What to know before Visiting
Located in the heart of Youngstown, Ohio, Mill Creek MetroParks sprawls over 2,800 acres along the namesake Mill Creek. Founded in 1891, Mill Creek MetroParks is the second-largest Metropark in the United States, second only to Central Park in New York City. The park winds through southeast Youngstown until it reaches the Mahoning river near downtown Youngstown
There is no camping in or near the park (see lodging section below for closest campground information). Most of the park buildings and sponsored activities are seasonal, so you will want to check the calendar of events (link to calendar) before your visit. Access to the park and trails are open year-round.
Traveling to Mill Creek MetroParks
Mill Creek MetroParks is located in the heart of Youngstown, Ohio in the northeast portion of the state. The closest major cities to Mill Creek is Cleveland (1-hour drive northwest) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1-hour drive southeast). Mill Creek park does not have park entrance gates or entrance fees. Newcomers will want to start their visit at the D.D. and Velma Davis Visitor Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens (Directions Here)
Visiting Mill Creek throughout the seasons
Prepare for muddy, damaged trails as the park exits the winter months. You won’t find many park-sponsored activities planned during this time, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying most of what Mill Creek has to offer during this time of the year. Fellows Riverside Garden, Lake Newport Wetlands, and Mill Creek’s Nature Preserve all come alive during the spring months.
Summer (June – August)
Typically around Memorial Day is when Mill Creek MetroParks will start to experience a noticeable uptick in visitors. Mill Creek Park is a popular destination for locals during the graduation and wedding seasons as the park contains rentable pavilions scattered through the park. Those wanting to picnic in the park will have no shortage of location options as Mill Creek contains well over a hundred picnic tables and charcoal grills scattered around the park. Click Here for a full list of park-sponsored events and activities.
Fall (September – November)
Fall is, by far, my favorite time of year to visit Mill Creek MetroParks. Cooler weather conditions, fall colors, fewer crowds, and increased wildlife activity really makes for an enjoyable experience. Call ahead and confirm if buildings are open if visiting during the fall months as park services will start closing down many public buildings, bathrooms, and roads during this time of year as they prepare for winter. Photographers will find Mill Creek a playground of colors during these months as the leaves start changing and the crowds disappear.
Winter (December – February)
Just because the snow is falling doesn’t mean all activities stop at Mill Creek. Lanterman’s Mill and Fellows Riverside Garden all come to life with holiday decorations and events. Some winter activities include cross country skiing and downhill sledding. Cross-country skiing is permitted in designated areas during snowy conditions. The Wick Recreation area has a sledding hill setup with lights, a warming house, and snow-making machines. A word of caution for hikers planning to hike in Mill Creek during the winter months. Many trails, especially in the gorge area, ice over with a thick layer of ice in sections due to water runoff. I would advise skipping these trails or bringing a set of micro-spikes in your bag.
Park Contact Information and Emergency Services
- MetroParks Administrative Office ……….. 330.702.3000
- Mill Creek Park Police – 330.744.3848
- Fellows Riverside Garden – 330.740.7116
- Lanterman’s Mill – 330.740.7115
- Mill Creek Golf Course – 330.740.7112
- Wick Recreation Par 3 – 330.740.7114 x287
- Lake Newport Information – 330.740.7114 x290
- Lake Glacier Information 330.740.7114 x289
Discover Scheduled Events and Activities
Mill Creek MetroParks maintains a full schedule of activities throughout the year. To see what the park has planned during your visit, visit the Mill Creek MetroParks Event Calendar.
Driving and transportation within the park
Mill Creek MetroParks has a well-maintained and scenic system of roads that follow the length of the park. Every popular destination has accessible parking. Remember to watch your speed as almost all roads in the park are 25mph and usually full of pedestrians.
The park does not maintain a public transportation system, but the City of Youngstown runs the WRTA bus system that stops at locations just outside different areas of the park.
It is worth noting that Mill Creek Metroparks runs the Cohasset Express, a 12-person “trackless” trolley car. Check the park’s website for the latest Cohasset Express schedule, or contact Wick Recreation for rental inquiries (see the park contact section above).
WiFi & Cellular Coverage in the Park
With Mill Creek MetroPark’s location within the city of Youngstown, it is safe to say you will have cellular coverage at most spots in the park. There have been times when hiking in the Mill Creek Gorge area where I lost coverage for a bit.
For those needing a wifi connection, you can find public wifi at Fellows Riverside Garden in the cafe area.
- Historical Mill Creek Park – Book
- Mill Creek MetroParks Website
- Mill Creek MetroParks Bikeway – Ohio Bikeways
Things to see and do at Mill Creek Metro Parks
- Birdwatching at Lake Newport Wetlands – Mill Creek MetroParks, Ohio
- Top 10 (non-hiking) Activities in Mill Creek Park, Ohio
Dining in, and around, Mill Creek Metro Parks
Dining in the Park
As of early 2020, there are just two dining options within Mill Creek. Travel a few miles outside of the park to Boardman or downtown for unlimited restaurant options.
The first option is the Garden Cafe at Fellows Riverside Gardens. The Garden Cafe’s menu is run by the local Kravitz Deli, a staple in Youngstown.
The other option is Hole 55, located at Mill Creek Golf Course. Hole 55’s menu consists of sandwiches and wraps with daily specials.