Gully Brook Park protects a valley, stream, wetland and forest. Its unique natural features, ravines and wild places are intertwined with local history. For nearly 100 years, nature enthusiasts of all ages have sought inspiration and knowledge in the Gully Brook valley. Today, visitors can enjoy more than a mile of improved trails and the chance to reconnect with nature.
Explore Gully Brook and listen for the songs of winter wrens or chickadees. Watch for the footprints of raccoons, the flash of a dragonfly or enjoy the beauty of a young forest ever-changing.
Take time to relax along the brook and reconnect to the easy pace of nature protected.
History of Gully Brook
Gully Brook, its tributaries and hemlock ravines were once known far and wide for their interest and beauty.
In 1916, a group of local gentlemen
began to meet and discuss the recently published essays of naturalist author John Burroughs, and Burroughs Nature Club began. Club meetings featured renowned guest speakers and explorations to places with interesting plants, birds or other natural history.
Local people became familiar with the outstanding natural areas of northeast Ohio and Gully Brook was a frequent haunt. Enjoying the abundant spring wildflowers or the shade of a record-sized slippery elm tree, hiking, or studying nesting hawks and owls were some of their early pastimes. These naturalists actively worked to conserve Gully Brook and other favorite places including Gildersleeve Mountain (Chapin Forest Reservation), Pymatuning (State Park), Halle Ravine (Penitentiary Glen Reservation), Otis Springs (Hach Otis State Nature Preserve), and Mentor Headlands and Marsh (State Park and State Nature Preserve). As early as 1925, Willoughby’s newspaper called for a public “natural woods preserve for future generations” at Gully Brook.
The construction of Interstate 90 during the late 1950s dramatically changed the character of Lake County. In the Gully Brook valley, family farms were divided, streams were diverted into culverts and wild plant and animal communities were changed.
In 1990, the Lake Metroparks Openspace Opportunities Master Plan (1990-2010) identified Gully Brook as property that should be protected by Lake Metroparks. In the 1990s, Willoughby Natural Areas Conservancy supported the conservation of Gully Brook. With federal and local funding, the park was completed and opened in 2011. Today, more than a mile of Gully Brook and its watershed are protected within this park, providing a refuge for a variety of plants and wildlife species.
Visitors will enjoy this 172-acre treasure nestled in between Ridge Road and I-90. Explore the park on the 1.2-mile loop natural hiking trail. Restrooms are conveniently located nearby the expansive playground, picnic shelter and trail. Enjoy a picnic at the reservable shelter or at one of the three other picnic areas with grills.
From the east: From Broadmoor Rd/OH-306, turn west onto Johnnycake RidgeRd/OH-84. Drive 2.6 miles on OH-84. Turn sharp left onto River Rd/OH-174; continue 0.2 mile. Gully Brook Park entrance is on the right.
From the west: From SOM Center Rd/OH-91, turn east onto Ridge Rd/OH-84. Drive 1.9 miles on Ridge Rd/OH-84. Turn slight right onto River Rd/OH-174; continue 0.2 mile. Gully Brook Park entrance is on the right.