One of the best perks of living in or visiting Cleveland has to be all of the area Metroparks! Seriously, with 18 reservations and 24,000 acres of land in our Metroparks system, plus the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park, there are ample places to go hiking near Cleveland – including if you have kids!
There is so much to see on these kid-friendly trails, from witnessing beautiful views over Lake Erie to spotting wildflowers and colorful birds deep in the woods. No matter the time of year, getting outside with the kiddos for a fun and easy hike is always a great idea!
This list includes easy hikes that are right around 1-3 miles or less without large elevation gains so that you can enjoy a family hike together.
Best Hikes Near Cleveland to Do with Kids
1. Edgewater Beach Trail
Edgewater Park, Lakefront Reservation
This trail is always a family favorite! There are plenty of paths for walking around Edgewater Park and exploring the beach, most of which are paved and offer excellent views of the lake and city.
The Edgewater Beach Trail is about 1.4 miles long, and you start at Upper Edgewater and walk along the path past the beach and back. It has about 88 feet in elevation gain, mostly up/down the hill that leads to Edgewater Beach.
This path is perfect for amazing views over Lake Erie and Edgewater Beach, and is stroller-friendly since it’s paved. There are also refreshment stands nearby for a snack, and you can even stop for a swim if you want.
This easy trail is a great way to go on a small kid-friendly hike just outside of downtown Cleveland.
2. Mount Pleasant, Wildlife Management, and Fort Hill Loop Trails
Rocky River Reservation
Drive west about 20 minutes of downtown, and you’ll find yourself in Rocky River Reservation. There are several great loop trails here that you can do with kids, either individually or as one longer hike. If you combine all three of these trails, you end up with a 2.9-mile hike more suitable for older children rather than toddlers.
If you’re just going to do one hike here, our pick is the Fort Hill Loop trail, which includes climbing the Fort Hill Stairs. The steps take you up to a wooded area with fantastic views over the park and Rocky River. There are 155 steps to climb, but it’s a fun challenge!
All of these trails start near Rocky River Nature Center, and are great for nice views and wildlife spotting.
3. Berea Falls Trail
Rocky River Reservation
Toward the bottom of Rocky River Reservation is Berea Falls. The falls were actually created by post-glacier river water eroding the shale on top of the sandstone rock.
This super easy hike starts at the official Berea Falls Scenic Overlook and is only 0.3 miles long with not much elevation gain. The overlook itself is gorgeous with multiple cascading falls and three bridges on view, while the trail allows you to get down closer to the water.
This beautiful area is a super simple hike for kids near Cleveland, but note that this trail is not paved.
4. Garfield Park All Purpose Trail
Garfield Park Reservation
Also located about 20 minutes from downtown is Garfield Park Reservation. This park features wetlands, trails, picnic areas, waterfalls, and the beautiful Old Boating Pond Bridge.
To get a good feel of this reservation, go on the 2 mile hike along the paved Garfield Park All Purpose Trail. With a 91-foot elevation gain, this is a pretty easy trail for kids that features wildflowers and great bird watching opportunities.
This family friendly trail is great for biking, too!
5. Buttermilk Falls Loop
North Chagrin Reservation
North Chagrin Reservation is a delight of a park to visit, with Squire’s Castle, wetlands, a pond, and, of course, Buttermilk Falls to see.
The reservation is a little less than 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, and has a nice selection of trails to hike. Our pick here is the short Buttermilk Falls Loop, which is very flat and very easy for hikers of all ages.
The trail (which is either 0.4 miles or 0.8 miles depending on where you start from) is shady, and ends with great views of the cascading waterfall. (There’s also an overlook of the falls you can visit if you don’t want to hike, but this is a hiking guide after all!)
6. Chagrin Overlook Loop Trail
South Chagrin Reservation
Head 30 minutes southeast of Cleveland toward South Chagrin Reservation for this gem of a trail. Featuring views of the river and some smaller falls, this 1.1-mile loop trail is really easy and only has 88 feet in elevation gain. There’s a small creek crossing, which is always a hit with kids.
