Founded in 1920, the North Chagrin Reservation is a nature preserve located just outside Cleveland. The reservation is home to a variety of attractions and highlights the wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife native to this region of Ohio.
The park is home to the A.B. Williams Memorial Woods, an old-growth beech-maple forest where you can walk under giant trees more than 300–400 years old. Farther into the park, you'll discover the Buttermilk Falls, a unique geologic site that includes a cascading waterfall. Foster's Run is a breathtaking trail combined of old roadways and new all-purpose trails along a scenic stream. The Chestnut Shelter, which houses indoor and exterior spaces for group activities or a picnic, is also on-site.
By far the most famous attraction in the park is Squire's Castle. The castle is named after Feargus B. Squire, who grew up in Cleveland, was an executive with Standard Oil Company, and served as a former mayor of Wickliffe, Ohio. This beautiful structure was built as a gatehouse in the 1890s. Inspired by German and English baronial castles, the structure was the first building where Squire originally planned to build a grand estate for his family. After construction difficulties, he abandoned the project, and the family used the gatekeeper's quarters (the castle) as a weekend country home. Locals rumor the castle is haunted, but the story detailing the haunting has been proven false. Regardless, the spot is deemed a "must-see" for any visitors to the reservation. With its picturesque turrets, thick stone walls and arched doorways as well as its surrounding hiking and riding trails and picnic space, it's a fun place to spend some time. It's just a short hike from one of the parking facilities.
In addition to its trails, the nature park has an abundance of amenities. The park offers horseback riding, picnic tables, putting greens to practice your golf skills, sports fields and courts for multiple sports, and a hill to sled on in the winter months.
The reservation is open year-round from 6 am to 11 pm, only closing on New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The North Chagrin Reservation calendar of events lets you search for your favorite activity by date, age, category, and free or paid event.
[Cover photo credit: Tim Evanson under CC BY-NC 2.0 ]