The Chippewa Creek Trail is one of the most picturesque and adventuresome in the local area. Downstream from the Chippewa Creek George Scenic Overlook the creek has sculpted a path through the rocks surrounding it.
What to Expect
We'll start by hiking the "opposite" side of the river this side, starting by walking across the bridge near the overlook and approaching from that side. This trail includes some steep downhill terrain that can be slippery after a rain. We'll continue along this trail until we hit the bridge downstream, at which point we'll start walking the river back up.
The river starts out very lazy and tame, but do expect to get your feet wet soon and often. For this reason, I'd encourage you to wear light shoes with good drainage, sandals, or FiveFingers. The river will eventually begin to show small boulders on the shore, and then larger boulders that will comprise the technical and challenging part of the hike. When moving from boulder to boulder (and optionally walking on fallen tree trunks), both your balance and self confidence may be tested.
As with any river hike, some of the rocks could be slick, so good balance and/or hiking poles are very helpful. As we get into walking on top of, and moving from boulder to boulder on the river, we'll occasionally be driven back on to the trail along the side of the river as the actual river becomes impassable. This can occasionally entail some scrambling (using both hands and feet for purchase).
The pace of the hike will be a normal, casual, sustainable pace. We're not out to race or "get our workout in", but do expect to be physically exerted, especially on the latter half of the hike. We'll take periodic rests, not only to rest our bodies but to better appreciate the wonderful scenery this hike has to offer.
Total time out is expected to be around 2 hours.
Where to meet
The trailhead is located at the parking lot for the overlook, at the intersection of Chippewa Rd and Chippewa Creek Drive. Should the lot be full, you can park at the Brecksville Shopping Center (a little ways up the hill on 82), the plaza directly across the street, or at the Harriet Keeler Area Parking Lot a little further down Chippewa Creek Drive.
We will meet up at the picnic tables at the trailhead.
Dogs are welcome on this hike, but due to the technical nature of the river walk anyone with a dog is encouraged to head back to the packed earth trail near the river once it becomes too much. Spider dogs should be able to handle it with only minor difficulty.
Group hiking ethic
Here are some of the basic safety protocols our group will practice while on the trail:
Since the pace of the group is dictated by it's slowest member, we will take periodic rest stops, waiting until everyone's breathing has returned to normal before continuing on.
Group size will be limited to a manageable number. For a single leader, expect hikes to be limited to ~12 people. For hikes with multiple leaders present, this may increase (one leader will take "sweep", acting as the tail).
The head of the group should usually be within visual distance of the tail. If the group is too "strung out", leader will call for the head to wait so we can gather again. If another leader is acting as tail, we may allow a bit more "stretch" to the group.
We will stop and gather at all trail branchings and intersections, regardless of the number of leaders present.
We will not abandon you, or leave you behind.