There are actually quite a few smaller trails to explore in South Chagrin Reservation that are under a mile, so if your family is feeling up to even more hiking, this is a great reservation to check out!
A few other trails to enjoy in the area include Quarry Rock Loop (0.4 miles), Henry Church Jr. Rock Loop (0.6 miles), and Forest Loop (0.8 miles).
7. Worden’s Ledges Loop Trail
There are several rock ledges to visit throughout northeast Ohio, but Worden’s Ledges might be some of the coolest! This particular trail features these ledges in Hinckley Reservation, about 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland.
Formed over 250 million years ago not far from Hinckley Lake, the ledges make for a great family friendly hike near Cleveland. And these ledges are extra unique because there’s a section where the original landowner’s son, Noble Stuart, made carvings into the rock back in the 1940s.
It’s fun to try to spot all the carvings, which include faces, ships, and even a Sphinx!
This trail is about 0.7 miles long, and has about 72 feet in elevation gain. The trail is through the woods and gets very uneven in spots, but is fun for kids of all ages.
8. Whipps Ledges Loop Trail
For even more incredible rock ledges, check out Whipps Ledges Loop Trail, also located in Hinckley Reservation.
This trail is just about a mile long and has about 223 feet in elevation gain, making this a slightly more challenging hike, probably better suited to older kids. Take photos around the mysterious ledges, look out for rock climbers, and enjoy the surrounding wildflowers in the warmer months of the year.
9. Viaduct Park Trail
This little trail, located in Bedford Reservation, is only 0.6 miles long and has an elevation gain of just 75 feet – but it really packs a punch because it ends at a stunning waterfall. Viaduct Park is an out and back trail that ends at Great Falls of Tinkers Creek, which is one of our favorite waterfalls near Cleveland.
If you’re searching for kid-friendly hikes, this is definitely one that requires little effort and has a big reward with the waterfall! It is also a hidden gem hike with fewer crowds. So, if you plan to go hiking on a weekend, this is a great uncrowded place to go!
10. Bridal Veil Falls Overlook
Take a dirt trail and head down some steps to check out this beautiful waterfall in Bedford Reservation.
This short 0.4-mile out and back trail is great for all skill levels and has about 32 feet in elevation gain. You’ll enjoy the sounds and views of the creek as you traverse some stairs and a wooden boardwalk before reaching an overlook above this small waterfall.
You’ll notice how the water descends down small cascades to form what looks vaguely like a bridal veil (hence the name Bridal Veil Falls). This is a fantastic hike for photos, too, as the area is surrounded by hardwoods and hemlocks!
11. Hemlock Loop Trail
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Brecksville Reservation
Cuyahoga Valley National Park has over 100 miles of hiking trails to explore, so it makes sense that many of these kid-friendly Cleveland hikes would include some in the nearby national park!
Located in Brecksville Reservation about 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland and within Cuyahoga Valley National Park is this little gem of a trail. At 2.7 miles, this loop trail has about 252 feet in elevation gain, making it a good hike for families with older children.
This trail has ample creek views and opportunities to spot wildlife. During the spring and summer months, you can also spot some lovely wildflowers, and in the winter you can stop by the Brecksville Nature Center to hand-feed wild birds!
12. Brandywine Gorge Trail
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Sagamore Hills
If you plan to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park, seeing Brandywine Falls is an absolute must. Known as one of the best waterfalls near Cleveland, this 65-foot waterfall is a stunner no matter the time of year – and it’s only a 30-minute drive from Cleveland!
While you could take the wooden boardwalk down from the Brandywine Falls picnic area to view the waterfall up close, if you are searching for a great family-friendly hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, then the Brandywine Gorge Trail is perfect.
The trail is 1.4 miles long and has an elevation gain of around 164 feet. Enjoy the waterfall at almost every angle on this hike!
