owner L.W. Loomis was the first to realize the power of the Cuyahoga River to lure tourists. In 1877 he began construction of open-air dance pavilions, low-swinging suspension bridges, boardwalks, skating rinks and a soon-to-be famous roller coaster for his new High Bridge Glens Park. The amusement center opened in 1882 and soon 60 trainloads and trolley cars of tourists were arriving daily. The hiking trail at that time led into the gorge crossed the river and headed back out the other side. Hikers also had the option of returning on the water via a somewhat harrying ride on a raft attached to guidewires. The amusement park operated for more than 30 years until the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company constructed a dam at the Cuyahoga Falls that flooded part of the grounds and desecrated the scenery. In 1930 the utility company donated 144 acres for today’s park.
The marquee trail in the park is the Gorge Trail that loops through the valley above the spillwater from the 57-foot high Ohio Edison dam. This is an easy 1.8-mile round trip conducted on two levels. The highlight of the upper segment comes when your dog picks her way through a maze of jumbled rock ledges. Trail signs label this stretch as “difficult” and a bypass is offered but there is nothing here your dog can’t handle. In fact, stone steps have been cut into the most troublesome passages. The lower path meanders along the top of the gorge, affording views of the lively Cuyahoga River below. The clifftops are unprotected, however, and a fall here will not be pretty. A wooden staircase leads back out of the gorge. This entire hike is leafy and shady for your dog. Two other trails are available at Gorge Metro; across Front Street the Glens Trail hugs the widening Cuyahoga River for nearly two miles and on the south side of the waterway the Highbridge Trail connects to Cascade Valley Metro Park 3.2 miles away.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Foot traffic only and it can get busy, especially on the trail to the deck overlooking the dam
Workout For Your Dog – This gorge won't bring your dog to her knees
Swimming - Along the Gorge Trail your dog can slip into the Cuyahoga River above the dam but keep close to shore; the swimming is easier from the Glens Trail
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are allowed on the trails; look for a little stone drinking bowl with faucet on the Gorge Trail
In 1757, 10-year old Mary Campbell, “red-haired and much freckled,” was abducted by Delaware Indians in Cumberland County in central Pennsylvania. Her captors transported her hundreds of miles west where she was adopted into the tribe by Chief
Netawatwees. Although little is documented about Mary Campbell’s life, she thus became the first white child to live in the Western Reserve beyond Pennsylvania. She lived for a time in an overhanging ledge cave at the Falls of the Cuyahoga River, along today’s Gorge Trail. She would be reunited with her family in 1764 as part of a peace treaty during the French and Indian War. Although reportedly sad to leave the Delawares, Mary Campbell married and lived in western Pennsylvania until her death in 1801.
Phone - (216) 635-3200
Website - www.clemetparks.com/visit/index.asp?action=rdetails&reservations_id=1011
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Hinckley; from I-77 take Exit 145 and head south on Brecksville Road, SR 21. Go west on SR 303 and turn left on Slate Road. To reach the park office make the next right on Bellus Road.
In divvying up the Western Reserve among the original land speculators who bought it from the State of Connecticut, this land fell Judge Samuel Hinckley, of Northampton, Massachusetts. Before dying in 1840 the judge became wealthy selling off his vast Ohio land holdings. One of those buyers was Robert Whipp who came from England in 1824 to graze cattle. He became a butcher and eventually acquired more than 2000 acres here. He became so rich that his second wife, many dec-ades his junior, enlisted the help of her brother and another man to murder old man Whipp. The burly Englishman fought off his attackers. When he died in 1890 - of natural causes - his land was sold to pay debts. Much of it has been reassembled for Hinckley Reservation that spans more than 2,600 acres.
Just about anything your trail dog desires is on the menu at Hinckley Reservation. For an easy warm-up there is an hour trip around Hinckley Lake, either on the paved multi-purpose trail or, better yet, on the clay-based Hinckley Lake Loop Trail. The water is in view less than half the time, however, but your dog can slip into the lake for a swim on the east side and at the boathouse. Two separate sets of ledges and cliffs are standout attractions in the park. A short climb to one of the highest points in Northeast Ohio will bring you to the base of Whipp’s Ledges where your dog can easily scale the 50-foot high rock cliffs. Keep control of your dog as you cross the top of the ledges that feature sheer, unprotected unprotected drop-offs. In the southern end of the reservation your dog can wander the mossy Wordens Ledges with rock carvings of religious symbols. Athletic dogs will want to sign on for the hill-and-ravine trails of Hinckley’s western section. These wide, wooded trails are seldom exhausting and frequently enjoyable.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Horses share most of the trails in the western hills, where the foot traffic thins out away from the lake
Workout For Your Dog – Many hours to a full day
Swimming - The streams in the park are suitable only for splashing but Hinckley Lake can be accessed for dog paddling
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are permitted on all 25+ miles of trails
Every year on March 15 thousands of buzzards, or turkey vultures, return from their winter stomping grounds in the southern United States and points beyond to set up housekeeping in Hinckley Reservation. Why they come is a mystery. Local legend dates the phenomenon to scavenging the remnants of the Great Hinckley Hunt of 1818 to rid settlers of predators to their livestock. Naturalists point to the perfect nesting site in the park with abundant water, ample room to lay eggs on the rocky ledges above the lake, and open fields and nearby tall trees giving rise to the thermals on which the birds soar. Since 1957 the birds’ return has been celebrated and today is marked in the park by the East Coast Vulture Festival.
Phone - (440) 946-4400
Website - www.holdenarb.org/
Admission Fee - Free for members;per person fee for visitors
Directions – Kirtland; take Exit 193 from I-90 and head south on SR 306. Turn left on SR 615 and right on Kirtland-Chardon Road.
Cross Booth Road and turn left into the park on Sperry Road.
Albert Fairchild Holden was born in 1866, the third of Delia Bulkley and Liberty Holden’s nine children. His mother was instrumental in founding the Cleveland School of Art, which later became the Cleveland Institute of Art. His father made a fortune in the silver mines of Utah and was the owner of Cleveland’s major newspaper, The Plain Dealer. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in Mining Engineering in 1888, Holden joined his father in the silver fields of Utah. He later bought the family mines and organized the United States Mining Company to consolidate his expanding interests. Soon he was smelting more ore than anyone in the country and founded the Island Creek Coal Company in West Virginia to keep his furnaces stoked. Albert Holden died of cancer in 1913. An avid botanist, he planned to endow the Arnold Arboretum at his alma mater as a memorial to his 12-year old daughter who passed five years earlier but his sister Roberta Holden Bole convinced him that Northeast Ohio deserved a first-class arboretum of its own. Thus was eventually born Holden Arboretum on 100 acres donated by Mrs. Bole in 1931. Today’s “tree museum” has grown into one of the world’s largest, with 6,000 varieties of plants and trees spread over 3,446 acres.
Most formal arboreta do not welcome dogs so it is a rare treat to be able to bring your dog to these trails. There are more than a dozen here, ranging from garden strolls to meadow romps to mature woodland hikes. The trails curve pleasingly among the plantings, often visiting the edges of ponds. Energetic dogs will want to push to the park’s extremities on the sporty Pierson Creek Loop and Bole Woods Trail that explores a stunning beech-maple forest, designated a National Natural Landmark. In the southern region the Conifer collection is a spectacle of evergreen wonder any month of the year. You may be distracted by the beauty of the place and not notice as you hike but your dog can get quite a workout in Holden Arboretum, with several hundred feet of elevation changes.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Foot traffic only and the crowds thin considerably the deeper you penetrate the collections
Workout For Your Dog – As little or much as your dog wants - it would take two days to fully explore Holden’s collections
Swimming - This is not a place for swimming and fetching but no one will object if your dog slips into one of the 26 man-made ponds on the grounds to cool off on a hot day
Restrictions On Dogs - The park brochure proclaims that “We Love Dogs” and indeed your trail dog is allowed across the arboretum, save in the Holden Wildflower Garden. Mutt mitts are provided.
