Edison Woods MetroPark

Wetlands, woodlands, sandstone cliffs and meadows all make up the 1300 acres of the Edison Woods Preserve located north of Berlin Heights, Ohio on State Route 61. When completed, the preserve (shown in our photos below) will boast over seven miles of trails that are ideal for hiking, cross county, skiing, bird watching as well as horseback riding.  The preserve is open daily from 8am to sundown. Seasonal portable restrooms are available on site. Edison Woods Preserve is the only park in the Erie MetroPark system that's designed for use both by people walking and people riding horses which does create some problems given that many of the trails are located on low level grade. Read reviews below.

        

Informative Signs at Edison Woods PreserveOn-Site Review - Adventure Walkway: Edison Wood newest attraction is 1,400 foot pedestrian only boardwalk (shown in photos above) that winds through the woods on the south side of the preserve.  This walkway is sure to be a park walking highlight for people who want to take a leisure walk through the woods.  The walkway has the advantage of not being subject to lowland wet spots after rains. Additionally, the boardwalk is located in a wooded area large enough to allow for additional walkway extensions to be built in the future. The boardwalk area will remind visitors of walking the boardwalk at Old Woman Creek but this trail is more senior friendly being shorter with more sitting areas and it has no inclines. The walkway also has eighteen permanent signs (shown at right above) courtesy of the "Friends of Erie Metroparks" which are strategically located next to the boardwalk that gives a first time visitor an in-depth overview of the park, the wildlife in the area, the geology of the land, the history of the park and other bits of interesting information  This is an excellent educational tool for everyone walking the area including family's or school classes visiting the park.

There are several ways to access the walkway. First, from the main southern parking area off Route 61, you enter the park on a trail which takes you directly past the Adventure Walkway (entrance shown above) just follow the signs. Or for handicapped people, you can drive back to the horse trailer parking area and park in a special handicapped section. There is a small stone path that goes from the parking area to the walkway.  As noted on the intro of this park, much of the surface is wetland so rain or wet seasons can greatly effect the ease of walking the trails in this park. The walkway has eliminated this problem entirely by having a wood boardwalk built above the terrain so that it's not effected by the surface water on the ground (however when wet, it tends to be slippery). The trail, while not long in distance, is designed to meander through the woods with a variety of turns so it seems longer than it actually is and it invites the walker to leisurely stroll through the woods rather than power walking.

The walkway exits onto the Dogwood Loop trail (see review below). At this point the visitor can turn left to go back to the parking area or turn right to continue walking down the loop trail. Or, of course, just turn around and walk back on the boardwalk. Whatever way you choose to walk it, this boardwalk trail is a significant improvement over any previous trails at this park and people who walk the parks,  particularly those elderly residents will really enjoy having the Adventure Walkway available to them.

Handicap Review: As noted, the walkway is handicap accessible with slight wood ramps/or level grade at every entrance/exit to the walkway and a specific handicap parking area near the walkway. However, while this trail is handicapped accessible and certainly has room for a wheelchair or walker, there still exists some obstacles in getting to the walkway.  If you use the handicapped parking lot, which is clearly your best option, the stone path between the handicap parking area and the entrance to the walkway is lowland and is affected by wet weather the same as the rest of the park, so at times it's in poor condition due to it's use by horses and park ranger vehicles in wet weather. The Adventure Walkway is truly a wonderful area for handicapped people to enjoy, but the handicap parking area probably should have been located at the other end of the stone path (beside the creek) which would have made it much closer to the walkway and far more accessible for some handicapped people visiting the park.

         

On-Site Review - DOGWOOD LOOP (1.3 Miles):  The main trail that enters into the park directly from the parking lot is a 1.3 mile trail that most people will choose to walk. The first half of the trail is a utility right of way road which has a wooded area on each side of the dirt road. It's a flat earth trail that is scenic and easy to walk with some wet spots during spring and fall. The trail has two left turns onto the loop part of the trail. The one in the back part of the trail turns left and for the next quarter mile or so is in generally poor condition. Getting back to the horses that use this park, they obviously use this section of the trail and because of the parks wetland base, the horses often leave tracks and this part of the trial has some ruts and deep horse hoof impressions. This can be dangerous footing for seniors walking this section of the trail and I would advise to use caution when walking this section of the trail.  If you choose to just turn around and walk back the way you came, you'll still have walked over a mile by the time you get back to the parking lot.

