Maple Highlands Trail
By Lynda Warner [This description covers the 14.6-mile northern trail segment.]
When ridden in conjunction with the Lake County Greenway Trail, the Maple Highlands Trail can be the route to get you from Painesville to Middlefield. [Scroll past 'Specs & Facts' to continue reading.]
Trail Specs & Facts:
Location: Geauga County, OH
Length: 22.1 miles / asphalt (includes road routes); spurs not included
Condition: Paved trail - Good to excellent
Facilities: Restrooms available at the 4 parks along the trail.
Parking: A lot in Chardon, OH. (See trail map for more options.)
Worth Noting: Only ~2 miles of 6.8-mile southern section are plotted on the Google map at this time. This segment connects with the paved trail at Headwaters Park. And extends south through Middlefield and over to the Swine Creek Reservation.
Paved Trail Elevation: North to south
More Trails in this Region: NE OH Trails List
Any type of bike can navigate this trail, which is primarily a converted railroad bed. At this time, it is a stand-alone biking trail consisting of two sections, and one must navigate Chardon Square on his own to get from one to the other.
Northern Section - 5.3 miles
This part of the Maple Highlands Trail extends from Water St. (Rt. 6) north to Girdled Road [Final .4-mile segment is Lake Metroparks Trail in Lake County]. Much of it runs between route 44 and the tree line that runs between it and some housing areas. There are also some sections that slip into the wooded area, also. At the end of the trail, by riding east on Girdled Road and then north on Ravenna Road, one can connect with the Lake Metroparks Greenway, which heads straight north into Painesville.
Southern Section - 8.3 miles
This section extends from South Street to Headwaters Park on Old State Road (Rt. 608) in Claridon.
Heading east, then southeast from South Street, the trail makes its way alongside this pleasant country town and is shared by hikers, dog walkers and inline skaters. Covered bridges cross over two roads and a creek, and then it becomes very straight, reminiscent of its origins as a railroad track, and becomes a rural ride.
Due to the trees that line both sides throughout most of the route, it is pleasantly shady, with open fields and farmlands visible at times. There are six road crossings, two of them Old State Road (Rt.608) and Mayfield Road (Rt. 322) fairly well-traveled but well-marked. One might encounter bikers of many types along this route, from families with young children to teens to couples as well as more serious, solo bikers.
The southern portion of this segment of trail ends at Headwaters Park, a Geauga County park with hiking trails and a reservoir for fishing and boating.
There is another section of the Maple Highlands Trail that extends further south through the village of Middlefield, and on to Parkman. [This 6.8-mile section takes travelers from Headwaters Park in Claridon, through Middlefield and over to Swine Creek Reservation.]