The Layer Rhodedendron Garden Trailwas long home to two oaks that were growing before George Washington was born. A gnarly 375-year old white oak can still be seen seen on the edge of Oak Pond but a 275-year old red oak toppled in 2007. Woodcarver Dan Sammon spent five days with chainsaw and torch to create “The Guardians of the Garden” in the base and trunk of the fallen giant.
James H. Barrow Field Station
Phone - (724) 295-3570
Website – admission.hiram.edu/learn/barrow.html
Admission Fee – None
Directions - Hiram; from the college at the intersection of SR 82 and SR 305, go east on SR 305, East Wakefield Road. After 1.5 miles turn right on Wheeler Road to the Field Station on the right.
Hiram College was founded by Christian Church members in 1850 as Western Reserve Eclectic Institute. James A. Garfield, 20th U.S. president, was a student, English teacher, and, in 1857–60, principal of the institute. The school became Hiram College in 1867. James H. Barrow, Chairman of the Biology Department and long-time gardening enthusiast, established the Field Station in 1967 to provide Hiram College students with the opportunity to supplement classroom activities with hands-on learning experiences. The buildings, animals, and natural areas of the field station’s 360 acres, including over 200 acres of beech-maple climax forest, are maintained entirely by students.
It won’t take more than a few bounds down the county lane-like opening to these hikes for your dog to realize he is in for a special treat. Unlike the wide, groomed pathways that dominate most of the Cleveland-area reservations the Field Station loops travel on traditional, pick-your-way hiking trails. In the dense forest your dog will delight in the anticipation of what’s up ahead around the next turn. There are two stacked loop trails under the leafy canopy, the 3.7-mile North Loop, marked in yellow, and the 2.4-mile South Loop, marked in green. There are just enough bumps and rolls to keep things interesting for your dog as the routes eventually wind down to meandering streams deep enough for your dog to find a cool swimming hole. Although the forest is dominated by maple trees (actively tapped for sugaring), a diverse woodland community is identified by wooden signs. A short Flood Plain Trail and Old Field Loop on mown grass paths impart further education here.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Unless you run into a class or field trip, expect a mostly solitary journey with your dog. Bikes, horses and motorized vehicles are forbidden.
Workout For Your Dog – An hour or more of rambling available here
Swimming - The wide streams provide plenty of splashing and pool deep enough for dog paddling
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome to enjoy these lively trails
Without question, the greatest tree in America prior to 1900 was the chestnut. Rot resistant with fine-grained wood, the chestnut tree supported both vibrant wildlife populations and entire rural economies. It was estimated that one in every four trees in the eastern forests was a chestnut tree - some as old as 600 years. But in 1904 an Asian fungus was discovered in the Bronx Zoo in New York and the blight soon decimated the chestnut population. By 1950 millions of acres of woodlands were left with dead, standing trees. The chestnut blight remains 100% fatal - young chestnuts may reach 20 or 30 feet but are doomed to succumb to the disease.A specimen of this original prince of the American forest can be seen along the South Loop.
Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park
Phone - (440) 564-2279
Website - www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/tabid/775/Default.aspx
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Garrettsville; northeast of town on Nelson Ledge Road (SR 282), north of SR 305 and south of US 422.
Retreating glaciers covered much of the prehistoric Ohio seabed with soil and rock but the formations at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges remained exposed. At the mercy of eroding winds and ice the sandstone cliffs have fissured and surrendered giant slump blocks of rock. In 1940 the State of Ohio began acquiring land in the area and in 1949 the park was created to protect the one-of-a-kind landscape.
