Bedford, Ohio (Cuyahoga County)
Park at the Sagamore Grove Picnic Area on Sagamore Road, Egbert Picnic Area on Gorge Parkway, Bridal Veil Falls, or any number of other spots in Bedford Reservation.
- Length: 9.7 miles.
- Duration: 4-5 hours.
- Surface: Natural.
- Type: In and back, or through hike and arrange for a second vehicel at your end point.
- Difficulty: moderate to difficult
- Accessibility: no
The Buckeye Trail is a 1400 mile trail that circles the entire state of Ohio. It is maintened by the Buckeye Trail Association. The trail goes through park areas and natural habitats where possible, and along roads and other rights-of-way when a more wild route is not available. The hiking trail is marked with blue blazes of paint on trees or poles.
This particular section of the Buckeye Trail is located within Bedford Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks. Situated along the Tinker’s Creek Gorge, which is a National Natural Landmark, this rugged trail offers hikers the opportunity to experience primeval nature as it might have been 10,000 years ago. The trail takes the hiker through deep hemlock forests, and along tributary streams of Tinker’s Creek.
Tinker’s Creek is the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River. This stream carved a deep valley from the glacial soils left over from the last glacial incursion into Ohio, which ended about 14,000 years ago. The cool sheltered forests of the Tinker’s Creek Gorge and the ravines that feed their water into Tinker’s Creek are home to assemblages of plant species more common in northern or mountainous areas. In these ravines, you will find hemlocks, yellow birch, partridge berries, and many more plant species. The forests along this stretch of the Buckeye Trail are predominantly beech-maple-hemlock woods, with some drier or warmer aspects developing as oak-hickory forests.
One special sight is the overlook at Bridal Veil Falls. This beautiful waterfall sheet flows over the 30 feet of shale that separate the top from the bottom of the falls. Hemlocks line the ridge above the falls, and filter the light in a startling other-worldly way. Hikers just wanting to glimpse the falls can access them from a small parking lot on Gorge Parkway. Just cross the parkway from the Bridal Veil Falls Overlook parking lot and walk about a quarter mile doen a trail that includes stairs and a wooden observation deck.
Besides the spectacular view of Bridal Veil Falls, this rugged section of the Buckeye Trail allows hikers the opportunity to observe such tree species as Tulip Tree, Basswood, Red Maple, Black Maple, Sugar Maple, Black Oak, Red Oak, Scarlet Oak, White Oak, Beech, Ironwood, Cucumber Tree and several species of Hickories. Herbaceous growth varies with the conditions along the trail. This area has been negatively impacted by excessive deer browsing, so wildflower populations are less grand than in past years. However, there are still wonderful spring and late season wildlfowers to observe.
For example, near the falls you may see in August and September the yellow touch-me-not (Impatiens pallida). Silverrod(Solidago bicolor), bottlebrush grass, colt’s foot and several species of wild lettuce (Prenanthes sp.)may be found blooming along the trail, while the blue flowers of Great Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)may be found along streamsides in August and September. Whether you are looking for wildflowers, trees, wildlife, or peace and tranquility, you are likely to find it when you explore nature along this hiking Trail in Bedford Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks.