Travel looks very different these days depending on where you’re from and where you’re going. Be sure to check local restrictions and be willing to adhere to all safety regulations before planning a trip to any of the places.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only national park in the state of Ohio. It stretches from Cleveland to Akron, following the Cuyahoga River through some beautiful sections of deciduous forest.
It offers outdoor activities like hiking and biking, miles of trails that take you through scenery that varies from marshy wetlands to mossy limestone ledges. There are even a few waterfalls.
If you only have one day to tour Cuyahoga Valley National Park, follow this itinerary for a fun-filled day for you or the whole family.
Where is Cuyahoga Valley National Park?
The park is in northeast Ohio, roughly following the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron.
Where should I start?
The official visitor center for CVNP is at the Boston Store Visitor Center on Boston Mills Road.
When can I visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park?
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is open year-round. Visit in all four seasons to see how different it looks!
How much does it cost?
There is no entry fee to enjoy Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Can you camp at Cuyahoga Valley National Park?
There is no camping within Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There are some private and state park campsites within driving distance, though. Refer to this list for suggestions from the National Park Service.
As now you have all the basic questions answered. Let’s explore the valley!!
Boston Store Visitor Center
The Boston Store Visitor Center in Cuyahoga Valley is the best place to start your day in Cuyahoga Valley. The visitor center lies conveniently near the Towpath Trail and accessible parking is available.
This is definitely a great place to stock up on information, such as guidebooks and maps of Cuyahoga Valley. You can ask Park Rangers about which trails to opt for as per your interest.
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
The Towpath trail is located hardly a 5 minutes distance from the visitor center. You will pass through forests, meadows, and wetlands.
Since Cuyahoga Valley runs along the Cuyahoga River, this means that the river is also part of the park’s history. Back before the days of airplanes and railroads, goods were transported throughout northeast Ohio using a canal system. That same path which miles used to tow boats up the Ohio and Erie Canal in the 1800 has been turned into hiking and biking trail
This scenic trail is absolutely gorgeous in fall and is one of greatest attractions in Cuyahoga Valley NP. The trail is accessible at numerous places throughout the park.
Watch wildlife at Beaver Marsh
Hike along the towpath trail for about 0.25 miles to reach the boardwalk at the Beaver Marsh. Try to visit this place early morning or evening hours when the wildlife is active. We didn’t see any beavers, but we did see a couple of snapping turtles.
There are a handful of notable waterfalls within Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but the most famous is definitely Brandywine Falls. This 65-foot-tall waterfall is easy to reach from a nice parking area via a wooden boardwalk, and is great to see in every season. (Autumn is probably the best!)
You can walk the wooden boardwalk down to the viewing platform first, but I suggest that you hike the pleasantly moderate 1.4-mile (2.25-kilometer) Brandywine Gorge Loop and keep the waterfall as a reward.
If you’re interested in some of the other waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park that you have to hike to, I also recommend Blue Hen and Buttermilk falls.
Stanford House and trail
Built in 1843, this historic home have easy access to the Towpath Trail, Brandywine Falls, & the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The house has 9 bedrooms & sleeps 30 guests comfortably with a fully equipped kitchen. One can book an accommodation on airbnb.
The Cuyahoga River can be an exciting, enjoyable part of your visit in the area. There are four potential access points you can use to get to the river. The entire river runs 84.9 miles from the city of Cleveland to Lake Erie.
- You can even ride the the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: Cuyahoga Valley National Park is unique in that is also has a railroad running through it. The railroad operates scenic rides, themed trips (such as their popular Polar Express trip), and even has a Bike Aboard program where you can ride the train one way and bike the other for just $3.
- Ledges Trail: If you only have time for one hike in Cuyahoga Valley, make it this one. Ledges Trail is 2.2 miles roundtrip and it gains about 100 feet of elevation.
- Blossom Music Center: Make sure to stop by the Blossom Music Center for a concert! This popular venue hosts nationally touring acts that perform right in the middle of a forested patch of land in the park.
- Shop at Szalay’s: Szalay’s Sweet Corn and Farm Market is filled with colorful, fresh produce and grilled corn which you can grab as a snack. And if you’re visiting in the fall, you won’t want to miss their famous corn maze.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park certainly is not a “traditional’ national park. While there you may not really feel like you’re in a National Park. Still, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park to keep you busy for a day or two.
Additionally, there are a collection of historical structures including Frazee House, Boston Store, Peninsula Depot, Everett Covered Bridge, Stanford House, Hale Farm, and features of the Ohio and Erie Canal.
Have you ever been to Cuyahoga Valley National Park? If not, does this post make you want to visit?
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