Paine Falls

Cleveland / Painesville / Leroy Township, Ohio, USA

About Paine Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2015-10-04
Date last visited: 2015-10-04

Waterfall Latitude: 41.71688
Waterfall Longitude: -81.14366

Paine Falls was a very attractive wide waterfall where Paine Creek dropped 25ft or so over a pair of sloping tiers fanning out to nearly 80ft in width.

What stood out to us about our visit to this waterfall was the surrounding foliage, which seemed to be close to the peak of the Autumn colors.

Paine_Falls_012_10042015 - Paine Falls
Paine Falls

As you can see in the photo above, I swore that this waterfall seemed to be tailor made for seeing it with the Fall colors, and that was what made this experience so memorable.

In any case, Paine Falls was kind of our introduction to the Metroparks system, which were surprisingly beautiful pockets of Nature near the greater Cleveland area.

During our visit in October 2015, the falls seemed to have exhibited a pretty healthy flow.

I’m not sure if this waterfall would have year-round flow, but we did know that it had rained quite a bit on the day before our visit.

Paine_Falls_036_10042015 - Direct look at the sliding Paine Falls and the road bridge further upstream of it
Direct look at the sliding Paine Falls and the road bridge further upstream of it

I’d imagine that its highest flow typically would occur in the late Spring and early Summer months when the snow and ice from the bitterly cold Winters around the Great Lakes would thaw.

Experiencing Paine Falls

Paine Falls was very easy for us to visit as it was just down a short set of steps from the parking area (see directions below).

At the end of the short trail, we reached a viewing platform where we were able to peer through an opening in the foliage looking right at the attractive falls backed by a road bridge (i.e. Paine Road).

It only took Julie, Tahia, and I a half-hour away from the car to take it all in.

Paine_Falls_031_10042015 - Julie and Tahia exploring the Paine Falls Park
Julie and Tahia exploring the Paine Falls Park

Most of that time was spent taking photos as maybe less than 5 minutes were spent walking.

Perhaps the only thing that reminded us that we were still close to urban developments was the noisy I-90 freeway next door to the park.

Another thing that we noticed was that the restroom facility also doubled as a tornado shelter as apparently tornados can occur in this region.

Heritage of Paine Falls

A sign at the picnic area next to the parking lot said that this park and waterfall was named after Colonel Hendrick Paine who was the founder of the nearby Painesville.

Paine_Falls_046_10042015 - Tahia and the restroom facility at the Paine Falls Park that also doubled as a tornado shelter so it must have been built with sturdiness in mind
Tahia and the restroom facility at the Paine Falls Park that also doubled as a tornado shelter so it must have been built with sturdiness in mind

They settled into the valley containing the Paine Falls in 1818 where it was known as “Paine’s Hollow.”

Apparently Paine and some relatives began several industrial developments in the Hollow aided by the water power from this waterfall.

The activity was said to have peaked in the 1840s then declined in 1850 after the lumber supply was depleted and water power was trumped by other forms of energy (most likely fossil fuels).

This park was only dedicated as a public park under the Lake Metroparks system in 1974 after nearly a century of neglect.

Paine_Falls_005_10042015 - Paine Falls Park was a very nice spot to have a picnic
Paine Falls Park was a very nice spot to have a picnic

However, the falls and surrounding area seemed to have recovered nicely in the 40+ years since.

Authorities

Paine Falls resides in the Paine Falls Park near Painesville just east of Cleveland in Lake County, Ohio. It is administered by Lake Metroparks. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Paine_Falls_004_10042015 - The Paine Falls Park was a nice place to have a picnic. This spot was near the parking lot, but there's not much of a view of Paine Falls from here
Paine_Falls_016_10042015 - This was our first look at Paine Falls before the sun burned through the morning clouds and breached the trees
Paine_Falls_022_10042015 - Another look at Paine Falls when the sun started to penetrate through the morning haze and bring out some of the colors in the leaves
Paine_Falls_042_10042015 - Tahia enjoying the main lookout for Paine Falls though she was actually getting more of a kick out of watching leaves slowly fall from her hands

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We visited Paine Falls as one of a handful of waterfalling day excursions from the city of Cleveland so we’ll describe our route from there.

Given its proximity to the interstate, I’m sure there are many other ways to get here, but we’ll just focus on what we’ve done.

From downtown Cleveland, we took Superior Ave east for about 1.2 miles to the I-90.

Paine_Falls_001_10042015 - The parking lot for the Paine Falls Park
The parking lot for the Paine Falls Park

We then headed east on the I-90 for about 32 miles to the Vrooman Road exit.

We then turned right onto Vrooman Road and went south for about 0.5 miles.

Then, we turned left onto Carter Road, which we took for the next 1.7 miles.

At the next junction, we turned left onto Paine Road and followed it for the next 1/2-mile (going past what appeared to be a handful of farms) to the signposted Paine Falls Park.

Paine_Falls_044_10042015 - Looking back at the turnoff to enter the Paine Falls Park, which was just before the I-90 Freeway overpass, which is that bridge you see in this picture
Looking back at the turnoff to enter the Paine Falls Park, which was just before the I-90 Freeway overpass, which is that bridge you see in this picture

The park was on the left shortly after the bridge above the falls and right before the I-90 overpass.

This drive took us about 45 minutes.

For some additional geographical context, Cleveland, Ohio was 39 miles (under an hour drive) north of Akron, Ohio, 169 miles (over 2.5 hours drive) south and east of Detroit, Michigan, 133 miles (over 2 hours drive) northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and 142 miles (over 2 hours drive) north of Columbus, Ohio.

Focusing on the waterfall and road bridge from the main lookout

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Tagged with: cleveland, ohio, waterfall, painesville, leroy, lake county, lake erie, great lakes, autumn, fall colors, paines hollow, metroparks



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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