The Cleveland Metroparks is a sprawling public park system. Every year, tens of thousands of people enjoy the Cleveland Metroparks system.
A legacy of great Clevelander, Jeptha Wade, the parks system was left to ensure that the whole place wasn’t plowed over and turned into retail parking by the greedy developers. Without this massive endowment, one shudders to think what would have become of the Western Reserve.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is really something to see. It encompasses 33,000 acres and 22 miles that run between Cleveland and Akron. This was once used as a canal system to transport goods between the two towns. In order to make the canal deep enough in which canal boats could pass, a series of “Locks” was constructed. These locks helped man increase the depth of the water by up to nine feet. These have not been used since the early 1900s.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is a running railroad that travels to Akron, Ohio. It runs along the Cuyahoga River and through the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. It is a scenic journey through the heart of the Cuyahoga Valley.
This path provides miles of scenic all-purpose trails that wind along the river, and past the remaining Locks from a time gone by. Be on the lookout for wildlife! A short stroll down the path found ducks nesting, egrets walking through the shallow stream, schools of small fishes, and turtles of all sizes taking in some afternoon sun.
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a trip back in time, and worth an afternoon trip.
Rocky River Reservation
The Rocky River Reservation is one of the largest of Northeast Ohio’s Metroparks. It is also one of the most beautiful.
Visiting the park on a spring day turned out to be a great day to see some early spring views of an area that is very serene, considering just how close it is to a bustling urban area.
You can walk for hours on any of the many nature trails available at the park. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get on a warm day walking through nature. On the day I visited, you could sense the jubilation of people who were getting outside for the first time in many, cold months! The feeling was infectious. It was pure joy to be reveling in nature at the Rocky River Reservation.
See the Amazing Plunk Fish, or rather what remains of it. After all, this creature inhabited North Olmsted over 360 million years ago! This steel-plated fish could eat small sharks.
Mill Stream Run
Information on Mill Stream Run Metropark
The Mill Stream Metropark is home to “The Chalet Recreation Area”
This recreation area always has activities for families of all ages. The Chalet offers hot and cold beverages and concession-style food. The Chalet also has several fireplaces that you will find glowing when they have scheduled events in the autumn and winter.
- Autumn Hayrides. These are offered throughout the month of October on Saturday nights (6-10 PM) and Sunday afternoons (12:00-4 PM). Be sure to arrive early, as the hayrides are quite popular! If you just like to people watch under a harvest moon, this is a great way to spend a Saturday night. No charge to people watch, $5.00-$7.00, children 2 and under are Free.
- Tobogganing. Dry ice keeps these toboggan shoots open throughout the winter months. Gloves are required for every rider. You can pay for one time down, or pay for an entire afternoon of tobogganing fun. Be sure to bring lots of energy with you, you have to carry your own toboggan, and they weigh at least 25 pounds.
- Fitness trails. Like all of Cleveland’s Metroparks, you can find fitness trails for walking and enjoying the great beauty of Ohio in her glory.
- Picnic areas. Enjoy a picnic at the Mill Stream Run Metropark. Covered picnic areas are available by reservation for your next outdoor get-together.
Along with fishing, sledding, and ball fields, this Metropark shouldn’t be missed!
Cleveland Metropark system
The Cleveland Metropark system offers just about everything an outdoor enthusiast could look for all seasons of the year. Offering miles of all-purpose trails, hiking trails, bridle trails, and fitness trails with some of Northeast Ohio’s prettiest scenery it is easy to see why the Metroparks are so popular. Some offer golf, fishing, picnic areas with charcoal grills, and swimming. In the winter, tobogganing and cross country skiing are popular. The Metropark Zoo is also a part of the Metropark system.
Entrance to the parks is free, except for the Zoo and other special events that take place. Some offer gift shops, nature centers, and general history. Like that of Squire’s Castle, located in the South Euclid Reservation, which is rumored to be haunted by Mrs. Squire, who died mysteriously in the gatehouse.
The Cleveland Metroparks is a 14 reservation system that covers over 20,000 acres of land.
The Metropark system is also referred to as the “Emerald Necklace” , and consists of the following Metroparks:
- Hinckley Reservation
- Euclid Creek Reservation
- Rocky River Reservation (South and North)
- Big Creek Reservation
- Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation
- Garfield Park Reservation
- Mill Stream Run Reservation
- Bedford Reservation
- Bradley Woods Reservation
- Brecksville Reservation
- Brookside Reservation
- Huntington Reservation
- North Chagrin Reservation
- South Chagrin Reservation
Metroparks are open daily from 6:00 AM until 11:00 PM.