When Tom and I headed up to Akron last fall for our semiannual visit, we headed to O’Neil Woods Metro Park for a hike. Every year Summit County Metro Parks sponsors a Fall Hiking Spree. There are 13 Metro Parks and each one has a designated trail for the Hiking Spree. You choose eight hikes out of the list, register, hike eight trails, and then get a prize. The first year we participated we got hiking sticks. Every year after that, we got a hiking shield to put on the stick. It was a wonderful way to get out and explore on beautiful fall days.
Although we were in Akron in November, we didn’t try to do the Fall Hiking Spree. Instead, we chose the Deer Run Trail at O’Neil Woods and set off. We had hiked this trail many times and it is a lovely hike with lots of ups and downs. Good exercise for a day with too much driving and a big supper with friends.
O’Neil Woods became a metro park in 1972 when William O’Neil, founder of General Tire and Rubber Company, and his wife Grace donated their 242-acre family farm to Metro Parks. Their son, Gerald O’Neil, served on the Board of Park Commissioners from 1969 to 1978. The O’Neil family had cattle and horses, and their old barn still stands. The park includes a portion of Yellow Creek, one of the cleanest tributaries to the Cuyahoga River. Although Deer Run Trail is the only trail in O’Neil Woods, it is also part of the Buckeye Trail, so it is particularly scenic.
Tom and I enjoyed our hike at O’Neil Woods very much. Other people were walking but we were all spread out along the two-mile trail so we didn’t really see anyone else. It was a beautiful, sunny day and a perfect hike for the afternoon.
After leaving O’Neil Woods, we met some Akron friends at Outback Steakhouse in Montrose. Although Tom and Esther Shuman were not able to come, we had a great time with Eric and Sandy Shaw, Susan Ross, and her soon-to-be fiancé Greg. It was the first time we had met Greg and we all enjoyed getting to know him. And, of course, all our food was delicious.
The Summit County Metro Parks are a wonderful resource in the Akron area. If you haven’t done it already, you should visit and take a hike!