October 1st, 2016
10,000 Steps: Take A Hike Out Of Town
I recently learned a secret. Frohring Meadows can be reached entirely on foot from Chagrin Falls. The trail is easy to follow, and only involves stepping over a few fallen trees.
Frohring Meadows was established as a park in the Geauga Park District relatively recently. It’s been a great nearby addition, with both a paved trail, wooded trails and a shelter house only a 2 minute drive from town. It was only recently that I discovered that you can reach this wonderful resource entirely on foot from the sidewalks of Chagrin. As we move in to the fall – a great time for hiking – I thought I’d share the discovery so more can enjoy it.
To start the hike, get yourself to the corner of East Washington and Pheasant Run, right in front of St. Joan of Arc Church and School in Chagrin Falls. Walk down the sidewalk along Pheasant Run. You will very quickly come to a small housing complex entrance gate. Go through the gate and continue walking, even after the sidewalk ends. Ahead, you will see a grassy knoll on the left hand side, behind a small grouping of trees. Walk through the trees to the top of the small mound.
At the top, you will see a man-made pond to your right at the entrance of the housing area and a beaten down walking path along the top of the hill. Take the path.
Walk down the path until you see a roadway ahead, but do not take the roadway. Directly before you reach it, there is a trail that leads off in to the woods on your left side. You need to cross a dry brook bed, but there is a thoughtfully placed boulder in the center to help keep your feet dry on wet days.
Now you will enter the quiet wooded area. To your right, you will still see a fence line for the properties within the housing development. Keep it to your right until the housing development ends. As you walk, you are traveling behind the businesses in South Russell along E. Washington Street. You can see the Industrial Complex buildings that house Chagrin Yoga, Snap Fitness, Kuk Sol Do and KMK to your left through the trees.
Despite the proximity to local businesses and a busy roadway, it is very calm and peaceful along the trail. In many areas, the trees are covered in vines and there are several downed logs along the trail, but none that require more than an easy step over. The ground was relatively dry, even though it had rained the day before these photos were taken.
You may also come upon other runners, hikers and dog walkers. On the afternoon I walked this trail, I encountered about a half dozen. After almost exactly 1 mile, you emerge from the wood at the back of the Armory building with Founders Field directly ahead.
There are water fountains and a portable bathroom at Founders Field, as well as doggy poop bags and trash cans. To continue on to Frohring Meadows, walk across the back field of Founders towards the tree line. In the far corner, you will come to the Geauga Park District trail entrance.
These trails are maintained regularly. There is clear signage and benches are scattered along the route.
One of the first signs you will see though may cause some concern. It’s the Coyote Denning Area warning. Yes — there are coyotes in these woods. From what I’ve been told, coyotes don’t want to interact with humans. If you stay on the trails, you are unlikely to encounter any. I have never encountered a coyote while walking on any of the area trails, even though I know they are nearby.
More on coyote safety is available from the Geauga Park District.
The second section of this hike will take you to a fork in the trail, where you can decide if you’d like to walk around the field for some additional mileage and time outdoors, or if you’d rather take the short route to the Meadow and back-track out again.
At the fork in the trail, there is a bench and a clear trail marker for the Big Blossom Trail loop, which travels around Frohring Meadows and connects at the back of the loop in these the woods.
To travel quickly to the Meadow, take a right. To take the long way round, take a left.
Because I wanted to travel the complete trail, I took a left. After about another mile in the woods, you emerge – briefly- to cross an open area with power lines overhead. There is a gravel roadway that travels underneath. To your left, you will see E. Washington Street, and the back of the new South Russell Village Park. To the right, the gravel roadway continues along the power lines for some distance before meeting up to the other end of the loop trail. To continue on the Big Blossom Trail, go straight across the gravel roadway and enter the woods again on the other side.
It’s still a bit of hiking before you emerge in the meadow.
This is the part of the trail that I thought I must have missed a turn. After looking at the aerial map from my MapMyRun app, I could see that Frohring Meadows is actually bordered on both sides by woods, and this path travels down through the woods and over to the right towards the meadow.
Finally, I emerged from the woods in to Frohring Meadows Park — almost at Savage Road (it’s right in front of those trees).
I continued around the loop trail in the open for about an additional mile. It’s a nice break from the woods, with the sun bright enough to make you wonder if you should be wearing sunscreen. The trails are all marked for cross country skiing along this route. I imagine this is a nice place to get started with that — it’s flat, and the trails are probably well groomed. I’ll have to check it out this winter.
Along the trail, you can see several memorials placed on benches, and even one on a bird house. I love seeing these, and I hope the families know what pleasure they give to those walking in the area. Here are a few I noticed.
There is a paved trail as well as the meadow trail at Frohring Meadow. The have a nice shelter house as well, with tetherball and an enclosed space that can be heated in the winter. I hear it is free to rent for events, as long as you pay for heat. There are trail maps and permanent bathrooms. This is a good stop if you want a break. It was about this point that I realized I’d walked here from Chagrin, without much thought to the time involved. It took me, at a leisurely pace due to the photographs, about 45 minutes to arrive.
If you complete the loop around the Meadow, you are taken directly back to the woods and will eventually come to the fork in the trail with the bench that I used as a deciding point earlier. This time, to return to Chagrin’s Founders Field and back to town, take a left. There’s a handy sign post with directions to all points from this intersection.
Take the left to Founders Field. Once you exit the Geauga Park District trail at the back of Founders Field, it’s about a mile to the sidewalks of Chagrin. Backtrack across the armory to the trail that exits behind the parking lots. When you reach this fence line, follow it and you will see the housing development of Pheasant Run on your left. Cross the dry brook…and you are back in town.
The whole loop is about 4. 5 miles, or for me — about 10,000 steps. It’s an easy way to knock off a daily fitness goal and get some moments of peace close to home. It does take about 1.5 hours at a easy pace, but it would make a perfect walk on those days when you have the time.
Here’s the MapMyRun map to show you the loop, from Washington Street and Pheasant, all the way up to the meadow and back home again.
Once the snow falls, I’ll make sure to update on the conditions for snowshoe or skiing. At least with this trail, I know if I get stuck in a snowbank, I’m very close to civilization. 🙂
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