North Olmsted, Cuyahoga County
Take Valley Parkway North of Bagley Road to the Rocky River Nature Center. After parking, walk past the nature center to the trail.
Length: 1.3 miles
Duration: 2 hours
Type: Loop Trail-Hiking
Difficulty: hard (over 140 stairs)
Accessibility: The trail is not accessible because of the large number of stairs.
From the top of Fort Hill, you will see spectacular views of the Rocky River, with shale cliffs towering over 100 feet above the river.
Though it is a steep climb up over 140 stairs, hiking the Fort Hill Loop Trail is well worth the work. If the trek up the stairs does not take your breath away, views of the Rocky River, some 100 feet beow certainly will. As you climb the stairs, you will note that the woods is a diverse mixture of trees. Once you reach the top, the forest is dominated by red oaks, with a number of young white oaks mixed in as well.
A small deck allows you to overlook the remains of ancient indian fortifications. The site of Fort Hill, named for the old fortifications, is perfectly situated for defense. With steep walls of exposed shale, and good views of the river, the prehistoric americans living here would have been able to easily stave off hostile visitors. It is pretty easy to imagine what it might have been like living here during prehistoric times. Other than an occassional low-flying jet (Cleveland Hopkins Airport is close) it feels like you are a thousand years removed from our busy, stress-filled world.
The lush forest growth harbors a variety of animals such as the Red-eyed Vireo, Downy Woodpecker, Baltimore Oriole, Catbird, and Pee Wee's. Because of all the nearby edges, you are also likely to see an occasional Cowbird.
In more open areas of the forest, you may see some grasses that look sort of like a stiff brush used to clean bottles or test-tubes in a laboratory. Any idea about what this grass may be called? You guessed it- Bottle-brush Grass.
While you are hiking this great nature trail, check out the West Channel Pond Loop Trail, which is accessible from the Fort Hill Loop Trail. You should also explore the Rocky River Nature Center while you are here enjoying the outdoors.
West Channel Pond Loop Trail
Mount Pleasant Loop Trail
Shepard Lane Trail
Wildlife Management Loop Trail
Cedar Point Loop Trail
Woodland Loop Trail
Lagoon Loop Trail
Rocky River All Purpose Trail