Lots to enjoy in Ashtabula County for outdoor enthusiasts

A kayaker negotiates wetlands just east of Conneaut Township Park beach in March.

Plenty of adventures await outdoor enthusiasts who visit Ashtabula County. Here’s a sample of what the county offers those who enjoy some fresh-air fun:

• Hiking: The county’s premier trail can be found along the Western Reserve Greenway, a former PennCentral right-of-way that closed in 1976. The stretch was reborn in 2002 as a pathway for runners, walkers, cyclists, rollerbladers and in the winter cross-country skiers.

The paved trail, managed by Ashtabula County Metroparks, stretches 27 miles in Ashtabula County. It begins at West Avenue in Ashtabula and travels south through Orwell en route to its terminus in Champion in Trumbull County, according to the Metroparks website.

Parking lots can be found at intervals along the trail, including Ashtabula and Austinburg townships and Rock Creek.

The Ashtabula Township Park Commission maintains Indian Trails Park, which covers 369 acres that meander along the Ashtabula River.

The park, 1700 E. First St., Ashtabula, is home to the Smolen-Gulf covered bridge, at 613 feet the longest roofed span in the country. The bridge links Ashtabula and Plymouth townships.

• Lake Erie vistas: There’s no shortage of beautiful views in Ashtabula County, but some of the most spectacular feature a Lake Erie setting.

Sunsets over the lake are especially breath-taking. Here’s a few recommendations for scenic spots along the lake:

The Al Cummings Sunset Park in North Kingsville (Route 531 a short distance east of Route 193) is a popular Lake Erie vantage point. Picnic tables and a playground are available during the summer season, and eagles have been spotted nearby. The park is named after the village’s late road superintendent.

Conneaut Park Township in Conneaut (Route 531) offers a panorama of the lake. The park boasts picnic pavilions and a big sandy beach.

Point Park in Ashtabula (1071 Walnut Boulevard) provides a bird’s eye view of the historic Ashtabula Harbor and its lift bridge. The park is next door to the Ashtabula Marine Museum.

 • Parks: Ashtabula County has no shortage of places to picnic, play outdoor games, host a family reunion or simply relax in the great outdoors. Some popular favorites: 

Geneva Township Park (5045 Lake Road E.) Geneva and Saybrook Township Park (5941 Lake Road W.) can be found along the Lake Erie shoreline. Geneva offers pavilions, a playground and volleyball. Saybrook has pavilions, charcoal grills, benches, ball fields and a small beach.

Lake Shore Park in Ashtabula Township (Route 531 at State Road) is a family park featuring picnic tables, pavilions, duck pond, swans, peacocks, fenced-in playground and a boat ramp. 

• Fishing and boating: Ashtabula County is awash with water that offers boating and fishing opportunities. Here’s a few of the hot spots:

Harpersfield Covered Bridge in Harpersfield Township (near Route 534) is bisected by the Grand River. The park is popular with anglers. Picnic tables are nearby.

Pymatuning State Park in Andover (6030 Pymatuning Lake Road) has boating access to Pymatuning Lake, home to a number of game fish. Picnicking, swimming and camping is also available.

Inside Geneva State Park in Geneva-on-the-Lake and Geneva Township is a marina that offers Lake Erie access to boaters. Ramps to the water also can be found at Conneaut’s public dock.

Conneaut Creek is renown for its fishing, particularly steelhead trout. In Conneaut, parking lots cater to fishermen and women can be found on Old Mill Road. n

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