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The Maple Highlands Trail consists of 3 separate segments totaling more than 18 miles. A majority of the trail follows an abandoned Baltimore & Ohio Railroad corridor through a mostly rural landscape, heavily wooded in places.
The paved northern section parallels State Route 44 between Colburn Road, where the trail transitions seamlessly into the Lake Metroparks Greenway Corridor, and 5th Avenue in Chardon. Between Clark Road and Hosford Road, a spur trail heads east to a parking lot at 9280 Ravenna Road.
The middle section of the Maple Highlands Trail runs between South Street/SR 44 in Chardon, through Headwaters Park, Grandview Golf Club, and down to Middlefield, where it ends near State Route 608/Old State Road and E. High Street. This paved stretch of trail passes through woodlands, wetlands and cultivated fields. East of Claridon Road, a spur trail heads north to parking at the Mountain Run Station trailhead on Chardon-Windsor Road.
After a short gap in Middlefield, the trail picks up again and ends a short distance later at Madison Road/State Route 528.
In the future, the gaps in the trail in Chardon and Middlefield will be eliminated. Ultimately, the Maple Highlands Trail will extend roughly 20 miles from the Lake County line to Reeves Road in Parkman Township.
For the northern section: From Interstate 90, exit at SR 44, heading south 3.2 miles to Clark Road. Turn east on Clark and go to Ravenna Road; turn right and go about 1 mile to the parking lot on the right (west). There's also room for a few cars at a trailhead for the Lake Metroparks Greenway Corridor off Girdled Road just north of the Maple Highlands Trail’s northern trailhead on Colburn Road.
For the middle section: From Chardon, take S. Hambden Street to Chardon-Windsor Road and turn right (south) just past Mel Harder Park. The trailhead parking lot is located at 12601 Chardon-Windsor Road, which will be on your left about 100 yards east of Mel Harder Park.
Parking can also be found in Headwaters Park at 13365 Old State Road/SR 608.
Other than the short stretch of Bridge Road that links Swine Creek to Middlefield, the trail is now paved south from Mountain Run.
However, as of May 2018, there were a couple 1 to 2-foot sections of the trail that'd been cut out for some sort of maintenance and filled with gravel, which had started to wash out due to rain. I found these jarring - even on my mountain. Recommend roadies either dismount, or slow to a near stop so you can see the terrain.
Also, Bridge Road is in rougher condition due to the presence of buggies - but this can be ridden on a road bike with a little extra care so as to not wipe out in a rut, or road apples! Hybrids and mountain bikes will have no issue here.
I've ridden on this trail numerous times. The latest was in May 2017. I rode 31 miles (out and back) between Middlefield and Chardon in Geauga County, Ohio. This used to be an old B & O rail line. This seems to be a hidden gem as I rode for almost an hour and a half before encountering anyone else on the trail. The trail is divided into 3 sections. The northern section north of Chardon, OH is paved and connects up to the southern section of the Lake Metroparks Greenway. After a gap in the center of Chardon, the paved central section of the trail heads east and south until it arrives at Headlands Park on the East Branch Reservoir. The surface of southern section of the trail is mostly hard-packed dirt/crushed limestone that extends the trail from the reservoir to Swine Creek Reservation part of the Geauga County Park District south of Middlefield, Ohio. This part of the trail can get rough due to ruts left by Amish buggies utilizing the trail. Look for lots of wildlife throughout and mosquitos in the southern section as the trail travels through swampy wetlands north of Middlefield.
I jumped on at Maple Highlands Trail and headed south on my hybrid bike. One of the first things you see is a very well detailed map kiosk, and a convenient bike repair station. Getting on the trail you'll notice very nice pavement. Center painted line. Mile markers painted on the ground, as well as statement on the ground reminding about courteous passing. This section of trail is well kept, and modern looking. From the multiple benches, to the wooden fencing along some of the edges of the trail. All were in quite good shape. Dog walkers are apparently responsible about cleaning up after their pets as well. No landmines to dodge. The scenery is not awesome, but good. Lots of woods and shade. Some cool covered bridges. Map kiosks at nearly every intersection that I recall. Some road crossings, but nothing major. Very peaceful ride. Very good condition and presented well.
