Happy Fall!

During the summer, it’s all about the lake and in the fall it’s all about the Metroparks. Hunter, Roscoe and I love visiting the Metroparks and Cuyahoga Valley National Park for walks when the weather cools off and the leaves start changing colors. A couple years ago I found a list of some of the best dog-friendly trails and made it my goal to go to as many of them as possible. At this point I’ve been to most of them and discovered so many other great ones.

Now I have my own list of favorite dog-friendly trails, which you can check out in this month’s issue of CLE Dog Magazine: https://simplebooklet.com/publish.php?wpKey=n9QrxhQpCw0mtU2WC0QX3L#page=14

And now I have a new favorite spot to add to my list: Rocky River Reservation South, Berea Falls! I have been exploring all of the different spots of Rocky Reservation and drove a little further south on Valley Parkway last weekend. I discovered this beautiful spot and walked around some waterfalls with Hunter and Roscoe.

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Such a great spot to visit in the fall. What are some of your favorite trails to visit?

 

5 Favorite Fall Hikes

Summer may be my favorite season, but fall is my favorite time to hike with my dogs. Not only are the Metroparks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park at their most beautiful, but the temperature is perfect for my fur coat wearing pom. We like to get out as much as possible to enjoy the time before everything is cold and grey.

Here are our five favorite fall walks:

Rocky River Reservation (North Olmsted)

This is still my favorite hike to take with my dogs. The best part of the trail, in my opinion, is back behind the Nature Center in the North Olmstead part of the reservation. There is a long stairway that leads you up to a beautiful view of the metroparks. Fall is one of the best times to go to see all of the beautiful colors from this vantage point.

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Huntington Reservation Hemlock Loop Trail

This trail is located off of Wolf Rd. past the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. The path goes along a small overlook where you can look out on Porter Creek. There’s also a big open space near the trail to hang out with your dog.

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Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation

Really any part of the trail will make a good fall walk, but I came across a portion recently that was really beautiful this time of year near the Leonard Krieger CanalWay Center. This area of the trail has some great views of the valley and the canal.

Furnace Run Metropark

This is a pretty straightforward, flat trail, but it has a pond area as well that makes it a little more interesting walk to take with your dogs and scope out fall foliage. If you are down near Summit County, I recommend checking out this park.

 

CVNP Towpath Trail, Peninsula

For a good fall day out with your dog, I recommend the Towpath Trail near dog-friendly Szalay’s Farm, so you can get your pumpkin picking and a hike in at the same time. Planning a hike and a stop for pumpkins is a fun fall activity to do with your dog.

Pumpkin picking!
Pumpkin picking!

 

What is your favorite fall hike with your dog?

Cleveland Metroparks Dog Friendly Hikes

It’s really hard to imagine spring now, but I’m hoping March gives us a few glimpses into warmer days. One of the things I am looking forward to the most when the weather gets warmer is getting out to different Metroparks and taking the dogs on a hike.

All throughout the year the Cleveland Metroparks hosts a number of dog friendly hikes to get out and explore nature in some of the best parks in Ohio, in my opinion. Here are some upcoming dog hikes hosted by the Metroparks this March and early April. All hikes are led by a Program Leader and are free of charge. Dogs must be on a leash.

March 7 at 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Reservation: North Chagrin Reservation, North Chagrin Nature Center

Terrain Difficulty: uneven, hills 3.5 – 4 miles

March 8 at 10 – 11 a.m.

Reservation: Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation

Terrain Difficulty: paved, hills, 2 miles. Park under the I-480 bridge and walk to Bacci Park and back along the Ohio and Erie Canal with your pup.

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March 21 at 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Reservation: Euclid Creek Reservation

Terrain Difficulty: Moderate, paved, 2 – 2.5 miles

April 4 at 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Reservation: North Chagrin Reservation

Terrain Difficulty: uneven, hills, 3.5 – 4 miles

Check out their events calendar here for more information and other dates: http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/EventsProgramsCalendar.aspx

Also, have you see this cute Cleveland Metroparks & CLE Clothing Co. t-shirt? I love it! (You can order it here: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/BuzzardStore/108.aspx)

dog tshirt

ps – don’t forget to download the “Walk for a Dog” app before you set off on your hikes. The app donates $1 for every mile you walk to the rescue group of your choice. Read more about it here: http://dogsinthecle.com/raise-money-for-local-shelters-just-by-walking-your-dog/

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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?

Dog friendly hiking in the CLE

One of the great things about being a dog owner in Cleveland is the parks. Northeast Ohio parks are not only beautiful, but most are also very dog friendly. Since I’m always looking for something active for my dog to do other than the dog park, I love finding new dog friendly hiking trails.

In my search I came across this book – “Doggin’ Cleveland: The 50 Best Places to Hike with Dog in Northeast Ohio.”  Published in 2008, the book lists the 50 best places to take your dog for a hike and ranks them by hikes available, dog swimming opportunities, and how enjoyable the walk is. Although the book is unfortunately sold out on Amazon, the web site has some great info on dog-friendly parks and hikes throughout the region, including a “Best of the Best” list for the Cleveland area.

According to Doggin’ Cleveland, here some of the best parks/trails in NE Ohio:

DOG-FRIENDLIEST PARK
Towner’s Woods

BEST BEACH TO HIKE WITH YOUR DOG
Lakeshore Reservation

BEST HIKE TO MEET OTHER DOGS
Sand Run Metro Park

BEST 1-HOUR WORKOUT FOR YOUR DOG
Adam Run Trail – Hampton Hills Metro Park

BEST CANINE HIKE TO A WATERFALL
Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Blue Hen Falls/Buttermilk Falls

BEST CANINE HIKE TO A VIEW
Fort Hill Trail – Rocky River Reservation

BEST HIKE TO CIRCLE A LAKE WITH YOUR DOG
Hudson Springs Park

BEST DOGGIE SWIMMING HOLE
Grand River/Paine Creek – Indian Point Park

BEST RAIL TRAIL FOR YOUR DOG
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

BEST PLACE TO HIKE ALL DAY WITH YOUR DOG
Hinckley Reservation

BEST 5-MILE HIKE WITH YOUR DOG
Hemlock Trail/Castle Valley Trail/Squire’s Lane Trail – North Chagrin Reservation

PRETTIEST HIKE WITH YOUR DOG
Holden Arboretum

BEST HALF-HOUR HIKE WITH YOUR DOG
Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park

MOST HISTORIC HIKE FOR YOUR DOG
Squaw Rock Loop – South Chagrin Reservation

BEST HIKE THROUGH MEADOWS
Virginia Kendall Unit- Cuyahoga Valley National Park

PARK YOU WOULD MOST WANT DOGS
ALLOWED WHERE THEY CURRENTLY CAN’T GO
Seiberling Nature Realm

I’ve been to a few of these spots and have made it my goal to check out all of the others. I will report back my experiences, so stay tuned!

What places would you add to the list?

Hunter at his favorite park