Great views don't just happen. Mostly, they're a product of time (as in millions of years), flowing water and a well-marked trail. Here are three postcard-worthy vistas to enjoy while you're out adventuring. Don't forget your camera.
Brandywine Falls Scenic Overlook
Before we all flocked to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to snap family pictures in front of it, 60-foot Brandywine Falls powered sand, grist and wool mills in the bustling Brandywine Village of the early 1800s. By the 1900s, it was the site of a popular art colony. These days, a sturdy boardwalk carries visitors to upper and lower viewing platforms. Each offers a different perspective from which to watch the sheets of water pour over shale and sandstone, creating an explosion of mist. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 8176 Brandywine Road, Sagamore Hills Township, nps.gov/cuva
Tinkers Creek Gorge Overlook
In 1965, public officials tried unsuccessfully to make Tinkers Creek Gorge the site of a 150-acre lake. The loss was a gain for all of us, who today can still stand like kings at the precipice of a cavernous stretch of natural terrain that winds through the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation. A wooden viewing ledge stands 200 feet above the creek, a tributary that flows from Kent to the Cuyahoga River. Nearby Little Overlook offers a different view of the same dramatic gorge. From either perspective it's easy to see why the site was named a National Natural Landmark in 1968. Bedford Reservation, accessible via Gorge Parkway, clemetparks.com
Chapin Forest Reservation
Northeast Ohio doesn't seem that big when gazing down at it from Kirtland's hilly heights. A quiet overlook — located 1,150 feet above sea level in Lake Metroparks Chapin Forest Reservation — provides a panoramic view encompassing Cleveland's downtown skyline 20 miles to the west and Lake Erie to the north. A handful of high-rise buildings that look like Legos dot the expanse of land between the two. The view is about midway along the Lucky Stone Loop Trail — part of the Buckeye Trail, a continuous path that touches the four corners of Ohio. Chapin Forest Reservation, 10090 Chillicothe Road, Kirtland, lakemetroparks.com