The Akron and Canton area isn’t nationally known as being an outdoor destination — but it should be! We have some truly incredible hiking, biking, running and walking trails along with stunning fishing holes and sprawling campgrounds. Plus, we’re only a few miles away from the Cuyahoga National Park, which draws thousands of visitors to the area each year.
So, in our quest to put our beloved area on the map of must-visit outdoor destinations in the United States and to help you make the most of your surroundings, we’ve curated a complete guide to being outdoorsy in the Akron and Canton area. Happy adventuring!
Photo courtesy of Denny Williams via Quail Hollow Park
When you need to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, your best bet is to lace up your boots and hit the trails! There are tons of trails and Metro Parks within easy driving distance from the Canton and Akron area, allowing for a quick and easy outdoorsy escape. The trails in our area feature everything from stunning lake views and lush foliage to rolling meadows and unique carnivorous plants.
Our favorite hiking trails in the Akron & Canton area include:
1.) Cascade Valley Metropark
The Cascade Valley Metropark is one of the most gorgeous parks in the area. The park is complete with several places to camp, fish, bike, picnic and hike. If you’re new to hiking, try the Overlook Trail, a half-mile trail that provides spectacular views of the Cuyahoga River. For a more advanced adventure, head out to the Chuckery Trail, a 2.4-mile challenging loop that will allow you to glimpse the famous Indian Signal Tree before passing the river.
2.) Jackson State Nature Preserve
Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve is a 58-acre preserve located in northern Stark County and supports over 20 state-listed rare plants. This area is a stunning location for a summer stroll and will give you an opportunity to view and learn about a vast population of flowering and carnivorous plants!
3.) Quail Hollow Park
There’s no better place to experience Ohio’s incredible scenery than Quail Hollow Park in Hartville. The area offers over 700 acres of rolling meadows, marshes, scenic woodland trails and gardens. The lovely, 40-room H.B. Stewart family home is also located in the park and is now used for educational and community programs and events. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and features 5.4 miles of easy to traverse trails, including the Nature for All Trail, which is an asphalt paved trail perfect for any experience level!
The Akron and Canton area offers runners an abundance of options for getting in a little extra cardio. A nearby Metro Park would be a great place to start, but there are also some great running groups and clubs in the area that can help point you in the right direction. Consider joining the Second Sole Akrun, a group that meets every Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 7 a.m. at the North Portage Path. Or, head up to Cuyahoga Falls every Wednesday to participate in the weekly Falls Beer Run 5K and socialize with a pint afterward!
Our favorite running trails in the Akron & Canton area include:
1.) Sand Run Metro Park
Whether you’re looking to practice on-trail or off-trail running, you can do it at the Sand Run Metro Park. The area features both one-mile and two-mile trails along with numbered exercise stations that you can utilize during your workout. Plus, there are multiple hills in the area that you can use to your advantage (and the fantastic views from the top don’t hurt).
2.) Middle Branch Trail
Hike, bike, walk, run or jog on this 6.4-mile trail that connects neighborhoods with nature from Canton to Plain Township. The trail is mostly limestone and reinforced with asphalt in a few spots so you can count on a smooth workout. The trail runs north along the railroad tracks and meanders through Gervasi Vineyard past Rice’s Nursery and then loops around Plain Township’s Veterans Community Park — making it the perfect way to see the area on foot!
Photo courtesy of Tim Fitzwater via the Ohio & Erie Canal Way
There’s no better place in Ohio to be a cyclist than Canton and Akron. Not only do we have some of the best bike trails in the state, but we’re also incredibly bike-friendly. You can ride your bike almost anywhere in the area. Don’t have a bicycle yet? Not to worry, we also happen to be home to a few of the best bike shops around — including Ernie’s Bike Shop, a North Canton and Massillon staple since 1978.
Our favorite bike trails in the Akron & Canton area include:
1.) The Towpath Trail
For bicyclists, the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which is a trail that extends from Akron to Cleveland, offers 85+ miles to explore. The trail closely parallels the Cuyahoga River and the Tuscarawas River south of Akron. The terrain is smooth, perfect for those with families or for cyclist commuters, and passes through a variety of wooded environments and urban neighborhoods.
2.) Hampton Hills Metro Park Mountain Bike Area
The Hampton Hills Metro Park is home to the district’s first mountain bike trails that include beginner, moderate and intermediate sections. With about seven miles of rideable trails available, and plans to add more to the course, you won’t run out of spots in Hampton Hills to traverse on any time soon.
