Great Outdoor Destinations and Events in ClevelandMichelle McQuade | June 2, 2017
Cleveland is a wonderful place to call home. It offers fantastic employment opportunities, tons of urban amenities and a diverse culture that’s reflected in the metro’s many facets.
On top of all these, Cleveland offers something that can’t be found in most other bustling cosmopolitans – the great, unspoiled outdoors waiting just minutes away from the busiest city streets.
Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township are home to at least 18 reservations encompassing almost 23,000 acres of pure natural beauty. You will find lakes, forests, wetlands, and other natural features showcasing beautiful landscapes that change with the seasons.
And you can do more in these places than simply enjoy the view. There are dozens of activities you can do, including fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and so much more.
Here are just a few of Cleveland’s outdoor destinations and events that you must check out:
- 1. South Chagrin Reservation
Only 29 minutes away from Cleveland via the I-480 E, the historical South Chagrin Reservation features miles of trails through hemlock forests and sandstone ledges, with the Chagrin River lining its eastern border. Along the trail are creeks, ravines, and historical sites and features, such as the Henry Church Rock outdoor sculpture, the Look About Lodge – a log cabin built in 1938, and the old Boy Scout Camp.
- 2. The Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation
A mere six miles away from Cleveland, the reservation follows part of the historic Ohio and Erie Canal. The canal cuts through the villages found in Cuyahoga Heights, Valley View, and others. It encompasses both the industrial valley and preservation areas along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath, offering up close encounters with history and nature. The reservation includes picnic facilities, hiking and biking trails, and opportunities for fishing, wildlife viewing, and more.
- 3. Huntington Reservation
Found along the shores of Lake Erie in Bay Village, this reservation is popular for its Blue Wave Certified Beach, with elevated picnic areas providing stunning views of the lake. In addition to this, the area boasts year-round fishing opportunities and three miles of trails going through forests, meadows, and creeks. It is also the site of the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center and BAYarts.
- 4. Spring Bird Walks – North Chagrin Reservation
Cleveland’s annual Spring Bird Walks is a must-experience for all nature lovers. Led by experienced birders, the walk will take you to the perfect vantage points within the North Chagrin Reservation where you can watch migrant birds on their way to their summer breeding grounds. The North Chagrin Reservation is also home to woodland and wetland habitats, trails, historical sites, and picnic areas.
- 5. “Try It” fly fishing sessions at the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation
If you haven’t caught the fly fishing bug yet, this is a great way to start. Open to anyone who’s at least 10 years old and meets other eligibility requirements, these sessions will give you the chance to discover the joys of fly fishing under the tutelage of a professionally trained staff. During the hour-long session, you’ll have the opportunity to cast both on land and in the canal without a fishing license required.
- 6. Extreme Hiking at Brecksville Reservation
This monthly hiking event is open to anyone who meets eligibility requirements. Led by a professionally trained staff, the hike is an exhilarating experience, as you pass through Brecksville Reservation, the largest of Cleveland Metroparks’ 18 reservations. The rugged area features oak-hickory forests and Chippewa Creek’s floodplains, filled with cottonwoods, sycamores, and willows. It also boasts seven stunning gorges where rare and endangered plants thrive.