A visit Cleveland’s Metro parks (outdoor fun, adventure and gorgeous landscapes)
Throughout the Cleveland metro area are the metro parks which are some of the most wonderful natural spaces filled with trails, lakes, waterfalls and outdoor recreation for locals and visitors to enjoy the park system. There are over 16 parks and reservations throughout the Cleveland metro area and the park systems are widely used by locals and visitors to the area. This “Emerald necklace” as the parks are called unofficially also includes the zoo, nature centers, golf courses and plenty of picnic and camping areas.
Let me take you on a tour of some of my favorite parks and reservations along the Emerald Necklace.
A brief history of the Cleveland Metro parks region
The parks system of the Cleveland Metro Parks is a well loved systems of public parks around the Cleveland metro area. The parks system circling and connecting all of Cleveland’s streams, rivers and open areas where designed by famous landscape architect, the Olmstead Brothers. They created new land acquisitions and parkway that surrounds Cleveland, increasing the landmass to 21,000 acres today. This collection of parkways have become the number one visited attraction in Ohio.
The oldest park system in Ohio, Cleveland Metro Parks was started initially in 1917. With the start of land donations given through the Rocky River Valley, the parks system grew and expanded through some of the scenic areas of Cleveland with forests, lakes and rivers and the natural rocky environment of Northern Ohio. The conservation of natural land and resources and development into parks and reservations used for outdoor activities, recreation and learning opportunities.
Over 100 years of dedication and conservation has created the Emerald necklace of 16 parks and recreation areas for the public to enjoy and participate in outdoor activity, sport and recreation.
Chagrin falls and town
In a pleasant drive from downtown Cleveland, this attractive community boasts a river and gorgeous waterfall that cuts right through the center of town. Originally an industrial town that hosted sawmills, paper mills and a variety of businesses that took advantage of the river and falls, the area has become more gentrified with designer shops, galleries and boutiques along with fantastic casual and fine dining choices. For more images and highlights to Chagrin falls, check out my recent post here.
Everything is colorful and freshly presented like a perfect postcard
Check out more beautiful images and details to visiting the Chagrin Falls below
Located in one of the newest national parks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park which is just south of the Cleveland downtown area. A wonderful park with nature trail that leads to Brandywine Falls. The paved and wooden platform/staircases are relatively easy to walk through and more industrious individuals can find more routes that lead directly to the bottom of the falls to explore the gorge below. Also located within the same park are the Buttermilk Falls and Blue Hen Falls.
Check out the gorgeous waterfalls in the Cleveland Metro parks area
Wildflowers in bloom
Hiking In the Cleveland Metro Parks
With so many stunning trails and hikes to do with fantastic viewpoints, waterfalls and nature, you’ll be in awe with all the hikes you can do here in the metro parks area. With over a hundred hiking trails to explore, you’ll see so many natural features and connect with nature even in this busy metropolis area.
Check out these five best hikes to do in the Metro parks area below
Mill Creek Falls
Just south of the Cleveland Metropolitan downtown area is Mill Creek Falls which is also called the Cataract falls of Mill Creek. The river surrounding the falls supplied a power plant to a local hospital that is now closed. From the parking lot, you take a trail to a wooden observation deck that is right next to the falls. There doesn’t seem to be a way to easily get into the gorge and riverbed, but the views of the falls and landscape are adequate for taking photographs and enjoying nature just within the city limits.
Lake Medina within the city limits is actually a reservoir used by the city to supplement its water supply. There are many trails surrounding the lake and connecting with a new trail directly to Reagan parkway. Most of the trails around the lake are flat and relatively easy to hike through. Fishing is a popular sport here and the reservoir is stocked with local catfish, Walleye and a variety of Bass.
As Cleveland’s number one attraction, it is relatively easy to find some open parkways especially with rivers and waterfalls. After spending some time in the metro area, it is relatively easy to find nature and beautiful landscapes in the nearby parks or reservations of the Cleveland Metro park system.
Here’s a quick flyover video of Lake Medina and the surrounding area
One of the outdoorsy venues that is popular with families and adventure enthusiasts is Hinckley Reservation with all outdoor trails and a paved pathway that circles all the way around Hinckley Lake area.
One of the most popular areas to explore is the Whipps Ledges which are these sandstone formations that formed a long time ago when Ohio was a vast ocean area and the sandstone broke up with fast moving water that cut into the sandstone and creating these beautiful formations. You can climb up and explore this fascinating area and coming here in Fall time is truly a stunning experience.
Check out the highlights to visiting Hinckley reservation in this video tour below
Further reading and topics in Ohio
Conclusion for visiting the Cleveland Metro Parks
Thanks for dropping by on a visit to the Cleveland Metro parks. If you enjoyed the post, please share it with any of the social media buttons listed around the post, thank you. Oh, today is also Travel Photo Mondays, so go ahead and check out the other bloggers linking today below, I’m sure they would appreciate your visit too!