If you do continue on the trail, the last half mile or so is a beautiful walk through the woods with generally good footing.  It should be noted there are a several low spots that can accumulate significant surface water during wet weather and this is a preserve so the trails are in their natural state which means an occasional tree root or small rock jutting up from the earth trail.

Finally then, there's also another entrance on the left side of the main trail that takes you through  the Dogwood Loop in the west to east direction which I think was the original entrance for the Dogwood Loop but my experience tells me that most people walk it from right to left (east to west) rather than left to right (west to east) which probably has more to do with the wetland ground conditions than any backward thinking on the part of the people walking the trails.  All entrances and intersections of the wooded part of the Dogwood Loop have easy to read directional  maps.

On-Site Review - Ghost RR Trail (1.2 miles):  The name comes from a railroad train that used to pass through the woods and although the tracks are gone now, you can still visualize where the tracks were located hence the name "Ghost RR Trail". This trail's entrance is directly off the "Dogwood Loop" trail so when you're walking down the utility road, about 1/2 mile down the road you'll come to a signpost on the right side of the trail indicating that is the entrance to the Ghost RR Trail. Interestingly, there is somewhat of an optical illusion at the entrance marker because the first section of this trail is uphill to the ridge above the trail. The area behind the entrance sign has no horizon line and therefore the signpost tends to blend into the surroundings wooded area at certain times of the year. My advise to people walking on the loop is to keep a sharp eye out for the sign and you'll be ok. And my advise to the park is to put a bench at the entrance to the this trail. Not only to make it easier to locate the entrance, but also a welcome rest stop for people who might want to take a rest before climbing the hill. And I should note that this trail has signs advising these trails for hikers only - not walkers. That is good advise as you'll see below in my review.

The trail itself is more challenging  than the Dogwood Loop. To begin with the Ghost RR Trail is really a combination of three  trails so if you get confused by reading this, you can click on the trail map listed at the bottom of the page which might help you understand the layout. The trail initially goes up a hill to a ridgeline path at the top of the hill. It is a somewhat gradual incline, but still an incline and it's steep enough to be slippery in wet weather. Again, the problem is that horses use this incline and in my opinion, this section of the trail is a bit treacherous in the wet months of spring and fall. Not only do people have to deal with deep, wet, slippery horse hoof indentations but also the rangers take their wide tired trail cart up this trail and put huge, deep grooves in the trail which fill with water when it rains.  In this park, more than any in the Metroparks system, I think it should be required that rangers who work this park be required to walk the Dogwood and Ghost RR. Tail every spring and fall.  Perhaps once they experience the problems that walkers have with these trails, maybe something will be done about them. This part of the trail get so wet and slippery during heavy rains that I've actually spoken with people who won't ride their horses up this hill because it's to dangerous. Clearly, if you're going to walk up this hill use a walking stick or cane or do it during the dry, summer months of July and August.

At the top of the hill, you turn left onto the South Ridge Line (trail number two) which is a scenic walk with woods on the left and a boulder strewn hill on the right. There are several low spots on this trail that can also be slippery when wet. After a 1/4 mile or so you'll come to a signpost that directs you to turn left to enter the Upland Oak Trail (trail number three) . At one time this section of the trail was also bad for walking, but now they have a rule that horses are forbidden on this section of the trail and what a huge difference it has made. Unfortunately, most people would enter this trail on the Ghost RR Trail section which as noted above could be a problem for most walkers. And as near as I can tell, there aren't any directional signpost at the top of this hill when going up this direction, so it's a little confusing on where to go if you enter the trail on this side.  Just remember to go right when you get to the ridgeline path of the trail.

