If you like to hike, one of the best parks in the Cleveland area is the Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation, which is also the home of Squire’s Castle. North Chagrin reservation has the odd distinction of crossing over and being part of three different towns, Mayfield Village, Willoughby Hills, and Gates Mills. It is a very large park that follows the path of the Chagrin River.
The park is a lovely place to picnic, stroll, or walk your dog, but it also has several trails of different lengths and levels of difficulty. If you are a horse owner, there are bridle trails clearly delineated for riding.
You can enter the park from several different entrance points, but if you have never been there before, it is a good idea to go to the Nature Center first and get a map. Inside the Nature Center is an information desk, a children’s area, and often an art exhibit, or a nature exhibit. There is also a very nice gift shop, EarthWords. If you do not want to walk too far, or have small children, there are plenty of areas to visit just in and around the Nature Center that you can take a stroller or wheelchair.
For walkers, hikers, and runners, it is best to go to one of the outlying trails. Some are loop trails that circle back to the beginning, while others go from one end of the park to the other. That is why it is best to have a map. It is not difficult to get lost if you haven’t been there in a while, and the trails do cross each other.
At the northern end of the North Chagrin Reservation is Squire’s Castle which was supposedly the gatehouse for the estate belonging to F. B. Squire, but the estate never was built. The Castle is just a shell, but it is used for many things including senior cut days, camp outings, haunted tours, and weddings. There is a huge field and picnic area by Squire’s Castle.
The North Chagrin Reservation is beautiful during all four seasons, but especially in the spring and fall when the plant life is changing. In the summer, the park is a cool place to walk, because the woods are much cooler than walking in the sun and humidity. Trails are marked both on the map and on the trees, along with trail markers at the beginning and the end of each trail. Park workers keep the trails in excellent condition, but still, you should wear the right footwear for dirt and mud.
Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation is a peaceful oasis in a big city like Cleveland. Definitely a place to go see for the nature lovers.
You can download the map below, but it might take a minute or two because it is a big file. For more information, call 440-449-0511.