Hidden Gems of Stark Parks

Being outside has been and continues to be one of the safest places to enjoy and Stark Parks is full of hidden gems.  Switch up your route or discover new areas and experiences with lesser-known locations, we call hidden gems. These locations are typically less crowded and tucked away in serene spots throughout Stark County.  Read the descriptions below and plan (or make it an impromptu surprise) to somewhere undiscovered. 

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 and you have a mile and then some! Sorry if you need to dodge some goose poop every so often! 

Look down from the two bridges and see what is in the water flowing between the Nimishillen Creek and pond below. See if you can guess which bridge was made from a semi-truck trailer!

Fishing access to the pond is available all around the pond with accessible fishing as well. You might be surprised to see some of the fish living in the small pond! Osprey often fly off to their nest 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.

Many people know about Walborn Reservoir for hiking, horseback riding, boating, and fishing, but Deer Creek Reservoir just a few miles to the east on Price St. has a relaxing setting with 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. A nice view of both bodies of water and a good place to take a picture of your adventure!

Towpath Trail-Navarre Area

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

You will still definitely get that “out there” feeling with a canopy of trees around you and water moving down the Tuscarawas River coming into view every so often. If you have your own bike, horse, or like longer walking excursions, the southern section of the Towpath Trail provides the perfect area. 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 during the 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 just about two miles to Wooster St. You might also see waterfowl on or above the river with Black Birds, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Woodpeckers, and an occasional Mockingbird.

Whitacre Greer Park

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

This hidden gem takes a friend or a friend of a friend who has a horse and a trailer! Whitacre Greer Park in Waynesburg provides 2,000 acres and nearly 8.5 miles of trails for horseback riding only. 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.