Activities & Resources
North Chagrin Reservation050in Willoughby, OH 44094
about North Chagrin Reservation:
Bird lovers brag about sightings on Wildlife Management Loop, and if you like a good ghost story, gather your courage - the castle is reportedly haunted by one of its former residents!
Serious hikers like several trails at North Chagrin, such as Hemlock and Castle Valley, which are moderately challenging, with difficult sections.
Less-serious "strollers" enjoy the bat garden, where plants that are especially fragrant in the evening attract bats and other nocturnal feeders, and Sanctuary Marsh Loop, with a boardwalk that affords a look at beaver habitat. (A beaver education exhibit inside the nature center explains what you'll see.)
Just-beginning nature hikers should try going north from Sanctuary Marsh Loop to connect with Buttermilk Falls Loop. There's a wide wooden overlook by the falls so you can watch the water tumble down "stair steps" of Cleveland Shale. It's a favorite photo spot year-round. And, if you retrace your steps from there, you've completed just a one-mile loop.
About that castle and its ghost story: Squire's "castle" is actually a caretaker's cottage, built by a founder of the Standard Oil Company in the 1890s. Local legend says that his wife hated it, and especially hated wild animals. Ironically, Mr. Squire enjoyed big game hunting, and made the basement of the cottage his trophy room. Mrs. Squire, who reportedly had insomnia, is said to have walked through the house at night, carrying a red lantern; one night, she fell and tripped, breaking her neck. After her death, Mr. Squire didn't finish his planned estate. After purchasing the land, Cleveland Metroparks filled in the cottage basement and gutted the inside of the "castle" to discourage vandals. Stories of Mrs. Squire's ghost could not be stopped, however. The tale is that she still carries her red lantern through the cottage, and on cool nights, you can hear her screams from Chagrin River Road.
Whenever you visit, you'll have company - not ghosts, but other park visitors - as this is one of the most popular of Cleveland Metroparks' reservations.
North Chagrin Reservation's Nature Center offers fun family activities for many ages and interests, from "Stroller Science" to summer camp programs to naturalist-led excursions. Check the schedule online or pick up a newsletter at the reservation.