UPDATED NOV 11, 2019
Cleveland is becoming a bike-friendly city full of mountain biking and road riding trails just waiting to be discovered. So whether you’re a serious cyclist or just like going out for a casual ride, Cleveland's unbeatable paths are calling. Get out there and see for yourself on the city’s best bike trails.
We kind of love how the Metroparks and their reservations hug the greater Cleveland area like an “emerald necklace.” But lush green trees and clear creeks aren’t the only thing this necklace has. It also has over 70-miles of bike trails, picnic areas, restrooms, and places to grab a bite to eat (check out Quarry Rock Cafe in Rocky River). And since the Emerald Necklace goes through the Metroparks, riders can begin at a reservation closest to them — it’s so convenient!
The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath is probably the most well-known bike route on this list. One reason being that the route runs over 80 miles long (from Lake Erie to New Philadelphia) and goes through four counties. Yeah—that’s one hell of a ride. And with a route this long, it’s best to have a plan. Most of the trails are well-paved and covered naturally by shade, so why not plan a ride alongside the historic canal to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park? Save that gas money, and put your stamina to the test.
The Cleveland Metroparks are typically a go-to for most bike-riders. For starters, the parks surround our city, and an entrance is never far away. And aside from the paved paths for riders—there are places to lock those bikes up, find a walking path, and stretch your legs. That’s the beautiful thing about biking the Metroparks; one day you can cycle next to Lake Erie, and the next, you’re passing through the marshlands of Big Creek Reservation. There is never a bland or boring ride. Fitt tip: Visit one of our favorites, The Lake to Lake Trail!
Okay, we know that the Valley Parkway Trail is inside Rocky River Reservation (which is actually inside the Cleveland Metroparks), but we can’t help but give a shout out to this area. Not only are these trails easily accessed after riding through Rocky River or Lakewood, but there’s tons to look at while riding. The 13-mile trail passes by beautiful shale cliffs that are totally one-of-a-kind, you can cool off at the Emerald Necklace Marina, and there are local restaurants you can always make a pit-stop at before finishing your ride. The smooth, asphalt lanes aren’t too shabby, either.
We love when bike routes offer more than just the norm. Don’t get us wrong — we love Mother Nature, but it’s nice knowing there are attractions, parks, and even beaches to take a breather at in the midst of our ride. With a 17-mile route that runs along the Erie shoreline (starting on the eastern border of Euclid and ending on the western border of Lakewood), what’s not to enjoy? The views of Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway are 10x better than any gym.
For those that don’t know already, Lakewood is a pretty bike-friendly city. It’s not surprising to see bike racks in front of storefronts or bike lanes on roads. The city even won recognition in 2013 for being a bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists! Yeah, they’re not playing around. It’s their goal to make sure everyone has access to schools, shops, and eateries by bike without those frustrating off-roading moments (like terrifying loose gravel). It’s cities like Lakewood that are paving the way for other nearby towns (pun intended).
There’s something special about biking next to water. It’s the perfect place to stop and cool off, plus the views are epic. And that’s what makes VermilIon River Reservation so worthy. Located inside the Lorain County Metroparks, the Vermilion River runs right into Lake Erie, making it the ideal trail to ride in warmer months so you can cool off with a quick dip in one of the many access points to the Vermilion-Lorain water trail.
We know Nelson Ledges Quarry Park is over 40 miles away from downtown Cleveland, but it’s hard to pass this park up. We mean, what other park has trails surrounding massive water-filled quarries? Plus, it’s a park where riders can make a long weekend out of their ride. There are places to camp, swim, hike, and, of course, for you and your bike. Since the park has over 250 acres committed to bikers, hikers, and nature-lovers, this is a wonderland for those of us who love to explore from atop two wheels. (Just remember this park charges a fee!)