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The Ultimate Guide to the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree

Autumn is upon us here in Cleveland. Pumpkin beers abound from various breweries across the city, pumpkin patches and apple orchards are in full swing, and places in and around Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) are at their most beautiful. 

Everywhere is bursting with color, and the best way to take in the vibrant leaves of the area is through hiking – making the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree an amazing event each fall. 

This year marks the 59th annual Fall Hiking Spree for Summit County, the longest and largest continuing event of its kind in the entire country!

Summit County Fall Hiking Spree

If you are searching for things to do outside in the fall around Cleveland, then participating in the Fall Hiking Spree is a must!

Whether you’re an expert hiker or just getting started, this is the ultimate guide to participating in the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree. 

What is the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree? 

Each year, Summit County, just south of Cuyahoga County where Cleveland is located, promotes hiking in their Metro Parks by putting on the Fall Hiking Spree from September 1-November 30 each year.

Hikers must sign up and complete 8 hikes from a designated list (which I’ve included below). Each hike is located in a Summit Metro Park, and hikers can choose any of the hikes on the list, including a Hiker’s Choice trail. 

If the hiker completes all 8 of the hikes before November 30, they earn a hiker’s staff and shield if it’s their first year. For Fall Hiking Spree veterans, they’ll earn another shield for their staff. 

Barn along the Deer Run Trail
Barn along the Deer Run Trail in O’Neil Woods Metro Park

It’s a really fun way to find hiking trails you otherwise may have missed, and is a great way to see the fall foliage. Many hikers take it pretty seriously, and you’ll see veterans sporting their staffs decorated with several shields from past Hiking Spree years. 

Also, as Cuyahoga Valley National Park winds its way through Summit County, a few of the hikes are actually within the park itself! 

When is the Fall Hiking Spree?

The Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree starts on September 1 and runs through November 30, perfect for leaf-peeping season! 

Fall colors in the Metro Parks
It’s the perfect time to see fall colors!

How Do You Sign Up for the Fall Hiking Spree? 

Signing up for the Fall Hiking Spree is easy! Just head to their page here, downland the form, and complete 8 trails. Once you’ve completed the hikes, you can drop off your form at one of the offices or submit it by mail. Then, you can either pick up your reward or have it mailed to you if you are a veteran hiker of the spree! 

Here are the offices to get your reward and submit the form:

F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm Welcome Kiosk

1828 Smith Rd., Akron

Open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 12p.m.-5 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Liberty Park Nature Center

9999 Liberty Rd., Twinsburg 

Open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 12p.m.-5 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Summit Lake Nature Center

411 Ira Ave., Akron

Open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 12p.m.-5 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

If you need to mail in your form and already have the hiking staff from a prior year, then send the form and include a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Administrative Offices, 975 Treaty Line Rd., Akron, OH, 44313

Munroe Falls Metro Park Meadow Trail
Munroe Falls Metro Park

Note too that you may sometimes find a Metro Parks volunteer at some of the trailheads (especially on weekends). They can also help you sign up for the Fall Hiking Spree and get you started.

How Much Does the Fall Hiking Spree Cost?

It is completely free for residents of Summit County. If you are not a resident of Summit County, then it is $10 for first-time hikers of the spree and $5 for veterans.  

Hikes on the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree

Now that you know all of the small details of the hiking spree, it’s time to get into the fun part: Where can you hike?

There are designated trails that are part of the official Fall Hiking Spree each year, spanning different Metro Parks throughout Summit County. There’s a nice mix of easy and more strenuous trails, and almost all of them are family-friendly.

All of these hikes can also be done in under an hour, which is great. So if you’re short on time, you can still hike a lot of these within a weekend if you want to.

Munroe Falls Metro Park
Most trails are marked and very easy to find.

And yes, they change these trails each year! Here are the included trails in 2022:

1. Towpath Trail/Barberton Trailhead

South from Fairview to Robinson and Back

Enjoy a variety of wetland scenes while hiking an easy 2.4 miles in the southern section of the Towpath Trail in Summit County.

2. Cascade Valley Metro Park

Celebration Trail

This is the park’s newest area to earn spree credit while exploring the newly restored Cuyahoga River and the Valley View Area on an easy 1.6 mile hike.

3. Firestone Metro Park

Redwing Trail

This easy 1.1 mile loop off of Willow Trail shares peaceful views of the Tuscarawas River and travels over a wetland on a wooden boardwalk. This is a hike that is perfect for all ages.

4. Furnace Run Metro Park

Rock Creek Trail

We love hiking in Furnace Run Metro Park, as it’s another one located within Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Rock Creek is an easy 1.3 mile hike, lined with sycamores, crossing bridges through scenic beech-maple woods. This is another great hike to do with kids.