I get to the transition just south of Headwaters Park, and it's a whole different scene. The nice paved path gives way to dirt, rocks, mud, and horse ploppies. I continue on as my bike is equipped to handle some offroad terrain. I also wasn't ready to turn back and wanted to see how this turns out. The rough terrain lasted quite a bit. And when I say rough, it's pretty rough. Not like crushed hard packed gravel on most non paved trails. Forget about it if you have a road bike or don't have suspension. Multi-Use Path takes a new meaning when a horse and buggy shares the path. I saw 4 and was only on that section for less than an hour. My turnaround point was reaching downtown Middlefield as there was no clear direction on where to proceed. Kinda glad, because I was tired of the terrible path conditions. Headed back up the bumpy dirt road. I don't regret exploring that section, but I won't ever do it again. If they ever pave it (or a least better gravel), make better connectors, and better signage, I'll come back. Even if it's still shared with the horses. I could tolerate dealing with the ploppies if other aspects are tended to. Kinda strange that there's signs to clean up after your pets, yet horse piles are ok. Either way, I realize it's Amish country, and can absolutely tolerate the issue and respect them and their turf.
I didn't attempt the Northern section, as by the time I got back near my Car, I was tired from the offroading in the south.
Loved the Central, though it's a bit too short for me to return to just for that. This trail was about 45 minutes from me, and I have better options closer by. However, I'll pay attention to this trail's future. If everything eventually became properly connected and the south improved, I'd definitely revisit.
Great path that starts at Big Creek Park in Chardon. The paved path currently ends at Headwaters Park in Huntsburg. The rest of the path is hard packed dirt, gravel and limestone and is rutted up by buggy tracks. I am told completion trail (through Middlefield, Parkman and ending at Swine Creek Reservation) will make the entire paved trail 20 miles and is scheduled to be ready June 2018. Watch for deer, rabbits, ground hogs and other critters scurrying across the path. 4 covered bridges in the center section of the trail, with Mountain Road Cycle sitting in Chardon in case of repairs. Love this trail.
April 2016 we biked on the paved Central Section which is 8.2 miles in length. Started in Chardon and crossed the several covered bridges out of Chardon. We stopped at Mountain Run Station where there is a large parking lot, picnic areas, restroom and fix it (bike repair) station. Back on the trail we came upon the highest elevation point. Finished at Headwaters Park. Headwaters park has another large parking lot, restrooms and picnic areas. Boating on the lake as well. We saw some rollerbladers on the trail which is suitable for rollerblading (Central section, which is paved.) Trail clearly marked every half mile. Signs with maps posted along the trail as well. Eateries in Chardon about 1/2 mile from the trail, you have to bike on the road to get to them.
We rode on the (newer) South Section. Mid-April, 2016. Parked at Headwaters Park. We crossed the highway and entered the trail at the closed Grandview Golf Course. This section of the trial is not paved. Was a mud hole and could have been graded with at least some gravel. Trail is also shared by horses and horse and buggies which may contribute to the poor condition of the trail. Dirt trail goes through a nice wooded area and has 2 beautiful covered bridges along it. Passed some Amish farms. They are friendly and will wave. We biked approx 3 miles into the village of Middlefield. In Middlefield there are eateries and an ice cream shop, quaint shoppes, a dollar store, pharmacy and donut shop. We had lunch at a pizza place in the village. Just a cute little village. After lunch returned back on the trial. Back to Headwaters Park. At the park (which is free) there is a large lake for boating, picnic areas, brand new rest rooms and a brand new closed pavilion for rental.
Started the ride at Swine Creek park, part of the great geauga county park system. rode north bound. The trail surface here is hard pack and loose sand and limestone screenings its like this to where the trail comes in to middlefield. Would be a rough ride on a road bike or hybrid as for mountain bikes or fat bikes you ll be in heaven. Getting thru Middlefield can be a bit of a task if you do not know the town the route back to the trail head behind the town grill is not real well marked. north of middlefield the trail surface becomes harder packed and smooths out. has a steady but easy climb to the burton winsor road crossing (burton station for locals). one of the nicest touches of this trail are the covered bridges on the water crossings really fits with the style of geauga county area . The ride thru grandview golf course is interesting and golfers are friendly with greetings this brings us to Headwaters park another jewel in the geauga parks system here the maple highlands turns to an asphalt paved trail. to me it loses some of its charm, But i ride a Phat Bike i like the off the beaten path feel
Great ride as always! One of the nicest trails Ohio has to offer. We parked at Mountain Run where there are numerous parking spots. Also restrooms and picnic area. We biked up (literally)to the trail. The trail goes uphill to the highest point. Worth every pump though. When you get to the highest point, it's downhill to Headwaters Park. Nice paved trail is wide open and has some covered bridges. Trail extends from Headwaters park across the road through the golf course. Is gravel but not bad. We only went a short way. Heading back from Headwaters to Mountain run you have that uphill to the highest point then it's a breeze downhill to Mountain Run. Just a nice country trail in Ohio. If you get a chance, in Middlefield there is a cheese store (Middlefield Cheese) and you can get awesome sandwiches there, fresh made.
