Blue Hen Falls is a small but stunningly beautiful waterfall, barely a half-mile from the parking lot trailhead off Boston Mills Road. If you stop at the falls, gawk at its glory, and then turn around and return to your car, that's OK - you can say you've been for a hike. In fact, that's probably enough of a hike for families with young children, folks with unhappy knees, or couch potatoes just relearning the art of more strenuous activity.
But below Blue Hen Falls a much larger adventure awaits. Follow the uneven sandstone path further down and you'll find - after quite a few twists and turns, and very possibly a few slips along the way (bring your best balance and wear seriously sturdy footgear) - the bigger, badder Buttermilk Falls below.
In spite of its steepness, the path to Buttermilk Falls is reasonably accessible to nimble, if inexperienced, hikers.
What Makes It Great
During the warmer months, hikers who are willing to get their feet really wet can frolic in the pool at the bottom of the falls, where crayfish play hide-and-seek in the cool and shady shallows. Smart families will pack a hearty snack to enjoy down there, perched on the always-available logs and large rocks. Bring enough water for your whole party - it's a steep climb back up!
While I consider Blue Hen to Buttermilk Falls the perfect adventure to "ordain" a young hiker, it's not just for families. It's an ideal trail for hikers who are getting acquainted with a new pair of boots or testing their relationship with a heavy pack before a camping trip. A wide variety of songbirds frequent this particular fold in the valley, too, so it's a delightful spot to just relax and watch and listen as they put on a show.
Who is Going to Love It
Fit and determined hikers (who don't stop often to snap a lot of pictures) can manage the down-and-back trail in under an hour, but it's almost impossible to be that robotic about this trail - it's gorgeous, and steep enough to make most folks stop for at least a brief rest. From the top to the bottom of the trail is probably less than a mile, but it practically defies linear measurement.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Parking is located at 2001 Boston Mills Road, Boston Township, 44236.
Take I-77 S to Breckville Rd (exit 146). Keep right and follow signs to OH-21/Richfield/Brecksville. Turn left on Boston Mills Road. Turn left on Black Rd and then make a quick right back onto Boston Mills Rd. There are parking available on both sides of the road.
The trailhead is located off Boston Mills Road, west of Riverview Road. Depending if you are visiting on a weekend or holiday, there is also an overflow parking lot on the south side of the road.