CLEVELAND, Ohio – Eighteen reserves, over 24,000 acres of land, eight lakeside parks and five nature centers are just part of the Cleveland Metroparks, recognized with the “Award for Excellence in Parks and Wildlife Management. Recreation ”2021 by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.
With a record 19.7 million visitors last year, Cleveland Metroparks is a popular location for hiking, wildlife viewing, snow sports, horseback riding, kayaking, golf and more. But with so much choice, where to start? Check the list below for the 10 most visited Metroparks bookings in 2020.
(Data provided by Cleveland Metroparks for recreational tours only, including those who park their vehicles or arrive on foot, bicycle, inline skates, etc. Data does not include vehicles passing through parks.)
1. Rocky River Preserve – 3.3 million visitors
Rocky River Preserve is located in Berea, Brook Park, Cleveland, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Olmsted Township and Rocky River. Along the Rocky River, it includes a nature center, marina, stables and three golf courses. Visitors can enjoy kayak rentals, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and more.
2. Mill Stream Run Reservation – 2.2 million visitors
Mill Stream Run Reservation is located in Berea, Middleburg Heights, North Royalton and Strongsville. Home to Baldwin and Wallace Lakes, the reserve is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy viewing wildlife, ferns, wildflowers and other plants. But perhaps the biggest attraction is the Chalet, where the tallest and fastest ice slides operate in winter. During the warmer months, check out Go Ape! adventure course with five zip lines and 42 obstacles.
3. Edgewater Park – 2 million visitors
Edgewater Park is more than one of the best beaches in Cleveland for soaking up the sun and lakefront views of the city skyline. Visitors have the opportunity to picnic with the family under the Upper Edgewater shelters, grab a bite to eat at the Pier Grille and Bait Shop, have a drink at Edgewater Beach House, and rent umbrellas, chairs and cabanas at the Nature Store .
4. Brecksville Reserve – 1.6 million visitors
Brecksville Reservation, the largest of the 18 Cleveland Metroparks reserves, runs along seven gorges, one of which makes Chippewa Creek. It’s not all gorges, however, and offers a variety of trails, the Squire Rich House and Museum, and two golf courses.
5. North Chagrin Reserve – 1.3 million visitors
North Chagrin Reserve is located in Mayfield Village, Willoughby Hills and Gates Mills. Visitors can watch waterfowl at the Sanctuary Marsh and Sunset Pond. Learn about history at Squire Castle, play a few holes at Manakiki Golf Course, or enjoy the trails at the North Chagrin Nature Center trailhead.
6. E. 55, E. 72 and Nature Reserve – 1 million visitors
East of the city center is another lakefront gem, the Reservations E. 55 and E. 72 Metroparks Lakefront. There you will find a dedicated fishing area, access to the Cleveland Lakefront bike path, E. 55th Marina, Gordon Park boat launch, and paddle access.
7. Bedford reservation – 1 million visitors
Bedford Reservation home to a National Natural Landmark, a deep gorge with breathtaking views and waterfalls. For outdoor recreation, visitors can enjoy the Shawnee Hills Golf Course, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
8. Hinckley reservation – 999,000 visitors
Hinckley Reservation is best known for the 90-acre Hinckley Lake, a favorite spot for those who enjoy fishing and paddling. Whipp’s Ledges is one of Northeast Ohio’s most popular places for rock climbing, with elevations of 350 feet above the lake. If all the activities make you hungry, check out a variety of picnic areas and Buzzard’s Landing, which features Honey Hut snacks, drinks and ice cream.
9. Huntington Reservation – 926,000 visitors
Huntington Reservation, located in Bay Village, has many hiking trails and great beach access. The Noshery offers food, draft beer, specialty cocktails, Honey Hut food and ice cream. Visitors can also visit the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center and BAYarts, located within the reserve.
10. Big Creek Reservation – 711,000 visitors
Big Creek Reservation is located in Brooklyn, Parma, Parma Heights, Middleburg Heights, and Strongsville and includes the 2.4 mile Lake to Lake Trail, connecting Abraham Lake and Isaac Lake. Memphis Sledding Hill is a winter favorite.