Tree Farm TrailNational Park Service
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Peninsula, Ohio (Summit County)
Take Riverview Road south from Peninsula Ohio. Turn right (west) on Major Road. Park at the Horseshoe Pond Parking Lot on Major Road.
Length: 2.75 miles
Duration: 1.5 hours
Accessibility: no, but trail is fairly smooth and wide
Trail DescriptionThe Tree Farm Trail is a fairly easy hike through a variety of habitats. The trail starts out along Horseshoe Pond, a large man-made pond named for its obvious shape. You will hike past the pond and through a mixture of pine and spruce stands planted when this area was, well, a pine and spruce tree farm.
Horseshoe Pond at Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers opportunities for picnicking, fishing, hiking and relaxation in a peaceful setting south of Peninsula, Ohio.
The pines are an ideal place to see or hear barred owls. They like to perch in dense cover and watch for prey such as moles, chipminks, squirrels, young rabbits, and even other birds. If you want to try to observe the owls, try to visit the hiking trail around dusk. Owls are nocturnal, so it would be rare to see them during the daytime.
The Tree Farm Trail also goes through a number of old fields. These fields are not formally managed by the National Park Service, but appear to be staying in a fairly open condition and not completely reverting to woodland because of high deer concentrations. If you hike the trail in late summer as we did, you will see a number of great wildflowers, including New England Aster, Canadian Goldenrod, Boneset, Smooth Aster, Joe Pye, Ironweed, Flat-topped Goldenrod, and many more.
The Tree Farm Trail is also a wonderful winter trail. It will take you about an hour to ski the trail, which is popular with cross-country skiers. It feels like you are in the middle of the wilderness on a crisp Sunday morning along the Tree Farm Trail in winter. If you are hiking the trail in winter, try to keep from stepping on the ski tracks, as that makes it harder for the next skier to glide along the trail.
Blue vervain and boneset, pictured here, are just two of the many wildflowers and natural sights you will enjoy along the Tree Farm Trail.
After hiking the trail, take a few moments to gaze out over the pond on the observation deck. You may see a great blue heron feeding on the shallows near the cattails to the left of the deck, or you may see a red tailed hawk hunting overhead. The deck is also a convenient place to throw a line in the pond and try your luck at pulling in a pan fish or two.
No matter what you like to do outdoors, Horseshoe Pond and the Tree Farm Trail are worth several hours of your time.