Nine places you must visit to see the fall foliage in Ohio

The encounter with nature you were waiting for

Autumn is here.


Javier Luna


Jan 21, 2021

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It's been an unconventional year for many reasons. But there is one thing that is not changing: the fall foliage. Summer is over, the fall just started. We have learned so much from the people around us and ourselves during the last six months, so we are ready to evolve and be the best version of ourselves. Similarly, nature is offering us the gift of looking at its transition from green to orange, from wet to dry. This time of the year is always exciting because of the warm color palette across forests, pumpkin cheesecakes, and warm sweaters. 

But due to the fact that most of us spent several days at home with minimum contact with nature and the enriching sunlight, the fall foliage is an excellent opportunity for us to go outside, not forgetting that we must practice social distance and follow safety measures. But reconnecting to nature is important for our mental health after all the craziness of this year. So make some time in your planner to take a little break from whatever you are doing. Here we have quite a few places where you can enjoy the fall foliage with company or by yourself. 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

A breath of clean air

The forest surrounding Blue Hen Falls. Image Courtesy of Erik Drost.

Ohio, United States | (440) 717-3890 |

With over 125 miles of hiking trails and 33,000 acres of contained forest, this park is a great destination for the whole family to appreciate the fall foliage. This place is the home of a vast diversity of animals like frogs, salamanders, raccoons, and squirrels. Close to the wetlands, you may see spotted turtles or northern water snakes. No poisonous snakes have been seen in the park. So just be kind and respectful with the animals and plants around you. 

If you are planning to stay there for more than one day, take a look at the itinerary that is recommended for families and groups who want to take advantage of all the fun things to do here!

Great park! Saw Brandywine Falls, the covered bridge, the Overlook, and visited Szalay's Farm Market. Gorgeous park, wished we had more time to spend here. Yelp Review

Rocky River Nature Center in North Olmsted

A neat experience for the whole family

Autumn at Rocky River Nature Center. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks.

24000 Valley Pkwy, North Olmsted, OH 44070-4600 | +1 440-734-6660 |

Despite industrialization, there are still a few natural destinations that have remained untouched throughout the years. The Nature Center has breathtaking views of a 360 million year cliff! As if it was a trip to the past, you can check out the exhibits of early inhabitants and prehistoric species such as the Dunkleosteus. There are five miles of hiking trails where you can enjoy the fall foliage and have a good time with your friends or family. Also, there is an auditorium with a capacity of 100 people available for rental, so it is a nice option for school field trips as well. 

While I've only been inside the nature center once, it was a neat experience. Lots of things to check out and explore, especially if you're a little kid. Make sure you check out the Cleveland Metroparks website for a calendar listing of their fun (and educational) events! Yelp Review

The Ohio & Erie Canalway

Pedestrians and cyclists are equally welcome

Richard Howe House, 47 W Exchange St, Akron, OH 44308, USA |  +1 330-374-5657 |

This is an exceptional place for people who love birds. You can find more than 250 different bird species in this park alone, including the bald eagle and the great blue heron. Before you go make sure to take a look at the ABA Code of Birding Ethics, where you can read about the taxonomy of these birds, and how to make sure you are not disturbing these little folks. Another highlight of this place is the 85+ miles biking trail, where you can enjoy the fall breeze while working out on your bike. Camping, boating, hiking, and running are a few other activities that visitors enjoy doing at this place. There are so many options to choose from!

The trail here is a mix of crushed stone and paved surface; pedestrians and cyclists are equally welcome. You'll also see horses sharing the trail at times as well. Yelp Review

Brecksville Reservation

Fun and beautiful

9000 Chippewa Rd, Brecksville, OH 44141 | 440.526.1012 |\

Hiking with your best friends in the Fall at the Brecksville Reservation. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks.

Cottonwoods, willows, and sycamores of Chippewa Creek's flat floodplain are some of the beauties you will encounter here. The Brecksville Reservation is the largest of all 18 Cleveland Metroparks, it offers historical landmarks, and scenic overlooks. Due to the enormous variety of soil and sunlight conditions, there are endangered and exotic plants that you can appreciate. Enjoy your autumn road trip by hiking in one of their many trails, some of which go across the Buckeye Trail. If you are open to other outdoor activities, the Sleepy Hollow Golf Course and Seneca Golf Course are part of this reservation as well.  

If you want to hike, hike here. Chippewa creek has some of the biggest boulders around! First, you hike down the hill from the Brecksville Reservation, which is fun and beautiful. Then, you go rock climbing down the river. Hot? Jump in the water and cool off. Yelp Review

Bridal Veil Falls Scenic Overlook

Watch and listen what nature’s telling you

Bedford Reservation Walton Hills, OH | 216-635-3200 |

The sound of the Bride Veil Falls in the middle of the forest. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks.

