Have your kids been exploring the uncharted territory of your very last nerve in these last few weeks of summer vacation? Are you looking a way to encourage them on a new adventure — one that will get them outside to burn off some of that limitless energy? Would you like a way to get out and enjoy nature with them? Instead of having them take a long walk off a short pier, take them with you on a river walk.
In the nearby Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation, there are several cool spots to enjoy a hike, a bike or scooter ride, or if the weather is warm, a river walk. One recent hot day, we chose to visit the Quarry Rock area, located off Solon Road in Bentleyville. From the parking area, a 0.4-mile short loop winds uphill through second growth woods near the site of an old stone quarry. But if you take the well-travelled path that leads down to the river, you and your kids can explore the waterfalls and rocks as you wind your way downstream toward an area called Squaw Rock.
This area is named for the outdoor sculpture of the same name, which was carved by local artist and blacksmith Henry Church in 1885. According to local historians, Church walked through the Chagrin River at night, and sculpted this large sandstone boulder with a variety of images. Challenge your kids (and yourself) to find all of Church’s images, which include: a quiver of arrows (with the four phases of the moon), a giant serpent, an eagle, a woman with a shell behind her, a dog, skeleton, and a baby in a papoose. While Squaw Rock is accessible via the river, a 0.6-mile challenging trail begins above the river at the Squaw Rock Picnic Area.
Another interesting place to explore within the South Chagrin Reservation is the Sulphur Springs Picnic area. Enter the Sulphur Springs Creek near the picnic area, and follow it downstream into a cool and inviting ravine. You and your kids can burn off some energy as you climb small waterfalls and escape the summer heat. Pack a picnic for the fun afternoon adventure. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes that can get wet, and bring a change of clothes, because you’re bound to get wet.
Summer is almost over, but there’s still plenty of time for a family adventure. For more information, visit clevelandmetroparks.com.