Day Trip is a new TDS feature showcasing the Summit Metro Parks and the neighborhoods around them.
The Hike: The Willow Trail at Firestone Metro Park.
This trail is rated “easy” on the Summit Metro Parks’ website and loops around Turtle Pond. The Willow trail is 1.6 miles long with mostly flat-ground walking, and it has many ideal picnic areas. The trail does have an area with a slight incline, so be sure to wear proper footwear and bring hiking sticks if needed. Firestone Park is unique in that the trails are wider than most, which makes it perfect for more friends to join the hike.
Fuel Up: Before hitting the trails, stop at Muggswigz Coffee and Tea on Manchester Road and pick up an artisan latte and cinnamon roll to enjoy on the trail. I picked up a Vanilla Cloud from the café before making my way to the trail with a good friend.
Park Perks: The Willow Trail is special because it takes you past both Turtle Pond and the Tuscarawas River. Turtle Pond allows children to bring the fishing poles and try their hand at fishing.
Another fun activity for the kiddos would be feeding the birds. Just west of Turtle Pond along the Willow Trail is the best bird-feeding spot. Cardinals and black-capped chickadees are just some of the species that frequent this area. With a little patience and persistence, you may meet a couple new feathery friends. Just remember to feed them bird seed and not bread because bread wreaks havoc on their digestive systems.
Explore: Although there are many ice cream eateries in the surrounding area, it may be more beneficial to pick up a small pint and enjoy it with a friend as you walk the trail. Pav’s Creamery has released a special-edition flavor called Salted Maple Pecan, celebrating the Summit Metro Parks’ centennial. Sweetlycreated4u Candle Company also has a special-edition fall candle inspired by hikes at the Summit Metro Parks.
After walking the trail, you will no doubt be halfway starved (at least I was). So, if you didn’t pack any snacks, there are many options in the surrounding area: Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken, located at 61 E. Waterloo Road, is a great option if you are looking for comfort food. Ms. Julie’s Kitchen, located at 1809 S. Main Street, is a great choice if you are looking for vegan options.
Our Take: Every year I look forward to the Fall Hiking Spree, and this year is no different. Taking the time to plan and make a day of it will truly heighten your park experience. If this is your first year participating, be sure to download the Fall Hiking Spree form and keep track of all your hikes. It doesn’t matter if you are a rookie or a seasoned hiker; Firestone Metro Park is sure to be a great time.
Charlee Harris is a writer and the host of The Stix n Stones Podcast. Charleeharris.com @blumoonyellowstars
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