Those of you who know us know that we are big supporters of the Cleveland Metroparks. We really think they’re one of the best things about Cleveland, with all sorts of fun and educational activities that keep us all out in nature. What you may not know is that the Metroparks are open and have great things to do all winter long.
As you might expect, the Metroparks offer many great ways to get outside in the winter. Popular activities include hikes with naturalists, campfires, snowshoe and cross country ski demonstrations, and animal watching and bird watching groups. There are also year-round programs that continue through the winter such as the “One Trail 12 Times” program that explores seasonal changes to a familiar area.
If you aren’t ready to brave the cold, the Metroparks offer great indoor activities for families and adults as well. Popular family activities include scavenger hunts, hands-on activities that explore science and animals, movie nights, storytelling, and even hand-feeding birds. There is even an annual family overnight at the North Chagrin Reservation. Adult activities include photography groups, movies, and lectures.
Formal programs aren’t the only opportunities for winter recreation at the Metroparks. All hiking, all purpose, and bridle trails within the Metroparks are open for snow hiking and snowshoeing, with rentals occasionally available (check the Metroparks website for dates). Likewise, cross-country skiing is permitted on hiking, bridle, and all purpose trails, as well as at several golf courses when there are at least 4 inches of snow on the ground. Ski rentals are available at Big Met Golf Course in the Rocky River Reservation when there is enough snow.
Fishing is another popular year-round activity in the Metroparks. In all but the coldest winters, the Rocky River will usually have enough open water for shore and wading fishing, with steelhead fishing popular all winter. Various lakes and ponds are open to ice fishing, when conditions are safe. All fishing in the Metroparks requires a valid Ohio fishing license.
One of our favorite Metroparks activities is the toboggan chute at the Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation, near Strongsville. From Thanksgiving until March, the toboggan run is open most weekday evenings, Saturdays from noon until 10:30 PM, and Sundays from noon until 5:00. Admission includes the toboggan, professional assistance, and a toboggan lift. All you need to enjoy the thrilling ride is warm clothing and a sense of adventure. If you want more sledding options, many Metroparks have popular sledding hills as well.
For Metropark locations and activities, check out the Cleveland Metroparks website at http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com. You can search by location or activity to find what’s available near you, or search by activity to see where it’s available. For programs, check the event calendar on the site for exact times and dates and to see the wide variety of activities available. Then find your hat and gloves, bundle up, and get out there!