If there’s one thing that Cleveland is hip to, it’s hiking. We’re not “mountainous,” by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some amazing, undulating-and-craggy hiking spots to explore within (and without) a relatively short drive of Cleveland. To say there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore is an understatement; some are fleet-footed, others challenging. If you have an eye on the wealth of beauty around you, there are hikes for nearly all skill levels to be had.
Cuyahoga Valley Buckeye Trail is but one of many gorgeous hikes to be had in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park system, which stretches nearly 100 miles from its Geauga County origins. And so many amazing offshoots come from the CVNP that you could literally spend weeks exploring: Buttermilk and Blue Hen Falls, Brandywine Falls, the Ledges Trailhead and Overlook and so many others are not to be missed. The Cuyahoga Valley has such amazing scenic views, but can also present challenges. Not everything you’ll encounter is of “strenuous” physical quality, but it is quite likely that your eyes won’t believe themselves. The West Branch State Park eight-mile loop is well worth a trip, too—and not just for hikers. There’s something there for trail runners, mountain bikers and a 2,600-acre reservoir for paddlers to look into here as well.
Here’s a secret: the Hampton Hills Metro Park in Akron—only a short ride away from most of the aforementioned hiking action mentioned here—will give you a beautiful and “demanding” hike if that’s what your heart desires. Not everyone wants a stroll in the park for a hiking trip; you’ll do more than break a sweat with a trip here, even if it isn’t as lengthy as some of the other aforementioned.