We ride sections of this trail frequently. Mostly the Chardon and Middlefield areas. The Mountain Station parking is well kept with restrooms and picnic tables. But for another treat ride trail to Rt. 44 and turn left, less than a 1/4 mile to enjoy a drink or meal at Bass Lake Tavern- outdoor patio seating in summer! The overall trail is flat and easy to navigate. Benches along the way provide breaks. Lots of wildlife and mother nature can be seen (cornfields, wildflowers, deer, turkey, etc.)
First time for me to see and ride the newest extension. Very excited for the next phase to the rest of Mtn Run. Love it though heading south from Girdled provides a nice challenge. Thanks park district for your work. Very appreciated
We started at Tare Creek in Middlefield and rode north to 322. The first few miles had some muddy spots since it had rained just a few days prior, but it was still a very enjoyable trail to ride. This section had two (newer) covered bridges and traveled through some very scenic countryside. It was very quiet and serene.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the trail continues through the Grandview Country Club area such that we did not have to travel any roads (despite how it looks on the maps, it really does continue all the way up to the paved section north of State).
It was a great trail for beginners who aren't crazy about hills - even at the few road crossings, the trail was much more level than most others I've been on. I'm definitely looking forward to riding this one more.
I ride this trail 3-5 times a week when the weather is warm. It is split into 3 sections:
North, Colburn Rd. to 5th Ave.
Central, South St/Mountain Run Station to Headwaters Park
South, Headwaters Park to Swine Creek Reservation
I only do the Central portion, round trip for this is about 17 miles if you start at Mountain Run Station. The North & Central portions are split by having to go through downtown Chardon, I'd rather not deal with the traffic. The South portion has been recently added, I have not tried it yet, but the fact that it is not paved and open to horses makes me leery of going on it. I might wait until the rainy season is over to make sure it is at least dry before testing it out.
The Central trail is very good for all kinds of bikes. The trails is paved and very flat for the most part. Slight incline depending on where you are on the trail, nothing strenuous. Scenery is beautiful, depending on the time of day you will see wildlife like wild turkeys, deer, geese, turtles, rabbits & snakes (there was a sighting of a bear a couple of years ago, very strange seeing the sheriff's car on the trail warning users). There are 4 roads you will cross, not much traffic on any of them except the Mayfield Rd. crossing - there is a paving company here with trucks entering/exiting the facility on both sides of the road after a recent expansion. Not too bad but you need to be careful. You will go over 3 covered bridges if you do the full Central portion of the trail.
Users of the trail for the most part are easy to get along with, everyone seems to follow the trail rules. Be sure to announce passing. The only place it bunches up is at Mountain Run Station & Headwaters Park. At times families or people who have never been on the trail are all over the path, can't seem to get the concept of the painted center line. The only time this is really bad is on holidays and weekends between 11-3ish. Early morning/evening is the best time to ride the trail in my opinion. There are facilities (relatively clean for what they are) at Mountain Run Station and a water spout at South St. Mountain Run Station also has a pavilion & picnic tables, nice place to hang out after a ride. Make sure you bring a cell phone and/or basic repair kit, if you break down you will not be near anywhere depending on where you are on the trail.
Horrible! This should not even be called a bike trail. I imagine the northern section is nice, but we never got there!
DO NOT bother with the southern section out of Swine Creek. It is an AMISH BUGGY TRAIL/HORSE TRAIL only! The trail is so torn up and rutted that my mountain bike couldn't even get through. It is LOOSE limestone and an awful surface for bikes. We rode about 1/2 mile and put the bikes back on the car... wasted day.
To Geauga Parks Department: why would you allow horses and buggies on a bike trail? Bad idea.
