Hiking Challenge 2015 – Quarry in Peninsula
Our fifth hike for our 2015 Hiking Challenge was at the Deep Lock Quarry in Peninsula alongside part of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath. This 1.4 mile hike is rated moderate, so it’s a bit more difficult than the first 4 hikes we did so far for this challenge. I have conflicting figures between 1.2 to 1.4 miles, so maybe the part of the hike on the Towpath isn’t included on this sign for the trail length.
This length of Quarry trail is perfect for a stroll in the woods with a few stairs up and down, as well as some steep inclines to contend with, but not anything too difficult. If it was much longer in length, I may have struggled with my breathing or had to rest, but pain-wise it was easier than the 1.6 miles we did on the asphalt Bike & Hike in Munroe Falls. My husband’s feet are still being cranky so he was happy there were benches to give his pain a break. Although I was a little achy using some of my underused muscles on these inclines, my soreness wasn’t very noticeable until later that day. Definitely not enough pain to make me second guess going again, as this is one of my favorite hiking locations.
In the beginning, the Quarry trail follows the Towpath for a short distance, as Deep Lock Quarry Metro Park is one of the entrances to the Towpath, so it’s just a matter of watching for bikes for a little ways.
Then the Quarry trail veers off into the woods where bikes are not allowed. There are many embedded rocks and tree roots to watch for under the fallen leaves, plus some gravely places on the inclines to watch your footing, but other than that, the trail is smooth and comfortable for your feet. I even saw one woman in flip flops having no trouble on her fast track along the trail with her family. Ah, to be young, carefree and have non-arthritic feet again! HA!
The Quarry trail is higher up than the Towpath, so you have a nice view of that pathway and the river below it through the trees. The old Quarry isn’t too far down the path so you can view it from the trail (see the top featured photo) and then again from the rim offshoot trail above in the latter part of the hike.
This path loops around several times so you need to pay attention to the markers or you won’t hike the full trail. You can easily veer off onto the main trail in several locations if you miss a marker and not get to see the benefit of all of it.
It’s quite beautiful deep in those woods so if you have the stamina for going up and down some rugged steps, or a bit of a climb up and down on some hills, follow the markers. If you don’t veer off, you can just retrace your steps on the main trail and avoid the majority of the inclines.
The hardest part of this trail is the last .2 miles or so, where you have to climb up the Towpath back to the parking lot. It’s a pretty long, steep incline, so those with breathing problems should take advantage of the bench where the two paths split at the bottom of the hill. You can rest from your trek through the woods prior to taking on the asphalt incline. One of the nice things about this trail is that there are several benches and a few freshly cut trees that make good seats for resting. I was excited that I didn’t need to sit to rest at all during this hike so my stamina is increasing. I was a little out of breath going up a couple of the inclines that were a bit strenuous, especially one set of steps that are better for a taller person than a shorty like me.
This is one of my favorite hikes for a good workout. There’s enough variety so that your heart-rate increases without picking up the pace. It’s set deep in the woods so you’re protected from winds and direct sunlight. We were there in the late afternoon when the sun was setting and we still had some really good light to be able to see well. I can imagine that in the summer when the leaves are much denser that it wouldn’t be as light along the trail, but with the leaves half-fallen at this time of year, the sun was always peeking through the limbs.
Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for unusual rocks and ferns growing off to the side of the trail. Even the moss growing on some of the rocks and trees is beautiful. I was surprised at how many people were there hiking between 3pm to 5pm on a weekday, as well as many coming in after work at 5pm. It’s definitely not a place for peace and solitude, if that’s what you’re looking for, but it’s quite beautiful just the same. I don’t seem to be the only one who enjoys it if the volume of people there is any indication. I like the camaraderie of the other hikers so although there are times I prefer the quietude, it’s not necessary for me to have a good time. We took pictures of one adorable family for them while we were there – this couple had three young children and we got a great family shot of them with their phone for their memory book. So cute! That’s part of the fun of it for me — seeing others enjoy nature like I do.
For those who need a bigger challenge, take the Towpath along the railroad tracks and the river. It’s beautiful there too! What’s super cool about the Towpath is that cyclists can catch a ride on the train to different locations to bike and ride. More information about this is located on the Cuyahoga Valley National Park website.
Watch for my upcoming article on riding through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park by train, then enjoying Hale Farm and Village — something we did this summer. Highly recommend it!