Hinckley Reservation Trails

Hinckley Reservation
Hinckley, Ohio 44233
Hinckley Reservation webpage
Article on The Buzzards of Hinckley
Hinckley Reservation map

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eBird Hotspots

Medina County

Hinckley Reservation
Coordinates: 41.2147433, -81.7221451
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Hinckley Reservation–Brooklyn Exchange Cabin Trails
Coordinates: 41.2105878, -81.7101181
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Hinckley Reservation–Buckeye Trail
Coordinates: 41.2132983, -81.7161584
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Hinckley Reservation–Buzzard Roost
Coordinates: 41.2155279, -81.7078034
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Hinckley Reservation–Gravel Loop
Coordinates: 41.2152514, -81.7055261
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Hinckley Reservation–Hinckley Hills Loop
Coordinates: 41.21863, -81.730299
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Hinckley Reservation–Hinckley Lake Loop Trail
Coordinates: 41.2195016, -81.7091632
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Hinckley Reservation–Johnson Picnic Area
Coordinates: 41.2156246, -81.715064
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Hinckley Reservation–Judges Lake
Coordinates: 41.2040374, -81.699872
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Hinckley Reservation–Ledge Lake Bridle Trail
Coordinates: 41.2029113, -81.7240655
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Hinckley Reservation–Ledge Lake Loop Trail
Coordinates: 41.2060231, -81.7258412
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Hinckley Reservation–Redwing Cabin Picnic Area
Coordinates: 41.221296, -81.72105
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Hinckley Reservation–Rising Valley
Coordinates: 41.2577428, -81.6903877
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Hinckley Reservation–Spillway Pool and Ranger Station Area
Coordinates: 41.2274857, -81.7198518
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Hinckley Reservation–Whipps Ledges
Coordinates: 41.2188035, -81.7028064
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Hinckley Reservation–Wordens Ledges
Coordinates: 41.2030636, -81.7149246
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Ohio Birding Day Hikes

Hinckley Reservation Trails
Hinckley Lake Loop – 3.1 miles
Ledge Lake Trail – .7 mile
Whips Ledges Loop Trail – .95 mile
Hinckley Hills Trail – .4 mile
Wordens Ledges Loop Trail – .7 mile
Buckeye Trail – 3.6 miles
All Purpose Trail – 3.3 miles
Bridle Trails – 8.5 miles

A description with photos and map of a hike from Whips Ledges to the Spillway Picnic Area is on the TrekOhio website.

The AllTrails website has descriptions and maps of 10 hikes in the Hinckley Reservation.

Buckeye Trail Hike
On West Drive just past the turn off to the boathouse, you will come to another entrance (on the left) to the other side of Johnson’s Picnic Area. Park in this lot. Opposite this parking lot the Buckeye Trail and a bridle trail share the same space in this lush little valley, paralleling the same permanent stream that cuts through the Johnson’s Picnic Area. One or two pairs of Louisiana Waterthrushes nest here every year, being most easily found from mid-April through June when singing. On good migration days, this stretch of trail can really be hopping. Other nesting species here include Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Hooded Warbler. A Cerulean Warbler is usually on territory right at the entrance to the parking area. Barred Owls and Pileated Woodpeckers are permanent residents.

This valley is also excellent for spring wildflowers, beginning in early April, and peaking in late April through early to mid-May. Some species to be found here commonly are Bloodroot, Blue Cohosh, Cut-leaved Toothwort, Dutchmen’s Breeches, Foamflower, Wild Geranium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Mayapple, Purple Cress, Round-lobed Hepatica, Wild Blue Phlox, Rue Anemone, Spring Beauty, Squirrel Corn, Large-flowered Trillium, Purple Trillium, Trout Lily, Twinleaf, and Wild Leek.

Walking on this trail, you will soon come to a split; the right fork crosses the stream and takes you to the west, eventually tying into the Kiwanis Reserved Picnic Area on Kellogg Road (on the western boundary of the park), and the equestrian area on Hinckley Hills Road (in the northwestern corner of the park). If you choose to continue straight ahead, the bridle trail will take you to the east, crossing State Road, and much later, will dump you out on Harter Road (at the far southeastern corner of the park), several miles distant. All the bridle trails in the area quite birdy, especially in summer, and provide a “deep woods” atmosphere seldom found in northeastern Ohio. Chances are, you will only share these trails with an occasional equestrian or two. Unfortunately, the layout of the trails is linear and therefore does not allow for a complete loop, so you will need to retrace your steps. This is not such a bad thing.
From Ohio Ornithological Society website

Gravel Loop Hike
Directly opposite the intersection of West Drive and State Road is the southern entrance of the Gravel Loop (which is closed to vehicles). Go north on State Road and park in the small lot across from the north entrance to walk the Gravel Loop. The large spruces here seem particularly attractive to Golden-crowned Kinglets. Gravel Loop continues for a half-mile along the slow-moving and muddy East Branch of the Rocky River before ending up again on State Road, but north of where you entered. The woods along Gravel Loop attract many of the deeper woods birds, such as Brown Creeper, Great Crested Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager. Cerulean Warblers and Louisiana Waterthrushes are also often found here. Look here also for spring wildflowers, such as White Dog-toothed Violet and Virginia Bluebell, among many others.
From Ohio Ornithological Society website

Hinckley Lake Loop Hike
A hike around Hinckley Lake on the three-mile paved All Purpose Trail will provide a good introduction to the area, and should provide a good representation of species. This trail is also well-populated with joggers and bikers, especially in summer and on weekends. In general, the All Purpose Trail is adjacent to West and East Drives; however, a dirt hiking trail follows the immediate shoreline most of the way around the Lake, and therefore offers better birding, but won’t get you into any “deep woods” areas. From time to time, the hiking trail around the Lake will empty out onto the paved trail; in general, just stay as close to the Lake as possible.

The northern end of the Lake, near the dam, offers the deepest water and accordingly the best chances at locating any diving waterfowl which might happen to briefly touch down in migration, although the Lake is not particularly adept at attracting this group. The southern end of the Lake, where the Rocky River empties into it, is quite shallow and attracts dabbling ducks, shorebirds when the water is low enough, and herons and egrets. All in all, Hinckley Reservation is more properly known for its woodland birds rather than its water birds, although the Lake often harbors interesting migrants before the canoers and row boaters hit the waters.

To begin a hike around Hinckley Lake, enter West Drive from Bellus Road and continue to a road on the left marked “Boat House” and “Johnson’s Picnic Area”. Turn here and drive to the picnic area at the end of the road, passing the boathouse. (The Ohio Ornithological Society link below has more details about this hike.)
From Ohio Ornithological Society website

Tips for birding Hinckley Reservation
From Ohio Ornithological Society website

About the Hinckley Reservation
At the southern end of Cleveland Metroparks is Hinckley Reservation, the site of the nationally-known annual Return of the Buzzards. From hiking at Whipp’s Ledges to kayaking on Hinckley Lake, there are a variety of activities here for everyone.

Another attraction of the reservation is Whipp’s Ledges, with elevations rising 350 feet above Hinckley Lake and formed more than 250 million years ago.

Worden’s Ledges has unique carvings made in the 1940s by Noble Stuart, son-in-law to the namesake of the ledges, Hiram Worden. Hike the Worden’s Ledges loop trail to see the carvings.

Rising Valley, located off Newton Road, which was transferred by Hinckley Township to Cleveland Metroparks, has public access trails.
From Hinckley Reservation webpage

Restrooms at locations identified on Hinckley Reservation map.