This place's name comes after the rapid waters moving effortlessly and romantically like a bride's veil. Its sound is as engaging and poetic as a bride walking down the aisle. Its memorable view is something you don't want to miss this fall. In the middle of a landscape of hardwoods and hemlocks, there is a comfortable hiking trail that is family-friendly and doesn't require a lot of walking. It would take no more than 25 minutes from the parking lot to the waterfalls, so if you don't want to walk a lot to enjoy the fall foliage, this is an excellent option for you! The contrast of the warm colors of the fall with these waterfalls is totally Instagram worthy. 

Gorgeous falls and even the stream underneath the crossing bridge stops you in your tracks. This wasn't as busy as the other falls we visited, and the walk down to it is super short! Yelp Review

Patterson Farm

A very sweet experience

Chesterland farm hosts Fun Fest Patterson Fruit Farm has an eclectic range  of kid-friendly activities -
Pumpkins at the farm. Image Courtesy of Image Courtesy of Cleveland.

11414 Caves Road, Chesterland, Ohio, 44026  | 440-729-1964 |

One of the best things about a farm is that the activities change throughout the year, so there are several things to do when visiting the Patterson Farm. From Labor Day to mid-October, you can go and pick up your own apples. Between the second week of June and the fourth of July, you will be able to pick up your own fresh strawberries. There are school tours available as well as senior programs that you can reserve in advance. If you love this place that much, you must know that the farm offers a banquet room for receptions for up to 160 guests. Graduations, wedding ceremonies, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, and many other celebrations have taken place in the Orchard Hills Center, that is part of the Patterson Farm. It must be a truly memorable experience!

I love Patterson's. I have great memories when I visit Cleveland, taking my nieces and nephew here for the fall festival. We go and pick apples, play on the rides they provide, and get treats; it's an excellent time for kids. Yelp Review

Maumee Valley Scenic Byway

A scenic byway that is timeless

Driving across the autumn in Ohio. Columbus Navigator.

5100 Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615  | 

Native Americans, missioners, and explorers from countries like France and Great Britain traveled across this waterway. The Maumee is one of the largest rivers, and the parks around it turn into orange and yellow in October. Driving across the Maumee Valley Scenic Byway is a great option for those who don't want to be in crowded places or interact with other visitors just yet. 

You just need a car to drive across this 59-mile route with breathtaking landscapes. A point of interest in this route is the Fort Meigs State Memorial, one of the largest reconstructed forts in the United States. This fort housed supplies for the soldiers, and later became a focal point of the war back in 1812. Also, you can stop at the Hood Park, which holds the Monument to Civil War Soldiers and Sailors of Perrysburg Township, which is definitely an underrated stop in Ohio. 

Absolutely AMAZING!!! This is a MUST for anyone going to Toledo! Yelp Review

Fort Hill Airworks and Nature Preserve

1300 acres of peace of mind

13614 Fort Hill Rd, Hillsboro, OH 45133  | 800.283.8905  |

The forest interacts with the water peacefully, Image Courtesy of Trek Ohio.

With 1300 acres, Fort Hills presumes to be some of the best hiking trails in the state. Fort Hill has been nicely preserved since the American Indians of the Hopewell Culture built its structure over 2,000 years ago. If you're up for a challenge, you should make it to the top of the Hopewell Hill, where you can appreciate the nature around you of one of the largest and oldest forests of the state. 

If you're lucky, you'll see the paw paw trees dropping their fruit! The Fort Hill Earthworks are three earthen walls and ditches on a shale cliff above the Rocky River. You can access the earthworks through the famous Fort Hill stairs, and you can bring your dogs as long as you keep them on a leash at all times.

I have been a regular visitor to this site since 1975. The trails are generally well maintained and easy to follow. Yelp Review

The Malabar Farm State Park

Humans and animals being friends

A little girl found a new friend. Image Courtesy of Richland Source.

4050 Bromfield Rd, Lucas, OH 44843 | +1 419-892-2784 |

This State Park has been considered a landmark since 1939. The campground suits pets and horses. You'll see most of the animals that have been living on that farm since the 1940s, such as cows, horses, turkeys, goats, sheep, and pigs. Some facilities include picnic tables, fire rings, water, and restrooms. You can also visit the park exhibits like the 1:1000 model relief that shows the diversity of the land; or you can take a look at the Victory Gardens, which supplied food for many families during World War II. Other activities include hiking and wildlife viewing. The Malabar Farm State Park is a great destination for families who like to do different activities together. You won't regret it!

This farm is so beautiful. It was a great experience being able to have access to the house and the animals. A really cute cat followed me around. The buildings and areas are well manicured. Yelp Review

The options are many, but the ultimate goal is for you to have a great time and appreciate this exciting time of the year outdoors. With a fresh breeze, a warm coffee, and your favorite hiking shoes, get ready for the encounter with nature you were waiting for!

October 1, 2020
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