Backcountry Educational Programs and Guided Trips
Whether you are just beginning or you want to enhance your menu in the backcountry, there are educational opportunities for all experience levels. Explore Outdoor Recreation’s program series to find your next backcountry adventure.
Backpacking programs and trips are focused on educating participants to be independent backpackers. Our experienced instructors will meet with participants beforehand to discuss the trip destination and itinerary, packing lists, learn about meal planning and packing a backpack. Equipment is provided for trips.
These trips range from 1 night in the wilderness on a Beginner Backpacking trip to 4 or 5 nights on the Intermediate and Advanced trips. Terrain level will also very in difficulty across trip levels.
To enhance your backcountry experience, discover our supplemental programs. These topics range from Gourmet Backcountry Cooking to learning map and compass with Land Navigation. For questions about trips or programs call 216-341-1704.
The classroom based backcountry need-to-knows on gear, campsite set-up, and safety.
Beginner Backpacking Trip:
A short entry-level trip foced on learning the basics in a beautiful location.
Intermediate Backpacking Trip:
A 4-day guided trip focused on cementing the basics and gaining confidence while immersed in history on the Appalachian Trail.
Advanced Backpacking Trip:
A guided trip focused on trip planning and gaining the experience to become an independent backpacker.
Gourmet Backcountry Cooking:
Add to your backcountry cookbook learning tips and tricks along the way.
Land Navigation 1&2:
Gain confidence reading maps, learn to use a compass and unite it with a map.
Backcountry Facilities in Cleveland Metroparks
Did you know that Ohio hosts a trail that circumnavigates the state continuing for over 1,400 miles?The Buckeye Trail wanders through 5 of Cleveland Metroparks Reservations. Reserve your hike-in “rustic” backcountry site today!
These Leave No Trace backcountry sites feature designated tent sites, a group kitchen/cooking area, and a food storage location to hang food in a critter safe manner.
Rules and Regulations:
In order to help ensure a quality, fun, and safe experience, we ask all users to review the rules and regulations, and to follow Leave No Trace Principles.
- Maximum capacity at each site is 4 individuals.
- Backcountry Sites are limited to 2 small backpacking tents (a 20’ x 20’ space), which must stay within the designated tent areas.
- Sites will be hike in only, users will not be able to access the backcountry sites to unload gear.
- 1 night maximum stay for any permit.
- Set up begins at 3 p.m. or later on your reservation date with departure no later than noon the following the day.
- Please respect others’ experience by observing quiet hours, 10 p.m. – 6a.m.
- Trail use and entrance in and out of the parks is limited to park hours, 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
- Must use latrines provided.
- Please cook and hang food in the designated areas.
- No alcohol permitted.
- No fires will be permitted.
- To preserve the area for future use, no trees should be trimmed or removed.
- Trash is to be packed in and packed OUT.
- Wash yourself, your dishes and your clothes using a container. Washing in a spring, lake or waterway is prohibited. Dispose of waste water at least 200 feet from water resources, trails, and campsite.
- Please do not feed wildlife.
- Dogs and cats may accompany their owners in the Park District; however, pets must be controlled on a leash not more than eight feet long, and all excrement must be placed in a litter receptacle.
Obtaining a permit
Call 216-635-3304 to reserve a backcountry site.
- Permits are free, but required.
- Please expect up to 2 weeks to receive your permit.
- Permitting season is Memorial Day Weekend through the last weekend of September.
- List vehicle information (license plate number, color, make, model, parking location, and number of nights)
- Cleveland Metroparks is not responsible for any vehicle damage that may occur while parked at either of the designated overnight sites. Vehicles not listed on the permit can be subject to being removed as an abandoned vehicle.
- Each site will require the user to get a reservation and parking permit. The permit is proof of the reservation. Keep a signed copy of the approved permit available at all times during the reservation period. Present the permit to any Ranger or other staff upon request.
- Must be of 18 years to reserve a permit.
- Permit holders are responsible for all guests.
Ottawa Overlook; Brecksville Reservation
- Potable water and bathroom facilities can be found at Ottawa Point Picnic Area about .25 miles from Ottawa Overlook Backcountry Site.
- There are 3 tent sites that have the capabilities to house 4 individuals each.
- Overnight parking by permit is available in Brecksville Reservation at Brecksville Nature Center parking lot or Plateau Picnic Area. Parking location must be specified when obtaining a permit.
- Ottawa Point Picnic Area is a reservable location, please be respectful of any guests using the area.
- Please hang all food and items with any scent such as toothpaste or soaps.
- Please dispose of food scraps properly.