Hampton Hills Metro Park is one of the larger parks in the Akron system at 665 acres. Many of the features of the Hampton Hills Metro Park were formed during the ice age via glacial movement. One such feature is the Adam Run Valley which was home to more than one Native American tribes prior to European settlement in the early 1800’s. The trails are surrounded oak, elm, sycamore and black walnut trees which are the homes of many varieties of birds and other wildlife.
Hampton Hills is well known for spring wildflower viewing. Other featured flora includes several types of ferns and mushrooms. Also, a strange plant called scouring rush lives near the banks of the stream. There is also a man-made flora feature—a grove of white pine, which was planted by a girl scout troop in the 1960’s.
Located in the “Top O’ the World Area” of Hampton Hills Metro Park is the old Adam’s family homestead. The farm fields now lay fallow and have become the home for meadow plants like milkwort, ironweed, Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod and aster. The area is also home to many butterflies who live among the native plants.
Many birds will hang around the trees and shrubs hunting for insects, including Bluebirds and woodcocks. One may also see wild turkeys. Red-tailed hawks will be seen circling the meadows keeping an eye out for the voles and mice that live in the meadow.
The park includes two of the more challenging hiking trails in the Metro Parks. Both of which have seasonal streams crossing them, making the trails hard to use without getting wet feet!
Lastly, the park maintains a public archery range. The targets are maintained by the park, all other equipment must be brought in by patrons.
Thinking of taking the whole family on a hike? Worried that the kids or other family members might not be able to handle the trail? These three trails will get you and your family active this summer despite age or ability. They all fall in at under 1 mile and will provide everyone with fresh air and beautiful scenery.
Cattail Trail, Garfield Park Reservation
This short but gorgeous .2 mile trail in the Cleveland Metroparks has not only wild flowers and wildlife, but also includes beautiful 1930’s stonework you’ll observe while hiking. The trailhead is near the park maintenance center on Garfield Parkway.
Jane Coates Wildflower Trail, Put-In-Bay
This one might take a little more planning, but the Jane Coates Wildflower Trail, South Bass Island, Put-In-Bay, is a hidden treasure. The .5 mile loop features a unique variety of wildflowers and migratory songbirds. This easy, breath-taking hike can add some spice to any Lake Erie adventure. The trail head is located at 1962 Put-In-Bay Road.
Indian Mound Reserve Trails, Cedarville
The Indian Mound Reserve in Cedarville features more than one under-one-mile trail. While all of the 166 acres are beautiful, Cedar Cliff Falls can be reached via the Upper Rim Trail which is just over half a mile long.
Now that we are finally shaking off the cobwebs and shedding our layers of sweaters just a little, many of us will be spending the best early spring days outside in the sun and fresh air. One interesting place to do send a day enjoying the great outdoors is on the Grandma Gatewood Trail and at Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park.
This trail is named after Grandma Gatewood, at 67 she is know as the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. She is one of the founders of the Buckeye Trail.
The primary features of the trail and park include a unique glacier influenced ecosystem of Black Hand Sandstone caves (specifically Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave) as well impressive cliffs all shrouded in Hemlock, Canadian Yew and yellow and black Birch. All signs of a cool period about 10,000’s ago brought on by glaciers.
The trail also features a beautiful Black Hand Sandstone gorge about 150 feet wide. This gorge has been carved by a local creek and provides a few of the local earth’s sub surface.
You can find out more information here about the park and surrounding area at the North Country Trail website.