With so many to choose from, Destination Toledo is showcasing our Metroparks in a Two-Part Series!
What can be better than getting some fresh air and exercise while surrounded by the beauty of nature? Toledo is blessed with the perfect location on the Maumee River and Lake Erie boasting an wealth of unique and diverse habitat, hiking trails and wildlife viewing. Visitors can anticipate plenty of deer sightings and songbirds, but don’t be surprised to see eagles, osprey and tons of water fowl while visiting our phenomenal Metroparks Toledo.
Since there are an abundance of Metroparks sprinkled throughout the Toledo region – 16, count them, 16 – to discover, Destination Toledo is presenting the first eight in a two-part series to get you started on your perfect outdoor adventure. Here’s the scoop on the first half, in alphabetical order:
*Please note, currently all Metroparks Toledo remain open 7 a.m. to dark, however restrictions are in place related to COVID-19. Currently, all Metroparks restrooms and playgrounds are closed. Please see Metroparks Toledo's Coronavirus Update page for additional information. Metroparks experiencing high volumes of visitors are subject to periodic closures, so if one is closed please plan to visit a different park. Parks are appropriate places to go during the Stay at Home Order, but only if we keep a safe distance from one another.*
Bend View is perfect for those up for a bit of adventure, as you can make the 2.2 mile trek from Farnsworth to Bend View, or about six miles from Providence on the Towpath Trail. Your efforts will be rewarded with what some describe as the best view on the Maumee. The park is also quickly accessible from its entrance on the Anthony Wayne Trail.
Pro Tip: Cyclists take note; the Towpath Trail is an 18-mile round-trip.
For those who desire some quiet reflection, then Blue Creek fits the bill. Enjoy this peaceful country retreat while walking a looped trail through a wetland and around a quarry pond, or drop a fishing line or launch a kayak at a larger quarry.
Pro Tip: Highlights not to miss include glacial grooves and the oak savanna. A focal point is a 20,873-square-foot barn built in the late 1920s.
Fallen Timbers Battlefield at Ft. Miamis
History and nature unite at Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Ft. Miamis. The park is made up of the battlefield, Fallen Timbers Monument, Fort Miamis (a Maumee city park) and Fallen Timbers Monument; each is reminiscent of a substantial turning point in our nation’s history.
Pro Tip: Cyclists can hop on Wabash Cannonball Trail, Northwest Ohio's premier rails-to-trails project. It is one of the longest in the state, stretching 64-miles through four counties and Oak Openings.
Farnsworth is a narrow park perfect for a scenic bike ride or hike along the Maumee River offering views of Missionary, Butler and Indian islands. Your travels along the Towpath Trail connects you with more adventures at Bend View and Providence Metroparks. Enjoy fishing, overnight camping and historical WPA buildings and bridges. You can event rent kayaks by the hour at the Kayak Concession; check website for hours.
Pro Tip: Experience the ultimate escape with a stay in the Granger Island Cabin, a 400 ft. cabin located on it's own private island in the middle of the Maumee River.
Howard Marsh is a nature lover’s paradise with six-miles of water trails for kayaking or canoeing along with five-miles of dike-top hiking trails. Once a working farm, the park is now restoring the region’s natural wetlands, known for its annual spring migration of warblers.
Pro Tip: Bird watchers will want to keep an eye out for the elusive black neck stilts and yellow headed blackbirds, both rare to this region.
Located in downtown Toledo, Middlegrounds is a waterfront oasis offering a 1.5-mile meandering walk/bike path providing great photo opportunities of the Maumee River. The urban, 28-acre greenspace features the Metroparks’ first Off-leash Dog Area providing a separate fenced area for small and large dogs.
Pro Tip: Middlegrounds is one of the northernmost stops on the Maumee River Water Trail. Pick a starting point like the drop-in at Orleans (8.8 mi.) and finish in the heart of downtown.
The largest of all 16 Metroparks, Oak Opening’s habitat is also the most diverse. Dry, hot sand dunes just yards away from low, wet swales make the Oak Openings Region the subject of endless fascination for naturalists. Traverse the All Purpose Trail, a stone surfaced multi-purpose trail connecting Mallard Lake and Evergreen Lake, with a three-mile loop that passes the sand dunes. Cyclists of all skill levels and ages should experience the Beach Ridge Trail at Oak Openings, a 12-mile trail with optional obstacles for more experienced riders.
Pro Tip: Oak Openings is a birder's paradise and the nesting place of bluebirds, indigo buntings, whippoorwills, lark sparrows and many other species, as well as an excellent location to see migrating songbirds in the spring.
Perfect for families and birders alike, Pearson is one of the last remaining stands of the Great Black Swamp and a favorite stopover for a wide variety of migrating birds. Families will enjoy exploring nature on three-miles of trails great for biking and hiking along with the Windows on Wildlife, fishing and a playground. The thick woods and location close to Lake Erie make Pearson the perfect park to view some of the best birding anywhere.
Pro Tip: Pedal around the pond at Pearson on charming Pedal Boats Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Walkers, runners, bicyclists, hikers and families will all enjoy the many miles of trails available at Metroparks Toledo. Just off I-75 and I-80/I-90, Toledo is one hour south of Detroit and two hours west of Cleveland. Start planning your trip to Toledo by requesting a copy of our 2020 Official Visitors Guide or check out the digital version now.
All Photos Courtesy of Metroparks Toledo.