New Hiker Information
Thank you for your interest in the Cleveland Hiking Club. We are an active hiking club that is 95 years old and has over 1,000 members. We usually have over 10 hikes every day with various levels of difficulty, various locations and various starting times.
The Hiking Schedule page of this website lists our many hikes and the starting locations. If you want to check us out, just show up at the starting location; all hikes are open to visitors at no charge. (Rarely a hike might be marked for ‘members only’ or might require a fee to enter a museum or a park that is not public and will be listed as such in the Hiking Schedule.) The Cleveland Metroparks provides an excellent booklet that details the picnic and parking areas often used as hike starting points; visit a Metropark Nature Center to obtain their maps. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a detailed map of their park as well. Additionally, on the Schedules page of this website there are links to information about directions to many of our starting locations.
If not otherwise marked on the Hiking Schedule, hikes are at a moderate pace of about 3 mph. Hikes listed as ‘brisk’ are at a fast pace. 'Energetic' or 'strenuous' require extra energy as they may contain several hills or some time off trail. Hikes listed as ‘leisure’ are at a slower pace of about 2 mph. It is recommended that you try a ‘leisure’ or ‘moderate” hike for your first hike to be sure you can complete the hike without any discomfort. Hikes are often a circular loop, so once we are on the way there is no easy way to turn back if the pace is uncomfortable. Our hikes are very rarely cancelled except in the case of lightning or other extremely dangerous weather! We ask all hikers to determine for themselves if they are comfortable with the weather. But make no mistake we are a pretty hardy bunch; rain and snow and cold do not keep us from hiking! Dress for the weather and wear shoes or boots suitable for the terrain and your feet. Most hikers will carry a small water bottle to stay hydrated during the hike. Depending on the hike location there may or may not be a comfort stop (restroom) stop during the hike.
When you arrive at the site of the hike, look for a group circling up in the parking area designated in the Hiking Schedule. We start our hikes on time. The leader will ask visitors to identify themselves in the circle before the hike begins. Frequently a member will make a point to check in with you during the hike to get to know you and provide you the lowdown on the club. At the end of the hike, you’ll be asked to complete an attendance card. After you turn in attendance cards for 6 hikes, you will be eligible to join the Club. A membership packet will be sent to you shortly after your 6th hike has been recorded. There is further information on membership at the Membership page of this website.
Our club is basically for hiking but we do have social activities, which include:
- General meetings 4 times a year (with a pot-luck preceding the meeting).
- Annual holiday party, usually in December
- Annual volunteer recognition party.
- Other activities to celebrate birthdays, see trip slides, celebrate holidays or special events.
- Occasional after-hike soup suppers.
- Themed hikes that may include a hot dog, burger or ice cream stops after or during the hike.
Typically you want to buy boots or shoes that are comfortable and light weight. For winter and other foul weather, a 6 inch waterproof boot with good tread is the usual choice. For summer months, an oxford walking shoe is common. Many of us use an athletic sneaker for easy hikes listed as sidewalks, towpaths and all-purpose trails. In general, you don't need a closet full of footwear to hike. A hiking boot can be used all year in all kinds of terrain. Any sports or outdoor store will have a selection of boots and shoes. When trying on any boot, remember that feet swell nearly 1 size after walking an hour or so. An old saying is to "buy the best you can afford if your feet like 'em.”
Dogs on Hikes:
Our hiking rules state that unless noted in the Hiking Schedule, dogs are allowed on hikes if: 1) the dog is kept on short leash, and 2) you and your dog stay at the rear of our group during the hike. As is always the case, we expect all hikers to use common sense. If your dog is aggressive or bites, leave your dog at home. Occasionally a hike will be listed as 'no dogs.’ Please respect the hike leaders wishes.