Your dog’s hiking day here will be confined entirely to the Ledges that run north-south in a confined area that is bracketed by waterfalls at either end. Four color-coded trails fan out from the same trailhead opposite the south end of the parking lot. Following the prescribed routes can be difficult and it will take a few false turns before you get used to picking up the trail blazes. Or you can also disregard the trails altogether and let your dog investigate the rock formations and slot canyons as she will. The Yellow Trail is the only one of the quartet that heads north, poking through slender passages at the base of the cliff wall on its way to Cascade Falls that plunge across a vertical rock face. Gold Hunter’s Cave under the falls was the site of a brief and fruitless gold rush in the 1870s. The southbound trails each offer a unique Ledge experience. The easy-going White Trail ascends to the top of the Ledges and morphs into a traditional woodland canine hike. It climaxes at two-tiered Minnehaha Falls where Sylvan Creek slides into a twisting canyon. The Blue Trail traverses the front of the Ledges and is the best route to view their striking natural beauty. Several species of ferns cling to the ledgess and the cool, moist rocks breed spectacular wildflowers such as the rare red trillium in spring. Adventurous dogs will want to challenge the Red Trail that descends imaginatively into the heart of the Ledges. Don’t be ashamed to turn back trying to follow your dog’s wagging tail into seemingly impossible passages like Fat Man’s Peril and the Squeeze. Eventually you pop out in the dark chill of the Devil’s Icebox.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Foot traffic only to pick through these boulders
Workout For Your Dog – Allow more than one hour to fully explore the Ledges
Swimming - Some splashing available in Sylvan Creek in the Devil’s Icebox
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are allowed to test these rock passages
The ledges in Northeast Ohio are composed of a sedimentary rock known as puddingstone in which white speckles of quartz have cemented together over millions of years. Mixed with it is a combination of other pebbles and stones of various sizes, shapes and colors that give it a vague resemblance to old-style, chunky Christmas pudding. Some may even contain tiny fossils from ancient river beds, swept down from Canada. Your dog will find easy trotting on the good-gripping puddingstone that makes a fine
ornamental stone when cut and polished properly.
North Chagrin Reservation
Phone - (216) 635-3200
Website - www.clemetparks.com/visit/index.asp?action=rdetails&reservations_id=1002
Admission Fee - None
Directions - Willoughby Hills; from I-90 exit onto SR 91, SOM Center Road. Parking lots are available on both sides of the road. To reach Squires Castle go east on SR 6, Chardon Road and south on SR 174, River Road East.
Feargus Bowden Squire came from England and went into the oil business by partnering with John Teagle to form Teagle & Squire in 1865. In 1876 the company was swallowed by John Rockefeller and Standard Oil. Squire became a vice-president and was one of America’s richest men by the time he retired in 1909. Squire became enchanted with the mature forests of Willoughby Hills and planned to build a grand estate. By the 1890s he had erected a magnificent turreted gatehouse in the style of an English country manor. But that was it. Nothing more was ever built. After Squire’s death the family sold his estate to become the keystone for North Chagrin Reservation. A number of smaller farm properties were appropriated through eminent domain until the new park totaled nearly 1,200 acres, forming a rectangle roughly five miles in perimeter along the Chagrin River’s western bank. Today the reservation encompasses over 2,100 acres.
Ironically, the shell of Squire’s Castle is the lasting legacy of F.B. Squire’s life in most people’s minds rather than his work in building Standard Oil into the world’s largest business. The gatehouse never provided entry to a great estate but it does serve as the gateway to a great trail system. Step out the backdoor with your dog and you are greeted by wide, compacted gravel paths that sweep into a ravine decorated by a climax beech-maple forest. The A.B. Williams Memorial Woods was lovingly tended by the park’s first naturalist and is a National Natural Landmark. The Castle Valley Trailrambles across the hills to connect with the Overlook Trailthat descends into the heart of the forest, terminating at a valley overlook. A detour leads to a virgin stand of white pines southwest of the castle. Loop variations are endless in North Chagrin with connector trails and the Bridle Trailthat clocks in at over 10 miles. The Hemlock Trail, for instance, can serve as a stand-alone canine hike, a loop with the bridle trail or a circumnavigation of the park with the Castle Valley Trailand Squire’s Lane Trail. It skirts unguarded clifftops but the ravines in the park are more rounded than instant-drop-to-your-dog’s-death walls. In the southwest corner of the park the Buttermilk Falls Loopis a quiet leg-stretcher for your dog through light, second-growth woods with a stop at a cascading falls.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is a busy park and the wide, clean trails and varied terrain are especially attractive to runners
Workout For Your Dog – Many hours available for your dog on these trails
Swimming - While not a swimming dog’s idea of paradise there are many opportunites to find a splash and cool off
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome to use these trails
Arthur Baldwin Williams was the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District’s first naturalist. He encouraged the establishment of a trailside nature center in North Chagrin. When it opened in 1931 it was considered the first facility of its kind in the country. The Nature Center overlooks Sanctuary Marsh, one of the best places in the world to see and photograph wood ducks. The Wood Duck Festival is celebrated every October.