This was our first time biking this trail and we loved it! We did the middle portion, or the moutain run section, leaving out the north part near Rt 44 and the last 5 miles south of Headwater Park. I have not been biking in a while and the ride was perfect.
Trail was clean and in good shape. The parking lot just east of Mel Harder Park in Chardon has lot's of spaces, picnic tables and clean bathrooms.
The leaves of autumn were gorgeous and we saw a snake and lot's of wooly-bears on the trail! Picnicked at Headwaters Park and rode thru the park's trail to check out the camping options (nice!). Great day.....will be back with the kids!
This is a lovely asphalt trail with wonderful covered bridges over roads and the Cuyahoga River. However, the north and south sections are not connected, the road to the north trailhead was closed, with no signs pointing to a detour for the trailhead, and we had to drive around for quite a while before we found Mountain Run Park which is the trailhead for the southern section just south of downtown Chardon. We got the feeling that Chardon didn't want us there. The trail itself is very nice, but hard to find.
The trail is clean and well kept, and when you are not enclosed by tall wood fences, which happen to line a good portion of the trail, the scenery is great.
My kids (10 and 13) and I like to mix hiking and exploring while biking and there was no opportunity along the trail to do so. However, At the end of the trail or beginning (depending where you started) the Headwaters park is a nice place relax.
It's perfect if you just want to Bike or run.
Flat, smooth, shaded, scenic, and normally not over-crowded. A great place to walk, rollerblade, bike, and more. Nice picnic are at the Chardon trail head and also the chance to visit east branch to relax along the lake.
Nice asphalt, covered bridges, rest stop along the trail...just all around nice trail. We parked at Headwaters Park and went to the City of Chardon, stopping at the park / rest stop along the way. We were disapointed that we could not locate where the trail continued. Once we got to Chardon, it was busy traffic on the main drag. So it ended up being a short ride 8 miles ish from Headwaters to Chardon and back. Enjoyed the THREE covered bridges with cement to ride on. We stopped at the Rotary Pavilion for a break (it was un-used at the time). There are map signs along the trail but they didn't show the link between upper trail and lower. Mike & Vicki, June 2014
The construction of a link to join the north and southern sections of the trail is almost complete, it runs from the end of the north trail on route 44 to Mel Harder Park, now you can bike ride or hike til your hearts content.
Great day and great trail. The Mountain Run Station trail head in Chardon is just 100 yards east of the Mel Harder Baseball Park on Chardon Windsor Road. Youker
Maple Highlands Trail is a great ride. I love the section from Rt 44 to Headwaters Park. Trail users (bicycle and pedestrians) are very respectful of each other. The trail is well kept and the scenery is great. It’s a nice 17.5-mile ride (round trip) and stopping off at the lake at the end of or in the middle or the ride (depending where you start off) provides a very beautiful and relaxing place to have a snack and a drink of water. Highly recommend a visit.
Ended up with a couple hours on a warm afternoon - jumped on the trail - good amount of sun and shade - flat and well kept - covered bridges are a nice touch
The portion of the trail from Mountain Run Station to Headwaters Park is great. Well maintained, small hills, a few road crossings. I ride this trail about 3 times a week. Here's a hint: for some off-road fun, head east down 322 (Mayfield Rd) to till you hit the North entrance of the park. It's a great packed gravel ride down to the lake with lots of hills, I can get up to 30mph on a mountain bike going down some of the hills.
The Maple Highlands Trail is very well maintained. Paved the entire length with 3 beautiful small covered bridges. We especially like the section from Mountain Run Station to Headwaters Park. Some nice railroad history signs at Mountain Run. A few small hills at some road crossings. Slight uphill climb heading North into Chardon. Great trail and we recommend it to everyone.
It should be noted that the north section ends where a Lake County trail to the north continues for a ways to GIrdled Road (then there is a break where cyclists have to go on the road to connect with the remainder of the trail in Lake County).
The section of trail southeast of Chardon toward Middlefield is a lovely section of paved trail, passing though three covered bridges (new--constructed as part of the bike path). It is fairly level, though there is a mild grade back into Chardon. This trail is a real gem, passing through quiet wooded and marshy areas. I've seen deer and wild turkeys, along with the usual human traffic of cyclists, walkers, in-line skaters, parents with strollers, and occasionally local cross-country teams! That makes it sound busy, but depending on the time of day it can be a very peaceful, quiet ride.
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