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Combo Loop Trail

North Chagrin Reservation, Ohio

North Chagrin Reservation, part of the fantastic Cleveland Metroparks, protects woodlands, wildlife, and wetlands within Ohio’s Glaciated Allegheny Plateau - the park even has a surprise, a castellated, turreted ruin known as Squire’s Castle.

To see all the park has to offer, combine any number of the many trails that wind through the reservation - we opted to create a 6-mile loop by combining the Buttermilk Falls Loop (0.6 mile), Sanctuary Marsh Loop (0.4 mile), Hemlock Trail (1.75 mile), Squire’s Lane (0.75 mile), Castle Valley Trail (2.25 mile) and portions of the Bridle Trail.

We began our day at the North Chagrin Nature Center where we strolled along the shores of Sunset Pond - we enjoyed watching countless painted turtles basking in the sun and the reflection of fall leaves on the water’s mirror surface.

From Sunset Pond, we circumnavigated the nature center to explore the boardwalk that jets out into Sanctuary Marsh and the paved trail along its perimeter - watch for ducks, geese, and turtles.

Leaving the marsh behind, we made our way along the Buttermilk Falls Loop Trail - the trail follows a portion of Buttermilk Falls Creek through a second growth forest to an observation deck/footbridge overlooking the cascade known as Buttermilk Falls.

After enjoying the sights and sounds of the cascading creek, we made our way to Squire’s Castle via a short jaunt on the Bridle Trail (NC2)until we intersected the Hemlock Trail - scenic views abound as the trail skirts the rim and valley of two of the largest ravines in the park.

Continuing along the Hemlock Trail, we hiked the path to just short of its completion, near the Strawberry Picnic Area - before reaching the terminus, we veered onto the NC2 Bridle Trail again, following it all the way to Squire’s Castle.

Squire’s Castle, an abandoned ruin of an old (never completed) gatekeepers house, stands vigil on the edge of the forest just waiting to be explored - kids and adults alike will enjoy the gothic structure and grassy grounds, the perfect place for a picnic.

Pressing on from the castle, we made our way along portions of the Castle Valley Trail and Bridle Trail, staying mainly on the Bridle Trail, until we found ourselves back at the nature center. As always, we worked up an appetite during our adventure - after a roundtrip loop hike a little over six miles, we were ready for burgers and beers. To satisfy that craving, we headed for the perfect place - Burgers 2 Beers! Check it out if you visit North Chagrin for a beautiful day of hiking!


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