5. Goodyear Heights Metro Park

Piney Woods

This trail is named for the many pines that were once planted in the park. Now you’ll see many other species including black cherries, oaks, and tulip trees too. This hike is 2 miles long and rated as moderate.

Furnace Run Metro Park

6. Gorge Metro Park

Glens Trail

If you’re looking for a moderate hike with great views, this one is it! Natural springs flow from the ledges along this trail, which is 1.8 miles and rated as moderate. You can also take in views from the edge of the Cuyahoga River on this stunning rock-wall-lined hike.

7. Hampton Hills Metro Park

Spring Hollow Trail

For a more demanding hike, try the Spring Hollow Trail. This strenuous 1.6 mile trail follows a smaller loop trail and crosses several seasonal streams.

8. Liberty Park

Coyote Run Trail

If you are looking for an easy hike on a paved surface, this 1.2 mile paved loop offers exactly that. This hike takes you around the Liberty Park Nature Center, where you might spot red-tailed hawks and other predatory birds.

9. Munroe Falls Metro Park

Indian Spring Trail

Indian Spring Trail is a moderate 2.2 mile hike that passes the spring it is named for before looping back through the forest. On its way, the trail also passes by wetlands, ponds and a stream.

Liberty Park Ledges Trail
Glacier Cave on the Ledges Trail

10. O’Neil Woods Metro Park

Deer Run Trail

Deer Run Trail is one of the best Cuyahoga Valley National Park trails for hiking. This strenuous 2.3 mile hike is also good for spotting amazing fall foliage in the autumn. Plus, you may spot a deer or two wandering along the area as well!

11. Sand Run Metro Park

Dogwood Trail

If you are looking for another strenuous hike, this is it. On the 1.9 mile Dogwood Trail you can explore shady valley and ridge-top terrain.

12. Silver Creek Metro Park

Pheasant Run Trail

On this trail, you’ll pass through an old field, young woods, old forests, and pines. You will also see two quiet ponds on the short loop. This trail is 1.2 miles long and is rated as easy.

Wood Hollow Metro Park trail
Downy Loop boardwalk

13. Springfield Bog Metro Park

Prairie Trail

As the name implies, this easy 1.6 mile trail leads hikers through a prairie. During early fall, a variety of wild sunflowers, asters and grasses make this trail very vibrant and colorful.

14. Hiker’s Choice

Last, but not least, is the option to choose your own adventure. The only catch is that it has to be in a Summit Metro Park, and you can only do this option for 1 of the 8 hikes. Luckily, many of these Metro Parks have multiple trails, meaning you can just do another trail after finishing one on this list. 

Deer Run Trail
Stairs on the Deer Run Trail at O’Neil Woods Metro Park (one we love!)

RELATED: 15 Best Cuyahoga Valley National Park Trails for Hiking

Which Trails Should You Choose? 

This is entirely up to you! If you are a beginner when it comes to hiking, I recommend sticking to some easier trails at first and then working your way up. If you’re more experienced, then why not check out the more moderate or strenuous trails?

Also, depending on what you’d like to see, such as wetlands, colorful foliage, or creeks, then that will help you decide where to hike. 

Munroe Falls Metro Park Meadow Trail
An easy meadow trail
Deer Run Trail
A more difficult trail with elevation gain and stairs

What to Pack for the Fall Hiking Spree

Most of the hikes are not so technical that a lot of gear is needed. As the hikes take an hour or less to complete, just bring enough water for that time frame and maybe a snack.

If you plan to do multiple hikes in a day, a small hiking backpack is perfect for packing some water, snacks, sunscreen, and maybe electrolyte tablets if you run into any really hot days (which we all know can totally still pop up in the fall!). 

As for what to wear, regular tennis shoes, athletic shorts or pants, and an exercise shirt should be just fine for your hike, unless the weather is wet. If it’s raining (or if it has recently rained), you’ll probably want to add a raincoat and perhaps some waterproof hiking boots.

Summit County Fall Hiking Spree
Hiking boots not required, but a good idea for wet or muddy trails.

Why Participate in the Fall Hiking Spree?

It is an incredible outdoor fall activity to participate in around the Cleveland area! With trails ranging from easy to a bit more strenuous, these hikes are the perfect way to get acquainted with trails in the area (including in Cuyahoga Valley National Park), and enjoy all the fall foliage while doing it! 

Plus, the hiking staff and shields are a fun collector’s item that many use throughout the year at CVNP.

If you want more hiking ideas, then check out the Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge! Complete 10, 20, or 30 trails to earn prizes. This lasts all the way until the end of the year. 

Would you like to partake in the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree? 

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. dana

    Thank you for this!!

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