Sand Run Metro Park
Phone - (330) 865-8060
Website - www.summitmetroparks.org/ParksAndTrails/SandRun.aspx
Admission Fee - None
Directions - Akron; exit I-77 at Miller Road and head east. Follow Miller Road until it dead-ends into Sand Run parkway. Turn right and cross Revere Road into park.
The Portage Path that runs through Sand Run Metro park was the primary Indian trail between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers for crossing from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. In 1785 the Fort McIntosh treaty set the western boundary of the new United States as the Cuyahoga River. That boundary persisted through the six years of Indian wars, and in 1796 the Cuyahoga River and the Portage Path Western boundary was again accepted. It would not be until 1811 and the Battle of Tippecanoe that the lands in Ohio west of the Cuyahoga and Portage Path started to be absorbed by the United States. Opened to the public in 1929, Sand Run Metro Park was the first public park in Summit County. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of its shelters and other park structures during the 1930s.
The flat Parkway Jogging Trailthat snakes along Sand Run for six miles is the most popular trail in Summit County, averaging more than 1,000 users a day year-round. Although hard by the Sand Run Parkway, this shady, hard-packed path does hold some charm for canine hikers. Athletic dogs will want to head straight for the middle of Sand Run West and tackle the 1.8-mile Dogwood Trailthat ducks into the woods and plows straight up a hill to a high grassy ridge. General Elijah Wadsworth used this ridge as a lookout during the War of 1812 when he camped in the present-day Old Portage Area of the park. Your dog’s purchase for his exertion is a descent through a spooky ravine where trees clinging tenuously to slopes appear ready to fall around you. This route probably doesn’t receive 1,000 trail users in a month. A happy medium for dog owners is the Mingo Trailthat circles Sand Run Stream for 3.3 miles, staying under majestic hardwoods much of the time and delivering an hour of spirited canine hiking.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is the most-visited park in Akron but steer to the Mingo Trail and Dogwood Trail for quiet time with your dog
Workout For Your Dog – Several hours available for your trail dog here
Swimming - Depending on when you visit, Sand Run Stream can be a diverting little flow or a torrent battling against its stone banks
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are allowed on the trails across the park
A unique feature of the park is a ford crossing, where Sand Run meanders across Sand Run Parkway and drivers can take their vehicles right through the water. Of course, the ford closes in rainy weather.
South Chagrin Reservation
Phone - (216) 635-3200
Website - www.clemetparks.com/visit/index.asp?action=rdetails&reservations_id=1015
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Chagrin Falls; from I-271 take Exit 26 East, Rockside Road, that becomes Cannon Road. After crossing US 422, turn left on Harper Road and right on Hawthorne Parkway into the park.
The Chagrin River that dominates the park was designated a State Scenic River in 1979. It is the only scenic river where the majority of its length is located within corporation limits. The river’s name probably comes down from the local Erie Indian word for clear water - shagarin. The first settler in this area was Serenus Burnet who brought his wife and little son to the west banks of the Chagrin in 1815. Not many others followed until the 1830s when James Griffith founded a village with a saw-mill and quarry to extract Berea sandstone. Griffithsburgh faded away but the quarry prospered. In 1877 the Chagrin Falls & Southern Railroad built a spur line to move even more rock. Finally in 1930 Cleveland Metroparks purchased this area and it has been quietly healing scars ever since.
