Even though it’s like 30 degrees and there is snow everywhere, when you're in The Land, that doesn't stop you. Winter in Cleveland is a time to experience a city that truly embraces the weather. So, whether they’re racing down a 1,000-foot-long ice chute or taking a surf in 40-degree water, just know there’s are many things to do in Cleveland during the winter. Here in Cleveland, our outdoor adventures are worth the chill.
At the Cleveland Metroparks, rent snowshoes (and cross-country skis) at the Big Met Golf Course in Rocky River. Showshoeing is permitted on hiking, bridle and all-purpose trails (that have not been plowed), as well as the fairways and rough areas of Big Met, Little Met, Shawnee Hills, Seneca, Mastick Woods and Sleepy Hollow golf courses with a four-inch snow base.
Located east of Cleveland, The Lake Metroparks also offers some of the best in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at its Chapin Forest Reservation, Girdled Road Reservation and Penitentiary Glenn Lodge. Rentals are available at the Pine Lodge Ski Center.
This winter experience the thrill of tobogganing at The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville. The two 1,000-foot-long refrigerated ice chutes operate with or without snow the day after Thanksgiving through the first weekend in March, weather permitting. Reservations required and please be sure to check additional safety restrictions in advance.
It’s called sledding, although some people around here would have you believe it's “sled riding.” Either way, grab the closest makeshift garbage can lid sled (or purchase one, I guess) and hit the slopes. Some of the best sledding can be found in Cleveland Metroparks spread throughout their reservations. Hang on tight because these hills go from beginner bunny to steep, reckless teenager really quick. Family favorites include Thornton Park, Memphis Hill, State Road Sledding Hill at Hinckley Reservation and off Hobart Road at Chapin Forest Reservation.
Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resorts offer two resorts for the price of one. Standing as Ohio’s largest ski resort, Boston Mills/Brandywine boasts 18 slopes, 16 lifts with snow tubing, skiing, snowboarding, snowblading, terrain parks and 100 percent snow coverage.
Brandywine Ski Resort is also home to the area's largest tubing park, Polar Blast Tubing. Spend two-hour sessions speeding down the super lanes with ample time for hot cocoa breaks.
Lake Erie Surfing
Surf’s up in CLE — if you can handle 40-degree water temps paired with subzero outdoor conditions. Most of us would be running for the fireplace at those kind of temps — but this is a #NewYearNewYou! Lake Erie surfers (yep, they exist) know that winter is primetime for catching some serious wave action with the prevalence of intense winds from the region’s strong winter storms. It’s also becoming increasingly more popular as the lake is generally wide open in the winter, so surfers have the place to themselves — the most happening surf spot being Edgewater Beach on the near-west side of Cleveland. Hop in Lake Erie with no info on how it’s done? Please don’t. Hit up one of these surf groups for the intel: Lake Erie Surf Club and Cleveland Surf Company Ohana.
Step up and step out on the hiking trails this winter. Breathe some crisp air, stretch your lungs and maybe even feel a little winter sun on your face. Visit thousands of miles of classic trails at Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Lake Metroparks, Summit Metro Parks and Mill Creek Metroparks. From farmland and forest to coastline and urban spaces, Northeast Ohio hiking has something for everyone, including paved and accessible trails. Be sure to check trail websites for snow closures beforehand. Check out more winter hikes in Cleveland.
Get on a fat bike, it’s not what you think. Fat bikes (aka snow bikes) use monster truck-like tires to get traction over snow and they ride like a regular mountain bike. Take your soul on a cycle outside and work off those extra cookies and couch LBs from the holidays. Clevelanders say their favorite trails can be found at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail, Bike & Hike Trail at Walton Hills or Cleveland MetroParks Royalview Trail. Snow bike rentals available at Century Cycles in Peninsula.
Love fishing? Then don’t let the winter weather stop you now. Ice fishing for perch and walleye on Lake Erie is a unique way to experience the winter in Cleveland. For those looking to ice fish largemouth bass, set up shack at Wallace Lake, Beyer’s Pond or Hinckley Lake — all a part of the Cleveland Metroparks.
While fall is traditionally known as the time for steelhead fishing, the inland ponds, Lake Erie tributaries and rivers throughout The Land provide some pretty sweet opportunities for anglers to pursue steelhead trout, panfish and stocked trout until about late spring. You just have to be ready for a little chill in the air … and water. For more information, check out the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Clear Fork River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.