Towpath Trail

Maple Highlands Trail


By Lynda Warner [This description covers the 14.6-mile paved section.]

When ridden in conjunction with the Lake County Greenway Trail, the Maple Highlands Trail can be the route to get you from Painesville to Middlefield. [Scroll past 'Specs & Facts' to continue reading.]

Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge     Photo by Lynda Warner

Latest Update: 11/16/15 by OB - Closing Gap in the Works

From news-herald.com, "The good news is the city was conditionally awarded an Ohio Department of Transportation grant of $435,991 toward design, engineering and some construction of Phase 2.

"This phase, which will extend the bike/hike path from Water Street to South Street, already was awarded nearly $1.23 million by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency for construction...

"'If everything goes favorably, we will get the money,' said City Manager Randy Sharpe..."


County Commissioners Agree To Link Trail - 6/5/14 by OB

From bikecleveland.org, "We received word today from the Chardon City Manager that the Geauga County Commissioners voted 2-1 to transfer the needed parcels of land to the city to connect the Maple Highlands Trail...

"...The Maple Highlands Trail Connection Project can now continue now that the City owns the property on Center Street. Right-of-Way acquisition agreements with Burger King and Chardon Oil will resume. Also, Environmental Design Group can start work on Phase II - Preliminary Alignment Study, Cost Estimate, Typical Sections and Grant Writing Assistance."

Chardon Making Concessions To Facilitate Trail Extension - 5/22/14 by OB

From news-herald.com, "...Council on May 19 approved several pieces of legislation authorizing agreements with the county to resolve issues involving the Maple Highlands Trail and residential incentive districts.

"...County officials have acknowledged using the easement as a bargaining chip in the RID deal."

Chardon Trail Link Still Unresolved - 3/5/14 by OB

From news.herald.com, "...[Chardon City] Council was believed to be discussing a proposal from commissioners that would simultaneously address the Maple Highlands Trail extension project easement - sought by the city - and the city's newly created residential incentive districts..."

"...When asked what the next step is, King said, "'We hope we will have this concluded and dealt with within 30 days. . We'd like to get it wrapped up, because the bike path was slated for beginning of construction this spring.'"

County Commissioners Hold Trail Link Hostage - 12/3/13 by OB

From chardonsquareassociation.org, "It is very disappointing as a Chardon City Councilman and a resident of Geauga County that our County Commissioners have, thus far, not agreed to a critical easement across Center Street in Chardon for construction of the Maple Highlands Bike Path, which will eventually connect the north and south trails.

"All the other property owners in Chardon have agreed to do just that, either by donating their land or agreeing to a reasonable amount for payment of such easement.

"Our County Commissioners are mandating that City Council agree to allow 26 Chardon Township homes to connect into our water and sewer treatment plant; otherwise, they will not allow the easement..."

Covered Trail Bridge Set - 5/31/13 by OB

From the news-herald.com, "A significant feature was added to the future southern portion of the Maple Highlands Trail when the majority of a Pratt truss-style bridge was set in place on Wednesday.

"A 500-ton crane lowered the component over the east branch of the Cuyahoga River, south of Grandview Country Club in Middlefield Township.

"...When [the trail is completed, it] will extend a total of 20 miles, allowing users to travel south all the way to Reeves Road in Parkman Township."

Trail Specs & Facts:

Location: Geauga County, OH

Class: A1, C

Length: 14.6 miles / asphalt + 7.5 miles gravel (includes road routes); spurs not included

Condition: Paved trail - Good

Facilities: Restrooms available at the 4 parks along the trail.

Parking: A lot in Chardon, OH. (See trail map for more options.)

Worth Noting: Only 2 miles of 6.8-mile southern gravel section are plotted on the Google map at this time. This segment connects with the paved trail at Headwaters Park. And extends south through Middlefield and over to the Swine Creek Reservation. Reports suggest that this section may be rough due to horse & buggy traffic.

Map: Maple Highlands Trail

Paved Trail Elevation: North to south

More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List

Any type of bike can navigate this trail, which is primarily a converted railroad bed. At this time, it is a stand-alone biking trail consisting of two sections, and one must navigate Chardon Square on his own to get from one to the other.

Northern Section - 5.3 miles

This part of the Maple Highlands Trail extends from Water St. (Rt. 6) north to Girdled Road [Final .4-mile segment is Lake Metroparks Trail in Lake County]. Much of it runs between route 44 and the tree line that runs between it and some housing areas. There are also some sections that slip into the wooded area, also. At the end of the trail, by riding east on Girdled Road and then north on Ravenna Road, one can connect with the Lake Metroparks Greenway, which heads straight north into Painesville.

Southern Section - 8.3 miles

This section extends from South Street to Headwaters Park on Old State Road (Rt. 608) in Claridon.

Heading east, then southeast from South Street, the trail makes its way alongside this pleasant country town and is shared by hikers, dog walkers and inline skaters. Covered bridges cross over two roads and a creek, and then it becomes very straight, reminiscent of its origins as a railroad track, and becomes a rural ride.

Fence
Maple Highlands Trail in Geauga County     Photo by Lynda Warner

Due to the trees that line both sides throughout most of the route, it is pleasantly shady, with open fields and farmlands visible at times. There are six road crossings, two of them Old State Road (Rt.608) and Mayfield Road (Rt. 322) fairly well-traveled but well-marked. One might encounter bikers of many types along this route, from families with young children to teens to couples as well as more serious, solo bikers.

The southern extremity of this trail ends at Headwaters Park, a Geauga County park with hiking trails and a reservoir for fishing and boating.

There is an unpaved section of the Maple Highlands Trail that extends further south through the village of Middlefield, and on to Parkman. [This 6.8-mile section takes travelers from Headwaters Park in Claridon, through Middlefield and over to Swine Creek Reservation. Reports have suggested it can be rough due to horse & buggy use.]

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