South Chagrin serves up a panoply of short and mid-range hiking opportunites with your dog. The must-do routes here are down by the river where the Squaw Rock Loop Traildrops into the gorge, passes waterfalls run-ning over shale ledges and visits the rock carvings of Henry Church. Staircases take you in and out of the ravine but count on the footing for paws being wet and slippery. Across the river, the Squirrel Loop Trailslips cautiously above the water under rock ledge sentinels. This route is for calm, well-behaved dogs only as steep drop-offs are unfenced. To close this loop you will need to take your dog along lightly traveled, but shoulderless Chagrin River Road. The northern strip of park that hosts the polo fields is laced with flat, paw-friendly dirt trails. A real treat for your dog is a stroll on the Sweetgum Loop Trailthrough the park arboretum, one of the finest public tree museums of its ilk.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: The hiking trails are likely to yield patches of solitude; runners favor the Polo Field trails
Workout For Your Dog – Any outing will last at least one hour with many possible
Swimming - There is access to the river in spots; Quarry Rock Picnic Area is a good one
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome to hike in South Chagrin Reservation
In 1885 when he was nearing the age of 50, Henry Church began stealing minutes from his blacksmith shop in Chagrin Falls to go down to the river and work on a bas-relief rock carving. Self-taught, Church sculpted a quiver of arrows, a dog, a life-size female nude encircled by a snake and other allegorical figures into the sides of a 30-foot high chunk of Berea sandstone. He called his carving “The Rape of the Indian Tribes by the White Man.” Today it is known as Squaw Rock. Church would be celebrated after his death as a primitive folk artist but could not gain recognition during his lifetime. The local Chagrin Falls cemetery refused to allow his carved tombstone - a massive lion with glass eyes - to grace his final resting place. Officials finally relented and the sculpture was placed over Church’s grave after his death in 1908.
Swine Creek Reservation
Phone - (440) 286-9516
Website - www.co.geauga.oh.us/departments/park_district/swine_creek.htm
Admission Fee - None
Directions - Hayes Corners; at 16004 Hayes Road, two miles south of SR 87, east of the intersection with SR 528.
Swine Creek Reservation began life as a massive 1,200-acre hunting preserve owned by Windsor Ford of Mesopotamia. In 1977 he sold 268 acres to Geauga County which included a pond and a lodge. Thirty acres are set aside as an active sugarbush and on “Sap’s-A-Risin!” Sundays throughout March, the history of maple sugaring is displayed and demonstrated.
More than six miles of trails in Swine Creek Reservation explore yawning ravines in an airy mixed pine and hardwood forest. The best way to start rambling with your dog is on the the Wagon Trailfrom which many of the shortish trails link as it completes its .8-mile loop. This wide, compacted gravel path provides superior trotting for your dog. Well-worn natural single track drops down slopes cut by branches of the Swine Creek flowing into the mother stream. The Valley Trailis one of the hilliest while the Squaw Root Trailskirts the top of the ravine from behind the park lodge while visiting an aromatic pine plantation. You’ll experience firsthand the namesake brown rock of the Siltstone Trailas you rock-hop across streams. Your dog‘s four-paw drive will have no trouble but two-legged crossers need to take care on these slippery stones in the water. The Gray Fox Trail the park’s longest loop at 1.2 miles and penetrates the heart of the leafy understory in the beech-maple forest that supplies sap for the Sugarhouse. These woods are agreeable enough that you will want to spend the afternoon checking off all 11 short trails in Swine Creek Reservation. Additional trail time can be had off Swine Creek Road on property abandoned by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Here the Razorback Trailbrings Swine Creek into play for your dog and spends time in open meadows.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: You may encounter a trail user or two who has wandered away from the picnic shelters but seldom enough to make it seem like this is not your own private woods. The Wagon Trail is multi-use; the others hiker-only.
Workout For Your Dog – Less than one hour to a half-day.
Swimming – Two fishing ponds, one at each end of the Y-shaped main parking lot, will get your water-loving dog’s ears to perk up.
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome to enjoy these trails
As you hike with your dog along the wide, leafy road/trails of Swine Creek you will probably be thinking, “This is what it must have been like to ride horse-drawn landaus, hansom cabs, and surries in the 1800s.” In fact, Swine Creek Reservation is one of the sites used by the Western Reserve Carriage Association to roll out their antique horse-drawn vehicles. Horse-drawn wagon rides are offered on some weekends in the summer and fall so you may chance to be transported back over 100 years while enjoying a day out with your dog here.
