Natural surface trails enhance scenic views for Brecksville Reservation visitors

by Emily Canning-Dean

Hikers who enjoy a scenic view while they get some exercise will have more opportunities this spring when they visit the Brecksville Reservation.

Back in the fall, the Cleveland Metroparks celebrated the grand opening of 2 miles of new natural surface trails at Brecksville Reservation.

“Construction took about five months to complete, beginning in late May and ending in late October,” said Jacqueline Gerling, director of communications for Cleveland Metroparks.

According to the Cleveland Metroparks, the White Oak Trail Loop provides hikers with an opportunity to weave through the hillsides as well as the mature oak-hickory forests on the reservation. This loop leads to the new My Mountain Trail Overlook, which offers views of the Chippewa Creek Valley. The loop trail complex also connects to the Oak Grove Picnic Area and the Plateau Picnic area.

The trails were designed and constructed entirely in-house by Cleveland Metroparks and were made possible by donor support.

“Thanks to the support of generous donors, the new trail complex, including the My Mountain Trail Overlook, expands and restores a decades-old trail, inviting visitors to better explore some of the most scenic areas of Cleveland Metroparks’ largest reservation,” said Brian Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks CEO.

“Donations covered all material and equipment rental costs and some of the Student Conservation contracted labor costs,” Gerling added. “The labor for our internal staff was not paid for by donations. Without that labor, the project cost was about $100,000.”

The new construction restores and expands the former White Oak Trail, which is one of Brecksville Reservation’s original trails, as well as portions of the Buckeye Trail.

The White Oak Trail was formerly a one way out and back trail, but the White Oak Trail Loop takes visitors off the flat ridge above the valley and into the scenic ravines. The new construction includes seven wooden crossing structures, 300 feet of boardwalk and more than 1,000 tons of stone surfacing which allows for natural drainage of the area. This will help the trail to withstand weather events through all seasons. The trail then culminates with the My Mountain Trail that leads to a signature overlook that looks down over the valley below. ∞

Photo: Boardwalks and crossing structures are part of the new trail complex at Brecksville Reservation. Photo submitted.