Dogwood Trail

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County
Sand Run Metro Park

Trail Location

Akron, Ohio (Summit County)
Park at Wadsworth Picnic Area, which is along Sand Run Parkway. Access Sand Run Parkway from North Portage Path, just off of Merriman Road.

Trail Summary

Length: 1.8 mile.
Duration: One Hour
Surface: natural
Type: Loop.
Difficulty: moderate
Accessibility: no, steep slopes, uneven surface, some stairs.

tiger swallowtail butterflies feeding on Joe Pye Weed along the Dogwood Trail in Sand Run Metropark
Along the open portion of the trail you will find light-loving species like Joe Pye Weed, the pink-flowered plant pictured here. Notice the Tiger Swallowtail butterflies feeding on the Joe Pye.

Trail Description

This Hiking trail is a short but moderately difficult loop trail through a beautiful forest filled with large trees and diverse with wildflowers. Start off from Wadsworth Picnic Area, named for General Wadsworth, who had a camp in this area during the war of 1812. From the grassy field at the picnic area, go to the woodline where you will find the hiking trail. Ascend the steep stairs into the dark mixed mesophytic forest. On a recent hike we counted nearly twenty species of trees in this woods. With some more time and luck, we would probably have found more. The woods is so diverse because the environmental conditions are well suited for most species of trees. In dryer areas you find oaks and hickories, while in wetter areas you may find sycamore, elms, and cottonwood. In the more intermediate, or "mesic" areas you are likely to find sugar maple and beech, tulip and cucumber magnolia.

Some trees in the area are easily over three feet in diameter at breast height. While you cannot accurately judge the age of trees by their size due to large variation depending on site conditions, species, and luck, it is safe to say that many of these trees are over 100 years old, probably older in some cases. The well developed tree community is complimented by a great diversity of wildflowers and shrubs as well. Look for the porcelain-like berries of White baneberry (Actea pachypoda) also known as Doll's Eyes. In mid summer you will probably see the dark blue berries of blue cohosh at about knee height. Most of its leaves will be dead now, with just the berries at the top of the drying stalk.

a picturesque small ravine typical of Sand Run
Small ravines like this one are plentiful in Sand Run Metro Park. The sunlight filtering through the leaves gives
them a peaceful, warm feeling.

After passing though the forest for a bit, you will come to an open area near the coasting hill. In this area, you will see many species of sun-loving plants such as Ironweed, Joe Pye Weed, Wild Sunflowers, asters, daisies, and milkweed. If you are here on a sunny day, the warmth and brightness will make the vivid colors of the wildflowers even more alive. A wide variety of butterflies inhabit this field during the summer as well. The yellow and black Tiger Swallowtails were feasting on the Joe Pye weed when we visited in August. When you hike this trail, bring along your plant identification guides, and your butterfly book!

Passing beyond the open area, you will find yourself back in the forest and walking along the rim of a large ravine. These ravines run fiercely with water after a heavy rain, but can often be dry when we haven't had rain. The landscape of Sand Run Metropark is laced with them. Along this section of trail, notice how the ravines lie on the land, and how the interaction of water, soil rock and roots has played a role in the present landscape. Also, keep an eye out to the right along the flat portions of the trail near the end. A large colony of horsetails dominates a moist hillside giving the woods a prehistoric look.

Nearby Trails

Buckeye Trail
Mingo Trail
Sand Run Parkway Jogging Trail
Sand Run Parcours