Cascade Valley Metropark Chuckery Oxbow Schumacher Area Hiking Trail Pictures

Cascade Valley Metropark Chuckery Oxbow Schumacher Area Hiking Pictures

Cascade Valley Metropark Chuckery Area History: In the late 1970s, the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, and the City of Akron developed a plan to transform 1,500 acres of land in the Cuyahoga River and Little Cuyahoga River valleys near downtown Akron into a unique urban park called Cascade Valley. The Oxbow and Chuckery Areas, two of the seven activity areas planned, are now open. Future development will proceed in stages as funds allow. Both Akron and the Metro Parks own various parcels of land within Cascade Valley. As agreed, the city pays for development and then turns the areas over to the Metro Parks to manage and maintain.

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Cascade Valley Metropark has some interesting history. Before becoming a Metro Park, parts of the Chuckery Area had been used for farming and for a city landfill. The area near the North Main Street bridge was a city park in the 1920s and 1930s. It was called Highbridge Park and remnants of the old ballfield, picnic areas and steps down the side of the valley still are visible. Nearby, hikers also can see traces of the Chuckery Race, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Completed in 1844, the race was built to channel water for a planned industrial town called Summit City, but economics doomed the project and it was abandoned. Also of historical interest is the Indian Signal Tree, a large Bur Oak. Legends suggest that Indians shaped the tree as a directional signal or perhaps for ceremonial purposes, but we have not been able to document its use.

Schumacher Valley Area
Overlooking the Cuyahoga River, Schumacher Valley Area comprises some of the most rugged and "wildest" terrain within the City of Akron and some of the most pristine scenery in Summit County. Facilities in this area include a 1.2-mile hiking trail and parking lot. Because the area has long survived the pressure of expanding urban development, park facilities will remain limited to ensure that it continues to be preserved in its natural state.

Sherman and Mary Schumacher donated the first 116 acres of this property to the Metro Parks in 1968. The Schumachers purchased the land in 15 separate pieces over an 11-year period so that it would be preserved in its virgin woodland and wilderness state. This area has grown to its present size through the acquisition of smaller parcels by the Park District, as they became available.

Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Part 1
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 1
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Part 2
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 2
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 3
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 3
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 4
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 4
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 5
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 5
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 6
Guide Cuyahoga Valley National Park Page 6

Schumacher Valley lies within a pre-glacial bedrock canyon as a side-spur to the main, buried valley that is under the Cuyahoga River. Steep-cut ravines are indicative of the tributary streams to the river valley. Oaks, American Beech, Sassafras and Black Cherry provide a canopy to the shrubs and herbs as well as the myriad of animal species that dwell beneath. Spring Beauty, Beechdrops, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Rue Anemone and Jewelweed are just a sampling of the wildflowers to be seen. This excellent habitat provides homes and nourishment to birds like Great-horned Owls, Chickadees and six species of woodpecker. Your quiet hike has endless possibilities!

Oxbow & Chuckery Area
The Oxbow and Chuckery Areas offer a unique combination of recreational facilities with the natural beauty of the Cuyahoga River valley.

The Cuyahoga River, its floodplain and the valley rim all offer different natural scenes. The river has sounds as well as sights. Water rushing through the rapids drowns out the sounds of urban living and presents a scene reminiscent of the valley's wilderness past. A variety of fish live in the river providing prey for Belted Kingfishers and Great Blue and Green-backed Herons. In the spring, Ohio's State wildflower, the White Trillium, grows in the floodplain woods along with Wild Ginger and many types of violets. Summer and fall wildflowers also are abundant. After climbing the steps on Oxbow Trail, hikers can stop to catch their breath and turn around to take in an excellent view of the park. Ridge tops in both areas have dry sandy soil with oaks as the dominate trees.

The Cascade Locks site was designated as a national historic district in 1992 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1994, the Cascade Locks Park Association and the City of Akron established the Canal Walk to provide public access to this "staircase" section of the Ohio & Erie Canal between Locks 10 and 14. Facilities in this area include the Mustill Store interpretive center and the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

Cascade Locks tell the story of Akron's early industry and how the city came to be where it is today. Akron began with the building of the Ohio & Erie Canal starting in 1825. This section of the canal, between Akron and the Little Cuyahoga River, was the steepest of the canal's entire 309-mile length. Fifteen locks were necessary in a single mile to climb over the Continental Divide. Locks 10 through 15, of this historic waterway, form the heart of the Cascade Locks Area. The two buildings north of the parking lot and adjacent to Lock 15 are some of the oldest structures in Akron. Built between 1825 and 1850, the Mustill House and Store served the local community and the people traveling on the canal. Interpretive displays are featured in the restored store that help explain this area that became important to both the Ohio & Erie Canal and the development of Akron. During the great flood of 1913, the canal washed out where it ran parallel to the river just north of the store and Lock 15. To this day, canal water flows directly into the river leaving the old canal, farther north, dry.

The Canal Walk trail is the initial phase to provide access to the area. Hikers are asked to stay on the designated path and respect the private property that borders it. Each lock is labeled to assist in orienting the map and following the narrative.

At the Trailhead On the north side of North Street, the ABTEC building once housed the Swinehart Rubber Company. Just to the north is Lock 15, the last lock in the "staircase," and the Mustill Store. The open field at the beginning of the Canal Walk was the site of a woolen mill that was replaced in the 1830's by the Cascade Grist Mill. A larger mill was built on the site in 1876 by oatmeal king Ferdinand Schumacher. As water power was replaced by steam power, this mill had both a large mill wheel and chimneys for coal-burning steam engines. Soon, water power became obsolete and the mills moved to better locations.

Lock 14
The concrete channel east of this lock is a waste waterway that was used to channel excess water around the lock.

Lock 13 The walls that can be seen connecting many of the locks were faced with concrete in the 1930's to prevent erosion. The trestle crossing over this lock was part of the Valley Line Railroad, originally constructed around 1880. Built to carry freight, this railroad is now owned by the National Park Service and serves the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, an excursion train that runs between Akron and Cleveland.

Lock 12
This lock can be viewed looking south from the bottom of the wooden steps. At the top of the steps, to the east is a millrace emerging from under Ace Rubber. The race provided the water needed to power the industry situated along the canal. Once past Ace Rubber, the millrace is again visible as it is about to enter a tunnel to flow under it.

Lock 11
The concrete structure crossing the canal at this lock is a conduit carrying Ohio Edison power lines. The high steel trestle is for the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad. Remnants of an earlier bridge (1891) can still be seen. Beyond Lock 11, on the east side of the boardwalk and steps, are more remains of the millrace. In addition to the canal locks, this area contains partially buried ruins of many mills and factories, all of which were originally turned by water power afforded by the steep terrain.

Lock 10 The wooden viewing platform at this lock provides a good vantage point for seeing all that remains of this lock's west wall on the opposite bank. The large brick building to the east is the Beech Street Steam Plant which generated steam for heating downtown Akron for many years. Ohio Edison Company still uses the transformers that can be seen at this location. The innerbelt of Akron's expressway is the southern end of the Cascade Locks Area. From here the canal travels underground through downtown Akron. Hikers should return following the same route.

Canal Walk reveals the marks of civilization in the sculpting of the land and the plants that grow here. Flowers brought by immigrants from Europe, native wildflowers incorporated into gardens, and weeds accidentally carried by man, horse, and canal boat are present. Soapwort, an herb, and Dames-rocket, a flower in the mustard family, all grow nearby. Shrubs include Tartarian and European Honeysuckles, both aliens, and Staghorn Sumac. The tree population reflects both introduced plants and native trees that are able to flourish in inner city conditions. Tree-of-Heaven from China, Norway Maple from Europe and Catalpa from west of Ohio grow beside native species.
Birds seen in this area include Robins, Blue Jays, House and Song Sparrows, Cardinals and even a Red-tailed Hawk.

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Cascade Valley Chuckery Oxbow Area Hiking
Cascade Valley Chuckery Oxbow Area Hiking Location Map

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Cascade Valley Metropark Road Map

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Cascade Valley Directions Information

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Oxbow Chuckery Area Trail Map


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Cascade Valley Metropark Chuckery Oxbow Schumacher Area Hiking Trail Pictures