I thought I would share one of favorite round trips in NorthEast Ohio. This is one of my favorite drives. All told it is about 85 miles but I will tell you how to do the round trip so you can jump in at any location.
We will start on the west side, the border of Lakewood and Rocky River on Detroit Avenue. From Detroit take Sloane Ave until you get to West Clifton and then turn west. Follow West Clifton to Clifton and then turn right. Get in the left lane quickly to turn left on Webb Rd and the right onto Lake Ave.
Lake avenue will take you through Lakewood, Ohio, heading toward downtown. Stay on Lake until it ends and you will be at Edgewater Upper Park, where there are great views of downtown Cleveland and you can even take a picture with one of the many Cleveland signs.
When you are ready to keep going you need to jump on the shoreway (Route 2) still heading east toward downtown. This is one of a couple very short highways we will need to take. If you like you can stop at Edgewater Lower Park and take a walk on the beach, the pier or explore Whiskey Island.
Stay on the highway over the bridge over the Cuyahoga river (you are now on the east side!) and exit at West 3rd street. Turn left on west 3rd and follow it around Cleveland Browns First Energy Stadium and the Great Lakes Science Center on Erieside Ave. Cross of East 9th (or if you want to visit downtown Cleveland you and turn right on East 9th and head into the city) and continue east on the North Marginal road past the USS Cod submarine and Burke Lakefront airport.
Continue until East 55th street. Turn left if you want to visit the East 55th street Marina or to continue the tour turn right on 55th and then left back onto the highway one last time. Exit at Martin Luther King Jr Drive. At the exit turn if you turn right it will take you past all the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and up to University Circle. To continue the trip turn left and follow Lakeshore Blvd.
You will quickly come to the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve if you want another nature stop. If not stay on Lakeshore and head east past the fancy houses of Bratenahl. IN fact we are going to stay on Lakeshore Blvd (Rt 283). for quite some distance, this is part of the Lake Erie Circle tour.
Follow through some east side suburbs until you get to SOM center rd (Rt. 91) and turn right and continue until Ridge Rd. This will be the last sign of civilization if you need to stop for a break, gas, or a bite to eat. Left on Ridge Rd (Rt. 84) and continue to River rd (Rt. 174) and turn right.
River Rd if one of my most favorite roads in NEO and we will be on it for awhile next following the Chagrin River south. One of the first stops you might enjoy is Squire’s Castle. Continue south as the road becomes Chagrin River Rd and you beautiful scenery, houses, farms, etc.
When you get to Miles Rd. you will cross over it and enter the South Chagrin Reservation on Sulphur Springs Dr. Follow it up the hill and then turn right on Hawthorn parkway. Stay on it through the park and once you get past Shadow Lake you will come to Richmond Rd. Turn left over the train tracks and then right to stay on Hawthorn parkway. We will now be following Tinker’s Creek heading west.
Hawthorn parkway will end and turn into Egbert rd, but we won’t be on it for long. Take the next right and you are on Gorge parkway which travels between a golf course and the gorge. There is a nice spot to stop and take pictures on the gorge on this stretch of road along with mountain bike and hiking paths.
Stay on Gorge parkway down to the bottom and turn left on Dunham rd. over Tinker’s Creek and then left of Tinker’s Creek rd. Continue past Tinker’s Creek Tavern (or stop in for lunch or dinner) until it ends and you get to Canal rd. Turn left to head south again.
We will now follow the Cuyahoga River for a short spell until you get to Alexander Rd. You want to turn left to go up to Alexander and over the bridge and then left again on Brookside briefly until you get to Riverview Rd.
Stay on Riverview over Rt. 82/Chippewa rd. and down the hill and at the bottom turn right on Chippewa Creek dr. (Right will take you to a parking area for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad). Stay on Chippawa Creek road until you quickly drive over the actual Chippawa Creek and then hook a left on Valley Parkway.
Lots to see on Valley Parkway and we will be on it for awhile. At Barr rd it turns into Metropolitan Park Drive but continue straight as it will eventually return to Valley Parkway. Continue on as you head west and then start to turn north headed to our starting location. You will past golf courses, zip lines, archery ranges, scenic views, etc on Valley Parkway, lots of place to stop. Stay on it, heading north past Wallace lake on the left and Baldwin Lake on the right.
Eventually you will be traveling next to the Rocky River and nearing the end of the loop tour. Pass a few more golf courses and you will eventually end up a the Emerald Necklace Marina. You can stop there, plenty to do, or head up the hill to the intersection we started at.
And that’s it! I fun cruise around the Emerald necklace. If you want to go the opposite directions just swap left turns for right turns. Fall is my favorite season for the tour, I hope you enjoy it too.