Hidden Gems of Stark Parks

The great outdoors continues to be one of the safest places to spend time, and Stark Parks has plenty of space to explore.  If your usual route has increased in traffic, or you’re simply ready to try out a new trail, switch up your route and discover new areas and experiences with some of our lesser-known locations, which we call Hidden Gems. These locations are typically less crowded and tucked away in serene spots throughout Stark County.  Read more below to learn about the Hidden Gems of Stark Parks:

Cook’s Lagoon

Bridge with Wood Railing over creek
Bridge along the Cook’s Lagoon Loop Trail by Colleen H.

“A Walk in the Park” near downtown Canton on Mahoning Rd., Cook’s Lagoon offers a short .30 mile limestone loop trail around a small pond. Kids getting used to training wheels? This trail is good to practice riding on. Four times around puts you over a mile. Sorry if you need to dodge some goose poop every so often! 

Look down from the two bridges and watch the water flowing between the Nimishillen Creek and pond below. See if you can guess which bridge was sustainably repurposed from a semi-truck trailer!

Fishing access, including wheelchair-accessible access to the pond is available. You may be surprised to see some of the fish that live in the small pond! Osprey often fly off to their nests with dinner from this pond. Use the trash and recycling cans at the parking area. Please pick up all fishing line and hooks.

Deer Creek Reservoir-Alliance

A Lone Kayak at Sunset on the Water at Walborn Reservoir
Kayaker enjoying Deer Creek Reservoir at sunset.

You may know about Walborn Reservoir’s hiking, horseback riding, boating, and fishing, but Deer Creek Reservoir just a few miles to the east on Price St., has a relaxing setting and offers fishing, boating (electric motors only), and the Mahoning Valley Trail for hiking and biking.

An improved boat launch was recently installed, so search your contact list and friends and find out who has a boat, canoe, SUP, or kayak! Head west on the water from the main parking lot and you can travel near or through tunnels under the railroad tracks and Rt. 183.

Look to the sky and in nearby trees for eagles, osprey and waterfowl. You might even catch a glimpse of deer or coyote along the shoreline in the trees.

Take a 1.1 mile walk on the crushed limestone trail to Greenbower St. and travel over the spillway to Berlin Reservoir. There you’ll find a nice view of both bodies of water and a good location to take a photo.

Towpath Trail-Navarre Area

Looking through Railroad Tunnel
Traveling under the Railroad just north of Canal Bend Trailhead.

If you have your own bike, horse, or you like longer walking excursions, the southern section of the Towpath Trail provides the perfect area for these activities. You will experience that “great outdoors” feeling with a canopy of trees above you and the Tuscarawas River coming into view every so often. Start at the Craig Pittman Trailhead and head left (south) for nearly 6.50 miles of peaceful surroundings following the Tuscarawas River as it flows south toward Bolivar.

There are two road crossings along this stretch, a tunnel under the railroad (enjoy the cooler temperature and the echo), and a bridge traveling over the river where Stark and Tuscarawas County meet.

Begin at the John Glenn Trailhead on Warmington and head south on a peaceful stretch about two miles to Wooster St. You may see waterfowl on or above the river with Black Birds, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Woodpeckers, and an occasional Mockingbird known to live there.

Whitacre Greer Park

Horses next to pond
Riders traveling around a pond near the trail.

For this hidden gem you may need a friend who has a horse and a trailer! Whitacre Greer Park in Waynesburg provides 2,000 acres and nearly 8.5 miles of designated trails exclusively for horseback riding. Longer and shorter loop trails are well-marked with color-coded signage and take you through woods and near ponds and fields. The trail surface is primarily grass and compact turf with several gravel road connections.