Your fall adventure bucket list isn’t complete without a visit to these Lake Metroparks hot spots in their autumnal glory

Lake Metro Oct
Photography: Sandra Dulla

By Mimi Vanderhaven

What does one autumn leaf say to another?

I’m falling for you.

Pardon the cheesy joke, darlings, but Mimi is falling—head over stiletto heels for the breathtaking seasonal colors that are near-peak and right outside your doorstep.

In Lake County, we are particularly blessed with an eclectic variety of trees, from vibrant sugar and red maples to tupelos, sassafras, witch hazel and hickory.

Since going to those in the know is how Mimi rolls, I caught up with Lake Metroparks Park Biologist Megan Hart to find out where the choice spots are for leaf-peeping.

  • Best Family Destination: “Penitentiary Glen in Kirtland offers child-friendly paths. There is also Nature Play, which are areas that encourage children to experience playtime in a natural setting,” she says.
  • Most Romantic Spot: From the Girdled Road Reservation North Platform in Concord Township, you and your better half can enjoy splendid views overlooking the Big Creek Valley below.
  • For the Serious Adventurer: Megan says there is a rugged trail specifically for mountain bikers at Hogback Ridge Park in Madison, beginning at the northern entrance. For regular bikers, anywhere along the meandering 4.8-mile paved Greenway Corridor would provide lovely overlooks. Don’t miss the 35-foot Chair Factory Falls in Painesville, which is surrounded by a canopy of red and yellow maple trees.
  • Prime Hiking: Girdled Road Reservation and the Hell Hollow Wilderness Area offer steep hills and a challenging hike. Get your cardio on by traversing the 262 steep steps that run down into Hell Hollow.

According to the 2022 Fall Foliage Prediction Map, peak leaf viewing in Northeast Ohio will be the week of October 17.

Bottom line? The time is now to grab a blanket and thermos of cider and get out to soak in the masterpiece painting that nature is serving up. Because before you know it, the only color we’ll be seeing outdoors will be white.

In addition to protecting watersheds and open space, Lake Metroparks annually provides more than 4 million visitors with countless recreational and educational experiences at diverse facilities. For more information visit