When it comes to the benefits of living in Northeast Ohio, one tops many people’s lists: the seasons. Fall has officially begun, and as autumn’s crisp breeze sweeps through the region, the landscape is transforming into a breathtaking mosaic of crimson, gold and amber hues.
Whether you’re meandering the trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, biking along the Towpath Trail or embarking on a scenic train ride via the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Northeast Ohio’s fall foliage paints an enchanting portrait of the season’s beauty.
In honor of this week being Fall Foliage Week, The Daily has put together a list of some of the best places to see fall colors near Case Western Reserve University.
Cleveland Metroparks’ Whipp’s Ledges
The Whipp’s Ledges Trail, located at Hinckley Reservation and spanning slightly more than 1 mile, offers captivating vistas of moss-draped Sharon Conglomerate sandstone formations and lush trees, accompanied by an initial ascent of 223 feet. Hinckley Reservation stands out as one of the rare locations in Northeast Ohio where the striking sandstone ledges of Sharon Conglomerate are exposed.
Ohio’s only national park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, is a well-known favorite among Northeast Ohio residents for enjoying autumn colors, no matter if you’re hiking the Brandywine Gorge Trail or the Oak Hill Trail. And, taking a trip on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers one of the most scenic ways to see the park’s fall colors.
The expansive North Chagrin Reservation, situated across Mayfield Village, Willoughby Hills, and Gates Mills, showcases its abundant woodlands and wetlands as defining features. North Chagrin Reservation boasts a myriad of attractions, including Squire’s Castle, the esteemed A.B. Williams Memorial Woods (a Registered National Landmark), the cascading beauty of Buttermilk Falls, and the North Chagrin Nature Center.
In the heart of Cleveland and less than a 10-minute drive from Case Western Reserve University sits the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes—a 20-acre green space located within a section of the Shaker Parklands.
The Nature Center is home to three serene trails—the All Peoples’ Trail, Stearns Trail and Upper Rim Trail—that wind through gardens and natural habitats (including a lake, stream, marsh, field, ravine and forest).
Embark on a journey along nearly six miles of winding trails, enveloped by the majestic presence of mature beech, maple, oak, tulip, and hemlock trees. As you explore, discover one of Lake County’s most captivating scenic viewpoints nestled along the Lucky Stone Loop Trail. This enchanting forested park offers a captivating hiking experience that leads you to the awe-inspiring Sharon Conglomerate ledges. From these vantage points, on clear days, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of Lake Erie and the iconic Cleveland skyline.
The Holden Arboretum in Lake County stands as one of the United States’ most expansive arboreta and botanical gardens, spanning over 3,600 acres. Among this vast expanse, explore the Murch Canopy Walk among the trees and climb the Kalberer Emergent Tower to get a sweeping view of fall colors.
The defining character of Rocky River Reservation draws significant inspiration from the meandering Rocky River. Towering shale cliffs gracefully overlook the lush willows, sycamores, and cottonwoods, while a network of trails gracefully navigates through the valley’s rich floodplain forests, tranquil meadows, and thriving wetlands.
Located at Forest Hill Park, the Forest Hill Trail serves as a connecting link between the East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights segments of the park. The Cleveland Heights portion of the trail extends for six-tenths of a mile, concluding shortly after the fenced ball fields. Beyond this point, the pathway continues into the East Cleveland section.
Spanning a mile, the Eastern Ledge Trail offers a diverse blend of both paved and natural pathways. It boasts a striking suspension bridge spanning over Euclid Creek, and a remarkable highlight is the scenic overlook positioned 130 feet above Euclid Creek and the picturesque valley beneath.