I've walked this trail several times with the latest being in early October of 2007 and I cannot recommend the Ghost RR Trail for elderly people walking at Edison Woods. This trail, like many of the trails in Edison Woods, is designed for hikers not walkers. Younger hikers would have less of a problem with this trail, but it's just not ready at this time for seniors to enjoy. As noted previously, a wooden bench at the entrance to this trail would be appreciated for the convenience and safety of the people walking the Ghost RR Trail. But this doesn't address the biggest problem and I don't know the answer to the question of the horse trails. I know that this park is big enough for both horses and people to enjoy, but I cannot see any way they can safely use the same trails. Perhaps an inexpensive solution would be to designate a two or three foot wide path beside the existing trails on the hillside. The path, with the surface perhaps made out of wood chips, could have a rope guideline beside it for safety in climbing or descending the hills. The fact is that other than the pedestrian only Adventure Walkway, almost every trail in this park (currently they list 14 trails) have footing problems where both people and horses cross the various trails. This is a beautiful reserve with many things to enjoy but for seniors, the walking trails pose some serious concerns.

Big Meadow Trail: The newest trail in Edison Woods opened in June 2009. This trail is on the back side of the park with the entrance off Smokey Road across from a small grass parking area. The trail that leads into the area is the Big Meadow Trail which you see above in the photo. This is a really interesting section of the park because the trails are actually raised dykes above the water on each side of the trail, so the trails are high and dry which isn't always the case in EWMP.  This trail is mostly linear in that they do not circle back around to your starting point. The crushed stone trail ends in a dirt trail that runs through the woods. You can continue on which would be more for hikers than walkers, or you can simply turn around and walk back to the starting point. If you only walk the crushed stone trail, you will spend between 20 and 30 minutes (depending upon your walking pace) going in one direction. To see a map of the area click on the map below which will show the entrance and the intersecting trails.

You can get to the area off Mason Road (heading east) by turning left on Frailey Road and again left on Smokey Road, or if you're on Rt.61 (heading north), turn on Driver Road (just before the railroad tracks) and then right on Smokey Road. The parking area is a small grass area across the road from the entrance so keep a sharp eye out for it. This area is not specifically handicapped accessible, but it's a level walk with really no difficulty so elderly people should be able to walk this trail with no problem as long as they stay on the crushed stone trail. Also note this is a trail that is also used by people riding horses so horse droppings may be on the trail so keep a look out for them.      

 

 Senior's Walking Guide

Name of Trail Surface Difficulty Distance Hand/Access
1. Adventure Walkway Boardwalk None - A Great Walk for Seniors Mile Yes/see review
2. Dogwood Loop Earth Level Grade - Some Problems 1.3 Miles No
3. Ghost RR Trail Earth Steep Inclines - Many Problems 1.2 Miles No
4. Big Meadow Trail Crushed Stone Easy Walk for Everyone 1.0 Mile + No

 

Seniors Walking Guide Overview: I can't think of a healthier exercise for most seniors than walking. Not only does it keep your joints limber, but it can give your heart a healthy workout and the fresh air will do wonders for your sleeping habits. You'll find a lot of other seniors walking the trails but if you're not sure if you're healthy enough to walk the parks, check with your doctor first. Ideally you'll have a partner to walk with but if not, you can still walk by yourself provided you take just a few precautions which I've listed below.

The first is to take along a cane or walking stick when you walk the trails. If you don't have a cane, you can purchase a walking stick from the Erie Metroparks or get a cane at any drugstore.  Some sections on some trails are slippery and/or have poor footing at certain times of the year so it always smart to have a third leg for balance when walking the trails. The second thing is to ALWAYS carry a cell phone with you at all times. If you fall on the trail or get lost on a trail and need help, you can simply call 911 and they'll dispatch a park ranger to help you out. That's your tax dollars at work so don't hesitate to call for help if you need it. Finally then, bring along a bug-off spray and spray your exposed limbs before your walk during the summertime. 

We're blessed with some of the most beautiful walking trails in Ohio and each park has it's own unique qualities, but don't overdue it. Start gradually with short walks and work you way up to a longer walks. Most parks are open daylight hours from early morning to dusk so pick a time that works for you and come out and enjoy the natural beauty of the parks. Many people walk their dogs at Edison Woods. so feel free to bring your dog to the park with you, just remember that for the safety of your dog and people in the park, all dogs must be leashed at all times.       

 

Click Here To See A Gallery of the  Fall Colors of Edison Woods

 

Click Here To Visit Erie Metroparks Edison Woods Preserve Website

 

Click Here To Visit the Friends of Erie MetroParks Site

 

 

 

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This Page Last Updated: 06/12/2011

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