Location

This hike, North Olmsted south, is in the southern section of North Olmsted, Ohio, USA, area of the Rocky Reservation, a Cleveland Metropark.

Geology

The Rocky River, and its East and West Branches, carved through ancient shale deposits, is seen from cliff tops and the river below on this hike. 

Trails

Starting at the Nature Center you will follow 10 trails; West Chanel Pond Loop, Mount Pleasant Loop, Wildlife Management Loop, Shepard's Lane Loop, Bridle 1, Cedar Point Loop, Bridle 3, upper lagoon loop, and the old riverside path. The trails run alongside three rivers, two ponds, two lagoons, and several high cliffs.

    The terrain of the trails is diverse; ranging from wide and flat to narrow and primitive. You'll hike through fields, along river banks and cliffs, and through forests. There are several steep climbs up hills.

    The bridle trails 1 and 3 are wide, mostly flat, and well-maintained. Some areas will be muddy after rains, but in general are well-drained.

    The West Chanel Pond, Wildlife Management, and Shepard's Lane Loops are near the Nature Center. They're flat, wide, and good for kids, strollers and wheel chairs. These are wooded trails with a boardwalk and stone bridge crossing on the West Channel Pond trail. Expect to see wildlife and wildflowers along Wildlife Management and Shephard's Lane trails.

The Mount Pleasant, Cedar Point, and upper lagoon trails are accessed by climbing steep hills. They are in rugged forests and unmaintained. You'll be climbing over rocks, fallen trees, and in and out of ravines. This is where you'll be hiking along the edges of high cliffs. The views are worth all the effort.

The densely wooded Mount Pleasant Loop starts after you cross the road from Shepard's Lane.

Old river trail is primitive and not maintained. It is flat with uneven surfaces, fallen trees, ruts, and follows the East Branch of the Rocky River. Along the way you'll see steep shale cliffs, waterfalls, and wildflowers. On days it hasn't rained you can see the beautiful shale-lined river bottom. There are plenty of rocky beach areas to wade into the water and let a dog swim. Benches, restrooms, and picnic areas are along this trail.

Upper lagoon trail is unmarked and starts on the All-Purpose path as you cross over from Bridle trail 1. After climbing a steep hill you come to the top of a waterfall. From here the trail follows the high-cliff edge of the lagoons.

Cedar Point trail is reached after a short stint on Bridle Trail 3 and then continues deep into the forest. This is where the trail runs along the the high cliffs above the West Branch of the Rocky River. 

Take advantage of the many photo opportunities amid the serenity of the pine forest and towering trees across the river.

Attributes

  • Distance - 7.8mi/12.5km
  • Variable surface from smooth and wide to rocky and narrow
  • Moderate/intermediate difficulty
  • Leashed dogs welcome
  • Family friendly 
  • Toilets along route
  • Parking at beginning and along route
  • Wide range of wildlife
  • Forest 
  • Waterfalls
  • Scenic views
  • Historic
  • Ascent - 1079ft/328.8m
  • Descent - 1132ft/345m
  • Highest point - 807ft/245.9m
  • Lowest point - 650ft/198m

The diversity of the trekking experience is the essence of this hike. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Click on the Learn More button above to download a guided trail map.