CLE Park Tour: Part 1

One of the best things about having a dog is getting out and enjoying the parks. Before I had a dog it was rare that I would take a walk through the Metroparks. Now, I visit them at least once a week.

Although my dog and I regularly go to Rocky River Reservation and Lakewood Park, I’ve been trying to check out new areas for hikes. Inspired by this list I shared a while back from hikewithyourdog.com of the “50 Best Places to Hike in Northeast Ohio,” I’ve been hitting up more local parks over the last few months. So far I’ve made it through about a third of the list.

From East to West and North to South, here’s my review of the spots I’ve visited so far. (Also, FYI, these descriptions of each park are hikewithyourdog.com’s, not mine.)

Sand Run Metro Park “Best Hike to Meet Other Dogs”

I can’t say that this designation as the “Best Hike to Meet Other Dogs” has been true for me. There are usually a few dogs walking about, but I feel like it’s a more popular park for runners. Probably depends what part of the trail you are on though. Nothing too special about this park, but it’s a nice easy trail if you’re in the area.

Walking buddies. My nephew and Hunter at Sand Run Metro Park.

Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail “Best Rail Trail for Your Dog”

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath has some great scenery, including waterfalls and some great bird watching. It’s especially fun to walk along the tracks of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad on the Penisula part of the trail. Just try to keep your dog far away when the train comes by. Hunter was not a fan of the loud train whistle.

 

Relaxing by the water
Holden Arboretum “Prettiest Hike With Your Dog”
I do agree with this description as “prettiest hike.” As one of the largest arboretums and botanical gardens in the U.S., Holden Arboretum is one of the most beautiful walks you can take with your dog in Northeast Ohio. There’s 13 different trails at the Arboretum, so you can see something different every time you visit. Hunter and I really enjoyed our walk around the Blueberry Pond Trail on our visit.
Hunter enjoys posing in front of park signs.

Squaw Rock Loop – South Chagrin Reservation “Most Historic Hike for Your Dog”

Quick history lesson (since I had to look it up to find out why this was deemed an historic walk) – the outdoor sculpture known as “Squaw Rock” was carved by artist and blacksmith Henry Church in 1885. The story says that Church walked through the Chagrin River at night to create this sculpture. I don’t know that Hunter appreciated the history, but he did enjoy the trail.

 

Hunter the Hiker
Squaw Rock

Fort Hill Trail – Rocky River Reservation “Best Canine Hike to a View”

This takes the prize for my favorite trail. The 1.3 mile Fort Hill trail includes 140 steps that lead to probably one of the best views in Northeast Ohio. Taking a walk on this trail on a beautiful fall day will make you appreciate living in Cleveland. To get to the view, you’ll want to park at the Nature Center (this is in the North Olmsted part of the RR Reservation, in case you didn’t know) and walk past it to the stairs. It’s definitely worth the journey.

One of the best views in CLE
Hunter enjoying the view
I think I might also designate this trail as “Dog Friendliest Trail.” Hunter met a lot of dog friends on our visit and there was even a doggie water fountain outside of the nature center. How great is that?

 

Dog friendly fountain!

What’s your favorite park/trail to take your dog on a walk?