The best way to enjoy some fresh air is a walk through the park, literally.

This weekend I decided to visit some Kent-local parks to get a scope for what they’re like. There’s something about the fresh air and nature that makes me feel free from everyday stress. I went to three, all which were very close to campus, to get a little escape.

One of the benches at The Portage Hike and Bike Trail

My first stop was The Portage Hike and Bike Trail. Apparently the asphalt and crushed limestone trail goes on for 13 miles, but I only visited the Tannery Park Access section. It was perfect for picnics! There were quite a few picnic tables and even a cute, little charcoal grill available to use.

Once you walk out of the initial picnic area, you find the trail that follows the Cuyahoga National Heritage River. The water adds a calming feel to the scene and the trails aren’t too extreme.

I didn’t like this park’s location. It’s right by downtown Kent and you can hear cars while you’re hiking in certain areas. Also, you can see people’s houses from different parts of the trail. I prefer my parks to be in the middle of nowhere, but when I just want to go right down the road, the Portage Hike and Bike Trail will do.

Trails at the Jessie Smith Wildlife Reserve

Second, I adventured over to the Jessie Smith Wildlife Reserve. As soon as I pulled up, I saw about six deer eating at the edge of the woods and knew this was my kind of park. It was much more quiet than the first stop and the woods were dense. I loved that it was overgrown enough to let me escape Kent but hiked enough that the trails were clear.

This park’s only downfall, to me, is the fact that there are train tracks going along the one side of the park. Although a train didn’t go by during the time I was wondering, I’m sure the obnoxious whistle would ruin the middle-of-no-where feel.

Sand volleyball court at Chase Park

Last stop was Chase Park. It seemed to be the smallest, yet it was the most commercialized. I personally prefer the densely wooded parks with lots of hiking, but this one is kind of cool. There’s a track outlining the entire park and off the track in different areas rest some interesting stuff. In one area there’s a small play ground set up. If you keep walking, you’ll find a sand volleyball in the middle of the woods (which I think is awesome!) and shortly following is a little work out area.

Even though small parks aren’t really my thing. This one has lot to offer if you want a good work out. If nothing else, the fresh air beats the rec’s atmosphere!

It started to get dark outside, as you can see in the Chase Park picture, so that’s where my adventures ended. There are more Kent-local parks to check out, let me know what you think of them!