Making Nature Your Neighbor

We are all together in getting through these tumultuous times. It has become imperative to connect and experience Nature both physically and virtually. Throughout Northeast Ohio, there are gems to enjoy that are “low risk”, can help you get that breath of fresh air you deserve, and connect you to the natural world in which we live. Join us as we continue our journey to explore sites throughout our region and get our weekly West Creek Wednesday: Nature Fix! Together, we’ll explore some well-known trails and hidden gems we think you’ll be excited to learn more about.

The Hike: Lorain County Metro Parks

Location: Black River Watershed, Elyria & LaGrange

For this week’s installment of hidden gems throughout Northeast Ohio, we visited Cascade Park and Carlisle Reservation, both part of the Lorain County Metro Parks.  Cascade Park offers rivers, waterfalls, hemlock forests, and over 2.5 miles of trails just minutes from downtown Elyria. Inside this 135-acre park the east and west branches of the Black River cascade over Berea sandstone converge. Lorain County Metro Parks assumed operations of Cascade Park in 2014 through a partnership with the City of Elyria.  Small tributaries enter the park from both east and west forming deep cuts into the bedrock. These smaller streams form micro-climates in which more northerly species of plants may survive in the cooler environments. Hemlock is one of those species which is considered a northern tree yet appears within these special habitats.  Exploring the park, we discovered both East Falls and West Falls, and connecting the two is around a mile-long trail that takes you through a spectacular gorge.  The hike was amazing and it wasn’t too long so we decided to head to Carlisle Reservation.

Carlisle Reservation is about 15 minutes from Cascade Park in LaGrange.  The 1,500 acres of the Carlisle Reservation provide for an adventurous amount of hiking. The flood plain, upland meadows, mature forests, and a 65-acre wetland area provide for scenery changes during hikes.  The reservation also includes a raptor center and nature discovery trails, both open during this time. We would definitely recommend going to the park early to walk through and see all of their birds of prey.  Right now, they have barred owls, red tailed hawks, including Luke, who is Leucistic so he is all white, barn owl, turkey vulture, and a Eastern screech-owl.  The children’s nature discovery trail looked really interesting.  Lorain County Metro Parks put together four curiosity cabins, all with different themes to engage families coming to Carlisle.  They also have interactive murals and a storybook stroll, partnering with local libriaries to make happen.  I am defiantly going to bring my nieces back here soon to check it all out.

If you would like to learn more about these parks or others Lorain County Metro Parks manages, check out their website;

Join us weekly for your Nature Fix as we tour properties throughout the region and extend the work of West Creek Conservancy onto your devices.

Lorain County Metro Parks: Our Hike: