On Sunday Tom and I decided to ride the Maple Highlands Trail in Chardon. Even though it is a drive from Akron, it sounded like a really nice trail. The Maple Highlands Trail runs north and south of Chardon but the descriptions make it sound like it goes to Middlefield. If it does, you have to ride on State Route 44 – very busy – for a ways before finding the extension. The two parts of the trail in Chardon are also not connected, so you have a 4 mile northern section and an 8 mile southern section. The road to the northern trailhead is closed so we decided to skip that part.
The trailhead for the southern part is at Mountain Run Station, a nice park on a sideroad to 44. Unfortunately the trailhead is hard to find and there are not signs directing you to the trailhead. In fact, it seems as if the City of Chardon doesn’t really want anyone riding through on the trail, which is too bad as downtown Chardon is an attractive old downtown that still has lots of stores and restaurants and a big, park-like square. We drove under the trail, and then through a residential area, and finally found the trailhead thanks to Tom’s excellent sixth sense about where things are.
The trail itself is beautiful. It is asphalt, mostly flat, with three very nice covered bridges. It begins in the lovely Mountain Run Station park and has a bike fix-it station. I had never seen one of these before, but it is a great idea! The trail ends at the Headwaters Park. We rode along the lake shore and then headed back. There were plenty of people on the trail, but they were considerate of traffic.
Because our ride was so short (only 16 miles) Tom wanted to go to Middlefield. He thought he could find some ice cream or baked goods. I told him everything would be closed on Sunday – and it was. So we ended up in Garrettsville, which had plenty of open stores, and another historic car show! In fact, we saw cars driving up 88 to Garrettsville that we had just seen that morning in Mogadore.
We continued on south to Ravenna and decided to check out the Triangle Lake Bog State Nature Preserve. This is a 61 acre kettle lake bog containing carnivorous plants, tamarack and a floating sphagnum mat. We walked on the very nice boardwalk – you REALLY don’t want to go off the boardwalk – and saw hundreds of pitcher plants and all the other plants you would find in this kind of a bog. The walk was just 1/2 mile but was fascinating. Certainly worth the stop – and we were the only people there. There were plenty of mosquitoes however, so be sure to wear insect repellent if you take the walk.
It was a fun afternoon exploring some areas we hadn’t seen before and some we haven’t been to for a long time.