3.) Freedom Trail
Located along an unused railroad corridor, the Freedom Trail starts near Portage Hike and Bike Trail in Kent and extends six miles to Eastwood Avenue in Akron, with current plans to extend it even further to downtown near the University of Akron campus. Freedom Trail is not only a great way for humans to get around — bald eagles, coyotes and white-tailed deer also use the grounds as their home!
Sometimes a day in the great outdoors just isn’t enough, so why not make a weekend out of it? Gather friends or family, pull the sleeping bags out of the closet, and pitch your tent for a fun night under the stars. There is an abundance of incredible camping destinations around the area and even a few that are just a short drive away.
Our favorite camping destinations in the Akron & Canton area include:
1.) Akron Canton Jellystone Park
The Akron Canton Jellystone Park is a family-oriented camp and resort that features a water park, miniature golf and gem mining! Join Yogi Bear as you swim in the 500,000-gallon pool or eat homemade ice cream from the Pick-a-Nic Basket. Plus, you can make it a weekend affair by staying in one of their adorable cabins or by setting up a tent and enjoying the great outdoors!
2.) Clay’s Park Resort
This spacious, 500-acre resort offers an RV park, a campground, an event center and a water park, so no matter how you’re looking to spend your evening away, you’re sure to have a blast at Clay’s Park Resort! Settle into one of their custom-built canvas tents, each featuring one queen bed, one set of bunk beds and a day bed, along with a charcoal grill, a hammock, a fire ring and a picnic table. The area also boasts a stocked fishing lake, kayaks and canoe rentals, miniature golf, and a heated indoor pool.
3.) Cutty’s Sunset Camping Resort
Nestled near Louisville, this family-owned and -operated resort features full-service facilities and campsites. And, they just happen to be conveniently located near Ohio’s Amish Country, the Football Hall of Fame, the Hartville Flea Market and the Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery. Relax at their spacious filtered pool and Spray Park attraction before settling in your RV or tent and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere.
Photo courtesy of Dawn Despoth-Frank via Pier 619
One thing that we don’t have a shortage of in Ohio is creeks, lakes and reservoirs! And what better way to explore those incredible waterways than by kayak?
Our favorite spots to go kayaking in the Akron & Canton area include:
1.) Portage Lakes
With over 400 acres of stunning scenery, Portage Lakes offers a variety of outdoor experiences from boating and swimming to fishing and kayaking! There are several places you can rent kayaks in the area, but we recommend Pier 619, where rentals are just $15 an hour and you can pick up some essential snacks at their convenience store right on the lake.
2.) Gorge Metro Park
One of our favorite places to visit any time of the year is the Gorge Metro Park in Cuyahoga Falls. While it’s a little bit of a drive from Akron and Canton, we promise it’s worth it. The remarkable rock structures and views of the Cuyahoga River are some of the most magnificent sites in Ohio!
All of those spectacular water destinations in our area also happen to house plenty of fish! Whether you’re a traditional angler or a fly-fishing enthusiast — there are plenty of places to drop your line in Akron and Canton.
Our favorite fishing destinations in the Akron & Canton area include:
1.) Berlin Lake Wildlife Area
This gorgeous, 8,518-acre wildlife area is situated in Akron on land adjacent to Berlin Lake. The area offers a multitude of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, running and so much more, but we can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than fishing on Berlin Lake. There, you’ll find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, bluegill, white bass and several other types of fish along with some spectacular views for you to enjoy while you’re relaxing.
2.) Petros Lake Park
Picnic, play, hike and fish on over 127 acres of water and rolling meadows at Petros Lake Park. When you visit, enjoy using the two covered picnic shelters, a sand volleyball court, a loop trail around the lake and several short nature trails. Fishing aficionados will love settling themselves on the water and bringing out a few of the trout that live under the surface.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Conti via Boston Mills and Brandy Wine Ski Areas
Skiing? In Ohio? You bet! When the weather gets chilly, make your way to one of Ohio’s ski areas to get a few laps in. One of our favorite skiing destinations in Ohio is just a hop, skip and jump away in Cuyahoga Falls — the Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Areas.
Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Areas
Boston Mills and Brandywine are sister resorts and are located within a five-minute drive of each other. The resorts’ locations make it possible to venture to both in the same day if you wish! Combined, the resorts boast 88 skiable acres, 18 trails, four terrain parks, and several advanced trails. Like most Ohio resorts, Boston Mills and Brandywine offer night skiing, but unlike other resorts, the trails are open until 1 a.m. in January and February. Get ready for some late-night winter adventures!
Enjoy your adventure!
Did we miss your favorite outdoor destination in the Canton and Akron area? Let us know in the comments!