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Headwaters Park
13365 Old State Road (Route 608)
Claridon & Huntsburg Twps.
(Huntsburg, OH 44021)

Sign coordinates (Route 608 entrance)
N 41° 30.314 W 81° 6.103
Sign coordinates (Route 322 entrance)
N 41° 32.187 W 81° 6.186

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Headwaters
  • About this Park
  • Facilities
  • Trails
  • Habitat
  • Fishing & Boating
  • Bike Trail
  • Directions

Headwaters Park is a 926-acre reservation located in Claridon and Huntsburg townships. The property is leased by Geauga Park District from the City of Akron in a partnership that allows for conservation of natural areas, enjoyment by park visitors, and outdoor education and passive recreation. It is Geauga Park District's intent to mange this natural area and to protect the water quality for aquatic life and downstream neighbors.

Prior to 1932, the east branch of the Cuyahoga River meandered through a lush ravine as it made its way through Claridon and Huntsburg townships. Picnickers enjoyed many summer afternoons along it's banks; vacationers escaped to cottages nestled around adjacent Crystal Lake and along the river's edge.

When the City of Akron began purchasing land in Geauga County in 1932, the cottages and neighboring farmhouses were moved and a dam was built to impound the waters in East Branch Reservoir.

Having secured a stable water supply for the businesses and homes in their community, City of Akron officials opened the reservoir and surrounding land to local residents in 1959. In 1996, Geauga Park District's Board of Park Commissioners signed an agreement to lease the land and reservoir, and renamed the area Headwaters Park because of its location at the upper reaches of the Cuyahoga River.

Visitor activities are regulated by Geauga Park District in accordance with the City of Akron in order to achieve mutual stewardship goals of protecting natural resources and water quality.

As weather and water levels allow, boating, canoeing and kayaking is permitted on East Branch Reservoir. A boat launch provides easy access for these small watercraft. Only electric motors (1.5 horsepower or less) are permitted on the reservoir.

Crystal Lake Shelter

Crystal Lake Shelter, named for the area enjoyed by picnickers of a bygone era, provides an open shelter, picnic tables, grills and nearby restrooms. This shelter can be reserved, but is otherwise available on a first-come, first-served basis. Read more about reserving shelters here.

For more information on camping at Headwaters Park, download the Camping Brochure. Check-in time is no earlier than 2 PM. Check-out time is 12 PM (noon). IF CAMP SITES ARE NOT OCCUPIED BY THE DESIGNATED ARRIVAL TIME ON THE FIRST DAY OF A RESERVATION PERIOD (posted onsite), THE RESERVATION WILL BE FORFEITED AND THE SITE WILL BE AVAILABLE ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS. If for some reason you need to cancel your reservation, please call the Geauga Park District Office at 440-286-9516 extension 1101.

Headwaters Park has more than 3 miles of trails.  Download the trail map here.

More than 2 miles of the statewide Buckeye Trail wind along the western shore of East Branch Reservoir. The eastern shore and all islands are designated as preserve. They are only accessible during naturalist-led programs. Bicycles and horses are permitted on the Buckeye Trail only.

Pike Point Trail and Kingfisher Trail provide passage to shoreline fishing facilities and waterfowl observation areas.

The Eagle Trail, located at the northern end of the park, is a loop trail that includes a shoreline view, woodland walking and connections to the Buckeye Trail.

Located at the headwaters of the Cuyahoga River, the 420-acre East Branch Reservoir is the northernmost of the four reservoirs that supply water to the Akron metropolitan area. The City of Akron implements a variety of management practices to maintain a high-quality water supply. These include keeping watershed lands in natural states so that forests, meadows and wetlands can filter out sediment and pollutants before they reach waterways. The natural state of watershed lands also provides quality habitats and recreation opportunities.

A beech-maple forest, meadows and evergreen plantations surround the waters of East Branch Reservoir. The land is home to wild turkey, fox, mink, owls, hawks and a wide variety of songbirds. Abundant wildflowers carpet the forest floor each spring.

Headwaters Park is a popular stop-over for migratory waterfowl in each spring and fall, when birdwatchers are likely to see loons, tundra swans and many types of ducks. Bald eagles and ospreys have been spotted soaring over the reservoir, while cormorants sun themselves in the trees on the islands. Sandpipers and plovers visit the reservoir in late summer.

Fishing is permitted from boats; shoreline fishing is limited to designated areas to help control erosion and protect shoreline habitat. Catches of largemouth bass, northern pike, perch, bluegill, catfish and crappie have been reported from anglers. 

Fish may be taken only with rod and reel or cane pole; a current Ohio fishing license is required in accordance with state regulations. Collecting live bait is not permitted. Geauga Park District encourages catch-and-release practices to help maintain a balanced and healthy fish population.

The Maple Highlands Trail – Mountain Run Station
12601 Chardon Windsor Road, Hambden Township
This section was completed in 2007. It travels travel east and south from South Street in Chardon to Headwaters Park, traversing 8.2 miles through woodlands, along wetlands and farm fields. There is parking, a picnic area and restrooms available at Mountain Run Station.
         
The Maple Highlands Trail – South 
This roughly 7-mile section will take travelers from Headwaters Park in Claridon Township to Reeves Road in Parkman Township. Geauga Park District and officials from the Village of Middlefield are working cooperatively to provide this leg of the trail, which accommodates bicyclers, rollerbladers, pedestrians and Amish buggy traffic.

Click the map below to see Headwaters Park plotted by Google Maps and get directions.

From Erie and points north: Travel Old State Road (Route 608) approximately 2.2 miles south of Route 322/Mayfield Road. Park entrance is on the east side of the road. A second parking area is located on Mayfield Road, about 0.6 miles east of Route 608.

From Akron and points south: Travel Route 608 approximately 3.3 miles north of Kinsman Road (Route 87). Park entrance is on the east side of the road.

From Cleveland and points west: Travel I-90 E to I-271 S. Exit US-322 E toward Mayfield Hts. Right on Old State Road/OH-608. Park entrance is on east side of road.