words and photos by Anthony Boarman
One of the many things I love about living in Akron is the proximity to such a wide range of amenities like restaurants, theaters, parks, bike trails, markets … the list goes on. The great part about living in an area that offers so much is that you have no reason to branch away from it. However, the worst part about living in an area that offers so much is that you have no reason to branch away from it.
I was thinking about this as I was hiking Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton for the first time. Just like anyone else, I get in a comfort zone with the parks that I visit and tend to not try anything new. I have been wanting to check this one out for a long time, but have not done so mostly because of its distance from Akron (about 15-20 minutes away).
I was blown away by this park that I have now visited twice. I can’t really pick a favorite destination within the Summit Metro Parks, but Silver Creek is now in my top three. As much as I love living in Akron, this park gives you a rural escape with a lot of history.
According to the Summit Metro Park website, Silver Creek spans more than 1,000 acres and is the site of the former Harter Dairy Farm, which traces its roots back to the Civil War. Also, part of this park’s history lies beneath the surface as it was the site of a former coal mine until about the turn of the 20th century. In the 1990s, the 50-acre spring-fed Silver Creek Lake was added to the property, making use of a spring from an old mine near Wall Road. This lake offers recreational swimming, water sports and fishing.
On my first visit to the park, I started in the Big Oak area and set out on 2-mile Chippewa Trail. This path guides you through a mix of open fields and wooded areas, but most importantly this is where you can view the Civil War era Harter Dairy barn and silos. The trail offers some really neat perspectives of these structures. Many of the trees you see along the trail that have matured were planted in the 1960s and 1980s by Girl Scout troops. You really get a feel for the history of the area as you walk along this trail.
During my second visit, I wanted to make sure to hike the less strenuous Pheasant Run Trail. This is a 1.2-mile loop which offers similar open fields as the Chippewa Trail, but the main feature, about a half mile in, is the trail-lined pines. I have never experienced the smell of pine the way I did along this trail. It was amazing!
If you feel like escaping some of the hustle of Akron, Silver Creek Metro Park is a great place to go. I only scratched the surface on everything that this park offers. I highly recommend you put this one at the top of your list to explore next.
Anthony Boarman is a social studies teacher and coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. He lives in Wallhaven with his wife Emily, daughter Sadie and his dog Ava. He is a lover of all things Akron. To check out more of his work, follow Anthony on Instagram at @aboarman.