13. Rock Creek Trail
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Furnace Run MetroPark
This charming MetroPark, located only about 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, features 3 easy hiking trails so any of them are great family-friendly hikes in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The 3 trails include the 0.8-mile Daffodil Trail which is perfect for seeing these lovely flowers in the spring, Old Mill Trail (1.4 miles), and Rock Creek Trail (1.3 miles).
You could spend a day here hiking on these trails and having a picnic at the main picnic site. However, if you only have time for one, then I like the Rock Creek Trail as it goes along a creek and has beautiful trees and wildflowers.
14. Kendall Lake Loop Trail
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Peninsula
This popular kid-friendly hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park features Kendall Lake as well as beautiful woods and wildflowers.
This trail is about 1.5 miles long and has an elevation gain of around 98 feet. Spot lily pads or turtles resting on logs as you make your circuit around the lake.
At only about 40 minutes from Cleveland, this is a great area to explore with the whole family.
15. Towpath Trail
Of course, if you want an easy and flat trail that traverses anywhere from downtown Cleveland to well into Cuyahoga Valley National Park, then the Towpath Trail is the way to go!
The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is about 87 miles long, so all you have to do is hop on a trailhead and keep going in one direction until you feel like turning around.
Some great spots to start your hike on the Towpath Trail include:
- Lock 39: This is the start of the Towpath Trail that leads into Cuyahoga Valley National Park and has a canal and lock.
- Lock 29: This passes by a rushing river and is very good for wildlife spotting.
- Boston Store Visitor Center: This is where you can pick up souvenirs, learn more about Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and stamp that National Parks Passport!
- Red Lock Trailhead: Enjoy creeks and the Cuyahoga River at this easy hiking spot.
16. Conifer Trail
Holden Arboretum is a great place to explore with kids. From the Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower to the serval gardens to enjoy, you could spend a lot of time here at Holden Arboretum.
But if you are trying to hike, there are a handful of trails at Holden Arboretum that are around 1.5 miles long including the Corning Lake Trail, Bole Woods Loop, Woodland Trail, and the Conifer Trail. These trails feature everything from wildflowers to beautiful ponds and wetlands.
The Conifer Trail is one is one of the more popular trails and features a lovely meadow full of wildflowers and sweet smelling pines.
See more about the hiking trails at Holden Arboretum here!
Note: There is an entry fee to visit the Holden Arboretum.
16. Eagle View Loop Trail
Lake Erie Bluffs, Perry Township
Located about 40 minutes from downtown Cleveland is the always stunning Lake Erie Bluffs. This area features amazing overlooks of Lake Erie, a 50-foot high observation tower, and several little trails.
All the trails are flat and easy, so you could do them all if you’d like to. Each one makes for a kid-friendly hike near Cleveland! The trails include the Shoreline Trail (0.4 miles), Bluff Loop Trail (1.1 miles), Lakeview Trail (0.6 miles), Forest Edge Trail (0.4 miles), and the Eagle View Loop Trail (0.6 miles).
The trails feature various attractions such as wildflower fields, views out over the bluffs, wildlife spotting, and even a hidden beach. However, the best one is the Eagle View Loop Trail that features great overlooks from the bluffs over the lake, amazing wildflowers, and the chance to potentially spot an eagle!
Map of Best Hikes for Families Near Cleveland
Click on the map below to see where all these hikes are in relation to Cleveland!
While these aren’t ALL the trails in the Cleveland area to tackle with kids, this list of kid-friendly hikes should certainly get you started enjoying the outdoors with the whole family.
Do you have a favorite kid-friendly hike near Cleveland?
Kat is a Cleveland transplant and has lived here for over 5 years. She loves to eat, drink, and explore all across the city, and has made it her personal mission to find the best breweries and pizza in Northeast Ohio. She also runs a couples travel blog and podcast called World Wide Honeymoon.