The 998-acre Sand Run Metro Park opened in 1929, but the area has been welcoming visitors for centuries. The land surrounding Mingo Lodge was a campsite for Mingo Indians. Portage Path was once an important Native American trail between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers; later, it was the western boundary of the United States. A high ridge above the Wadsworth Area was a lookout point for General Elijah Wadsworth, who made his camp near the present-day Old Portage Area during the War of 1812.
In the 1930s, Sand Run Parkway and many of the surrounding shelters and structures were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1974, the park district's Administrative Offices were moved from Goodyear Heights Metro Park to Sand Run.
Today, visitors can drive through the Sand Run stream at the ford which crosses Sand Run Parkway. In the cool, shady ravines of Sand Run and its tributary streams, hemlocks, ferns, skunk cabbage and large colonies of horsetails grow. Each spring, large-flowered trilliums and other seasonal blooms appear, including foam flower, bloodroot, spring beauty and trout lily.
The towering forest is home to red, gray and fox squirrels; screech, barred and great horned owls; and pileated woodpeckers. Red-tailed hawks roost in the treetops when they are not soaring over the ridges. Many rare species inhabit the park, including sharp-shinned hawks, butternut trees and native orchids.
A small wetland near Sand Run Parkway and Merriman Road is a popular attraction for many nature enthusiasts, as it is the location of a highly productive amphibian breeding area. Each spring, the parkway is closed on nights when spotted salamanders and other amphibians migrate for mating. Visitors may watch hundreds of amphibians such as spotted salamanders, spring peepers, wood frogs, American toads and green frogs crossing the road to mate.