Last updated: December 28, 2021
The Everett area offers three short walks that invite play and exploration. These walks appeal to all ages and abilities. They are top picks for children and people with autism because of their charismatic features, variety of activities, tactile and audio exhibits, seating, and proximity to restrooms. Depending on the time of year, there are several nearby places to buy food. You can do all of them in one trip, or return later if energy levels drag. On warm days, we recommend that you avoid the midday crowds, as parking lots can fill up and traffic can be stressful.
Ira Trailhead to Beaver Marsh
Start at Ira Trailhead which has a picnic area, restroom, and the tactile exhibit “From Salvage Yard to Beaver Marsh.” The exhibit includes touchable beaver, otter, and muskrat statues. Follow the path to the Towpath Trail. Turn left and head north a quarter of a mile. Along the way, look for wildlife in the surrounding wetlands. Depending on the time of year, there can be herons, ducks, muskrats, or beavers patrolling in the water. Turtles and snakes often sun themselves on fallen logs in the old canal. Songbirds dart among the trees or over the open water. Frogs call. Animals are most active in the mornings and evenings.
The boardwalk provides scenic views and benches where you can hang out. Exhibits help you identify what you see. “Beaver Marsh: A Superior Wetland” provides a tactile map of the plant communities in the area. “Reptiles and Amphibians: Mostly Staying Still” has a tactile sculpture of a painted turtle.
If you want to explore further, continue on a short distance to the graphic panel and bench overlooking the Cuyahoga River. Turn around and return to the parking lot when you are ready for other adventures.
Getting hungry? On Saturday mornings from May to October, there is a Countryside Farmers’ Market across the street at Howe Meadow. Sit down and takeout food is available year-round in the Merriman Valley shopping district, south on Riverview Road.
Hunt House and Outdoor Exhibits
Drive north to Hunt House Trailhead. Park and carefully cross Bolanz Road to the small historic farm. The “Growing Up in Everett” exhibit is between the house and the barn. Pose for photos with Winnie and Birdie, two hens on a hay bale, and Johnnycake, a brown and white calf. Hand-crank the audio station to hear Helyn Fielder and her friends talking about their childhoods. If Hunt House is open, go inside to explore the hands-on nature exhibits and get park information. The building has seasonal hours.
The restroom beside the barn has flush toilets, baby changing tables, and drinking water. This is your best option in the Everett area.
If you have extra energy, walk a short distance north on the Towpath Trail that passes beside the house. Cross the footbridge over Furnace Run and visit Lock 27. You can glimpse the village across the old canal bed.
If you need refreshments, there is a privately owned farm market next door to Hunt House. It is open from early June through October. Avoid the traffic congestion during peak hours, especially on the weekends.
Everett Covered Bridge
Drive north and then west to Everett Covered Bridge Trailhead. Walk the short, accessible path to the bridge, visible from the parking lot. It is fun to run around inside and to explore the creek below. Beside the bridge are a cluster of exhibits about the park founders with seating and a view of Furnace Run. There is a vault toilet along the path from the parking lot. Everett Covered Bridge is a popular place to take photos.
If you want to go a little farther, take the unpaved Furnace Run Trail west along the creek and turn around before the road crossing.
Leashed pets are permitted on these park trails, but not in park buildings. Leashes must be 6 feet long or less.
The locations are less crowded in the early morning and evening hours.
All locations are wheelchair accessible. The terrain includes flat, crushed limestone paths. Service animals and leashed comfort pets are welcome. Audio description is available for each trailhead and each cluster of exhibits. Seating is available at Ira Trailhead, along the Towpath Trail, and at the boardwalk viewing platforms. Hunt House has seating at the trailhead, on the porch, and inside. Everett Covered Bridge has seating by the Founders exhibits.