Phone - (330) 297-7728
Website - www.portageparkdistrict.org/
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Ravenna; from SR 44 take SR 59 west in the center of town. Turn right on Brady Lake Road and follow to Ravenna Road on the right. Cross the railroad tracks and turn right into the park.
From about 200 BC to AD 500, the Ohio River Valley was a focal point of the prehistoric Hopewell culture. These peoples were known for building impressive earthen mounds that were used for burials and ceremonies. Often times the tribal elders lived atop the mounds. Many mounds remain in Ohio, mostly in the southern part of the state but you can view one in Towner’s Woods on the shore of Lake Pippen. In 1932 an excavation of the mound took place and 11 skeletal remains were reported to have been uncovered, along with beads and other artifacts. One of the remains was rumored to be those of an Indian princess. With European settlement came clearing of this land for pasturing and George B. Towner opened sand and gravel pits were here. In 1973 Portage County purchased land from the Towner and Bringham families to create its first park. Structures in the 175-acre park, including gazebos, benches and several picnic shelters, were constructed from recycled railroad materials.
Towner’s Woods used to be a true paradise for dog owners where dogs could hike under voice control - a park for dogs, not a dogpark. That ended on February 23, 2006 when off-leash prohibitions were enacted in the park. Still, there is plenty for your dog to love in Towner’s Woods. There are many short trail options and rolling hills to keep your dog alert for things to check out. The understory is skimpy so your dog will get long views through the woods. Along the Lakeside Trailthose views include fingers of Lake Pippen. Your dog will be tempted to bound down the hillside into the water but Lake Pippen is Akron City property and off limits. A rusty wire fence will dissuade any canine thoughts to the contrary. In Towner’s Woods your dog will be trotting happily down soft paths, wide enough to understand why thes trails are highly favored by Nordic skiers in the winter.Towner’s Woods is also a jumping on point for the Portage Hike/Bike Trail that will one day wind 32 miles throughout Portage County. For now, canine hikers can travel several miles between Ravenna and Kent on this flat, often shady clay-and-limestone path.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Expect to find plenty of other trail users - many with a dog or two at the heel - in Towner’s Woods
Workout For Your Dog – An hour of rambling in these wooded hills
Swimming - Nope, hiking only in the woods
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome in Towner’s Woods and a water bowl can usually be found at the base of the old railroad switch tower beside the parking lot
The mottled brown American Woodcock is a long-time favorite of birdwatchers who cherish its unique courtship display. In springtime, at dusk, males arrive at “singing grounds” and begin flying in upward spiraling circles before swooping back to earth where they herald their flights in song. Woodcocks require four habitats in close proximity: feeding cover, nesting cover, roosting areas and open ground for courtship. The Butterfly Trailand meadows in Towner’s Woods provide just such a place.
West Branch State Park
Phone - (330) 296-3239
Website - www.dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/795/default.aspx
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Ravenna; east of town on Rock Spring Road, south of SR 5 from SR 59.
The abundance of salt in this area attracted a rich bounty of wildlife that was harvested by early Delaware Indians who called the river draining the region “mahonink,” meaning “at the salt lick.” European settlers rapidly built industry along the Mahoning River. At the West Branch, one of the Mahoning’s main tributaries, the Flood Control Act of 1958 author-ized the construction of the Michael J. Kirwan Dam and Reservoir as one of 16 flood control projects in the Pittsburgh District. Since its completion in 1965, the 83-foot high earth-filled Kirwan Dam has prevented flood damages estimated to be in excess of $488 million. The park opened the following year in 1966. Today, all sizes and types of watercraft are found boating on the reservoir - from cruisers and runabouts of unlimited horsepower, many with skiers in tow, to small fishing boats and canoes plying the coves and inlets in search of fish.
