A perk of living in Northeast Ohio that I’ve long taken for granted is how much green space surrounds us. No matter where you live, Cleveland, Akron, Canton or Youngstown, there’s a park near you. In fact, we have a national park between Cleveland and Akron – one of the 58 designated by the National Park Service. The vast majority of those are out west, so we’re pretty lucky.
All the open space (and our state’s propensity for building trails – lots of them), means a treadmill isn’t necessary year round. (You can always bundle up in the winter!) I live in the neighborhood of Lakewood Park on Lake Erie, so I’m always running on the boardwalk there.
When I’m in the mood for a change of scenery, here are my top parks and trails in the region to go running, walking, or cycling on:
Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail, Northeast Ohio
This might be the most famous trail in Northeast Ohio. Almost completely blazed through the region (with just a few miles left to finish in Cleveland), you can travel from Lake Erie all the way down to New Philadelphia and back without ever needing a car. It’s beautiful in Cleveland… and Akron, too! It celebrates our region’s enviable natural assets and industrial heritage.
Hampton Hills Metro Park, Akron
Home to some of Northeast Ohio’s more challenging hikes, you’ll feel far, far away from the bustling urbanity of Cleveland and Akron. Located within Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this Summit Metro Park is where I get away from it all. (Another favorite near Akron is Fred Fuller Park. It's in Kent on the Cuyahoga River, connected to the Summit Metro Parks' Freedom Trail.)
McKinley Memorial, Canton
While families and school groups tour the museum and memorial, you’ll find plenty of locals breaking a sweat running up and down these stairs and around the beautiful grounds. You’re in for a treat if you visit during the fall.
Edgewater Beach, Cleveland
Cleveland Metroparks has turned this lakefront park into a photogenic gem. (I can vouch for this: a close friend’s wedding photos were all shot there this summer. Flawless!) A paved trail runs from the end of W. 65th Street, through a pedestrian tunnel and along the beach. It’s the perfect length and offers up a beautiful view!
This GuestBlog by Ryan Collins was published in City Visitor’s 2017 Northeast Ohio Relocation Guide.
About Ryan Collins
Ryan Collins is a writer, marketer and traveler. Even after photographing cities around the world, he has yet to see a view more inspiring than the rainbow Cleveland skyline during Gay Games 9. Currently living in a flapper-era Lakewood apartment within eyesight of Lake Erie, he has lived all across North-east Ohio (and a brief stint in Florence, Italy). An alumnus of Kent State University, Ryan today works as an admissions counselor at Baldwin Wallace University. His work has been published by Cleveland Plus, Belt Magazine and in conjunction with Destination Cleveland. He blogs at collinscopy.wordpress.com and on LinkedIn.