A guide to the Cleveland Metroparks

Whether you are a commuter who does not want to drive during rush hour or an on-campus student looking to escape a dorm, the Cleveland Metroparks offer a great outdoor experience.

All CSU students have an RTA U-Pass fee automatically charged to their student accounts each semester- which means you can get to the Metroparks without a car! There are many bus routes around Cuyahoga County, and you can’t miss the bus stops around campus. Students can ride the Red, Blue, or Green Rapid Transit lines, the HealthLine, and transfer buses on the RTA lines with their U-Pass. 

Luckily, the Cleveland Metroparks do not require use of all the transit lines. Using the Red Line to get to the Red Line Greenway trail is a 30-minute bus ride from campus, and you can get too many more trails by walking from the Red Line Greenway. The Cleveland Metroparks can be intimidating to start exploring, but there are resources to help you get started. While this is not a complete list, it is a starting point for the Cleveland Metroparks near campus.

The Red Line Greenway, Merwin’s Wharf, and Rivergate Park provide access to miles of paved trails that showcase industry in The Flats along the Cuyahoga River and the Cleveland skyline. These parks and trails are just a six-minute car ride from campus and a 30-minute bus ride. Parking for these parks is available in the Cleveland Metroparks portion of the Merwin’s Wharf parking lot.

Red Line Greenway

The nearly two-mile paved trail of Red Line Greenway connects the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail to two RTA Red Line Rapid Transit stations. This trail also connects to Scranton Road Peninsula (fishing access, river observation deck) and Towpath Trail (paved path).

Bonus: Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail provides a unique view of Cleveland.

Bonus: Towpath Trail has many observation decks and paths at the edge of the Cuyahoga River.

Merwin’s Wharf

Merwin’s Wharf is a connection spot for food and recreational activities that offers a large parking lot, access to the Cuyahoga River, and a skatepark. You can walk to the Red Line Greenway and Rivergate Park. The restaurant (also called Merwin’s Wharf) offers outdoor seating right on the river. 

Rivergate Park

Encompassing a small walkway on the side of a bridge over the Cuyahoga River, Rivergate Park offers stunning views of the multiple bridges and lines across the Cuyahoga River, green space, and public sculptures.

Bonus: The bridge on Columbus Road opens to allow ships to pass through.

In addition to this list, the Cleveland Metroparks app provides another excellent resource for planning visits. In the app, you can search for nearby activities to your location, look for a specific activity or location, and receive walking, biking, driving, and public transportation directions to get to a park. The app will guide you to a trail if you want to find a specific trail.

I was continually excited when I explored the Red Line Greenway, Merwin’s Wharf, and Rivergate Park (with the help of the Cleveland Metroparks app). The pathways are paved, and plenty of twists and turns offer new views and perspectives of The Flats, Cleveland, and the Cuyahoga River.  At these Cleveland Metroparks, you receive a different side of Cleveland than you receive while on campus or downtown. Although there are still restaurants and activities within walking distance of these parks, there is an emphasis on enjoying the outdoors and greenspace that is largely absent from downtown Cleveland.