As much fun as there is on the water, your trail dog can find just as much on land. A series of wooded hiking loops connect to the campground on the north shore. The best of the lot is the Wild Black Cherrytrail that rolls in and out of ravines as it hugs the lakeshore where your dog can find a way in for a swim. A satisfying one-hour canine hike from the campground can be stitched together with the Deer Run Trailand Club Moss Trail, natural paths all in the park’s “No Hunting Zone.” Ambitious canine hikers will want to test the 8-mile loop of the Buckeye Trailthat traverses the western end of the reservoir. Dog owners can also take advantage of 12 miles of mountain bike trails on the south shore that were originally developed as snowmobile trails. Over the years they have morphed into dipping and dropping single track. Rocks play a bigger role on these trails than on the north side, glacial till mostly. The Rock Gorge Trailis a highlight here, descending into a gorge with a flowing creek below and several very rocky sections. Lake views abound. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains a nature trail, Little Jewel Run, located in the vicinity of the dam’s outflow. In addition, there are also snowmobile, cross-country skiing and bridle trails available in West Branch State Park.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is one of the closest legal mountain bike systems to the City of Cleveland that is accessed by Cable Line Road on the south side of the lake. But trail users are few and far between.
Workout For Your Dog - A few hours to a full day of hiking here
Swimming - Absolutely - more than 3,000 acres of water when the reservoir is full
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are welcome to hike the trails and stay in the campground
Absent from Ohio since 1904, wild turkeys, the state’s largest upland game bird, was reintroduced during the 1950s and 1960s from birds trapped in other states with thriving populations. The largest turkey populations are in southern Ohio but there are flocks in West Branch State Park. You can chance to spot large, brownish birds (toms can grow as tall as four feet and weigh up to 24 pounds) at the edge of a woodland foraging for acorns, grubs and insects.
The West Woods
Phone - (440) 286-9516
Website - www.geaugaparkdistrict.org/parks/westwoods.shtml
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Russell Township; on the south side of SR 87, 1.9 miles east of SR 306.
These dark woods and sheltered rock outcroppings have long propagated rumors. Runaway slaves were hidden here on the Underground Railroad. Civil War soldiers sought refuge under the ledges. Bootleggers operated illegal stills in the hollows. Homesteading in the late 1800s began to tame the wild lands and in 1933 W. H. Eisenman acquired 600 acres here as a retreat and place for maple sugaring. He eventually gave land here for his American Society for Materials headquarters. The park began to take shape in the 1990s with donations and purchases by Geauga County. The 910 acres became The West Woods from an 1885 story by Albert Gallatin Riddle, a lawyer who took up writing in 1873 at the age of 57. Riddle’s The Young Sugar Makers of The West Woods takes place in the area of this maple-beech forest.
The marquee canine hike among seven miles of trail in this Geauga County showcase park is Ansel’s Cave Trail, named for Ansel Savage, an early 19th century settler from Massachusetts who may have squatted in the recesses of the sandstone ledges before obtaining land just to the west. This journey is conducted completely under tall straight hardwoods on wide, compacted stone paths. The trail moves easily up and across a ridge before dropping through a hemlock grove to the fanciful rock formations around Ansel’s Cave. The full round trip covers 1.5 miles. For more extended hiking with your dog the Pioneer Bridle Trailcircles the wetlands and woodlands of Silver Creek for 2.7 miles. You can check out the horse trailer parking lot at the entrance on the way in to see if it is a busy horse day before setting out. Save some time for the short, paved interpretive trails around the Nature Center where your dog can cool down from the longer trails.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Shady wooded trails trhoughout
Workout For Your Dog – An hour of moving up and down these splendid woodlands
Swimming - The cold water Silver Creek is mostly deep enough only for trout
Restrictions On Dogs - Dogs are allowed to enjoy these wooded trails and a pet hitching post is even provided if you want to visit the state-of-the art Nature Center
A geodesic dome is an almost spherical structure based on a network of intersecting circles (geodesics) lying approximately on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics form triangular elements that produce rigidity and distribute the stress across the entire
structure. It is the only man-made structure that becomes proportionally stronger as it increases in size. A short spur from the ’s Cave Trail leads to the grounds of the American Society for Materials headquarters where your dog can view a massive,
open geodesic dome - the world’s 13th largest - created by its inventor, Buckminster Fuller.