Short Hikes on the Buckeye Trail . . .
Penitentiary Glen Circuit
Eagle Project by Phil Aquila; assisted by Alec Dimitrakis
Distance: 3 miles
Hiking time: 2 to 3 hours
Description: Penitentiary Glen is beautiful 424 acre reservation owned by the Lake Metro Parks. It has a welcome center near the parking lot and contains many facilities ranging from a wildlife rescue center to many miles of trails, some of which a few intersect with the Buckeye Tail. Originally Halle Estate, the park gets its name from its deep gorge which, like a jail, is difficult to climb out of. Overall this is great place for hiking and many other family activities.
Directions: 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094
Take I-90 to Rt. 306 south for about one mile. Turn left onto Rt. 615. Turn right (east) onto Kirtland-Chardon Road and continue for two miles. Penitentiary Glen Reservation is located on the right (south) side of the road.
Parking & restrooms: Parking lot is on Kirtland-Chardon Rd. Restrooms can be found by the visitor center.
Maps: Available at the visitor’s center, and here: http://www.lakemetroparks.com/select-park/documents/PenitentiaryGlenTrailMap0606.pdf
Start Location: Penitentiary Glen parking lot
1. Start on Rabbit-run trail head in the far end of parking lot to the left of the pavilion. Continue left at the pavilion. Soon you will encounter large model train-tracks operated by the Lake Shore Live Steamers Club.
2. Keep left onto Gorge Rim Trail which takes you past the Gorge Overlook, which divides the park in two.
3. After .4 miles you can turn left down a hill which will take you down into the gorge.
4. After Hiking back up to the trail you travel another .3 miles and take left onto Bridle trail.
5. At this point you should have entered a large grassy plain in which you will hear many bird species such as the Chickadee and the Blue jay; for which you can relax and listen to their beautiful songs.
6. Continue on this serene path for .1 miles where you will turn left to stay on the Bridle Trail. Now you will be entering back into the woods.
7. Continuing on for .3 miles you will reach a stream. (Please note that there is no designated crossing, so be prepared for the possibility of getting your feet wet. Waterproof boots are highly recommended.)
8. Continue on for another .4 miles and then merge left with the Kirtland Connector, a gravel path. (If you want to do a longer hike you may go right on the Kirtland Connector and head into Downtown Kirtland).
9. .2 miles from there you will come across a large pond that looks very impressive in contrast to the shadowy woods from which you emerged.
10. .1 mile from the pond you will turn right to stay on the Bridle trail.
11. From here on you will travel .1 miles as the trail passes through a meadow to a second lake. Take a moment to walk out on the dock and enjoy the view.
12. Continue on and take a right onto the gravel path for .2 miles.
13. From there you reenter the woods and travel .2 along the stream, where you cross the bridge.
14. Soon after you cross the bridge you will take a left and then hike .05 until a split in the path.
15. At the split, stay right heading up the hill. This was near the foundation of the Halle Home.
16. Follow the signs to the nature lodge which will bring you past the wetlands, where you can see ducks and frogs.
17.The hike concludes at the Nature Center.
For more information on Penitentiary Glen visit: http://www.lakemetroparks.com/select-park/penitentiaryglen.shtml