This is The Only National Park in Ohio

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Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Akron Ohio, Flowing Waterfall In Dark Green Wooded Forest

Quick Facts:

  • Location: Northeastern Ohio, USA
  • Top Attractions: Brandywine Falls, Virginia Kendall Ledges, Towpath Trail
  • Popular Activities: Hiking, biking, birdwatching
  • Unique Feature: A blend of natural and cultural landscapes along the Cuyahoga River
  • Day Trip From: Cleveland, Akron

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the only national park in Ohio, is a scenic gem known for its lush forests, rolling hills, and picturesque waterfalls.

This diverse park offers a blend of natural beauty and cultural history, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs.

Unique Features of Cuyahoga Valley National Park

One of the most remarkable aspects of Cuyahoga Valley National Park is its unique combination of natural and cultural landscapes.

The park preserves the history of the Ohio & Erie Canal and the region's industrial past while showcasing stunning natural scenery.

Trumpeter Swan Swimming in the Autumn Reflections on Kendall Lake in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. It offers a chance to walk, bike, or hike along a path that once played a crucial role in Ohio's economic development.

The trail winds through scenic landscapes, offering beautiful views and a peaceful escape into nature.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Another unique feature is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. This historic train ride offers a relaxing way to explore the park, with scenic views of the Cuyahoga River and surrounding landscapes.

The train runs alongside the river, allowing visitors to experience the park's beauty differently.

Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls is a stunning 65-foot waterfall surrounded by boardwalks and trails.

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Akron Ohio, Flowing Waterfall In Dark Green Wooded Forest

It is a highlight of the park, providing spectacular views and excellent photography opportunities. The area around the falls is particularly beautiful in spring when wildflowers bloom and in fall when the foliage turns vibrant colors.

Virginia Kendall Ledges

Virginia Kendall Ledges is a unique rock formation area with hiking trails that provide beautiful vistas and opportunities to explore sandstone cliffs and caves.

This area is perfect for those looking to experience the park's geological wonders and enjoy some of the best views in the region.

ledges rock formations canyon

Location Details

  • Where It Is: Cuyahoga Valley National Park is between Cleveland and Akron in northeastern Ohio. It covers over 32,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River.
  • How to Get There: The park is easily accessible by car via Interstate 77 and Interstate 271. The nearest major airports are Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Akron-Canton Airport. Visitors can also use the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which offers scenic rides through the park.
  • Day Trip From: Cuyahoga Valley is an excellent option from Cleveland (about 30 minutes by car) or Akron (about 20 minutes by car).

Activities and Experiences

  • Popular Activities: Enjoy hiking over 125 miles of trails, biking along the Towpath Trail, birdwatching in diverse habitats, and kayaking on the Cuyahoga River.
  • Nature and Wildlife: Discover the park’s rich biodiversity, including various plant species and wildlife such as deer, beavers, and numerous bird species. The park’s forests and wetlands provide excellent wildlife observation and photography opportunities.

Close up of a swimming snapping turtle with moss growing on it at Beaver Marsh, Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Best Time to Visit

  • Ideal Seasons: Spring and fall are the best times to visit for mild weather and beautiful scenery. Spring brings blooming wildflowers, while fall offers stunning foliage and cooler temperatures.
  • Special Events: Participate in ranger-led programs, guided hikes, and special events like the annual Fall Hiking Spree, encouraging visitors to explore the park’s trails during the fall season.

For a guide to the best parks for fall colors, check out National Parks for Fall Foliage.

Where to Stay

  • Accommodation Options: Cuyahoga Valley offers a variety of accommodations, including nearby hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals.
  • Inn at Brandywine Falls: A historic bed and breakfast near Brandywine Falls, offering charming rooms and a cozy atmosphere.
  • Stanford House: A historic house within the park, available for group rentals and overnight stays.
  • Hotels: Nearby towns such as Brecksville, Peninsula, and Independence offer a range of hotels and motels.

For more Midwest national park destinations, visit 5 Midwest National Parks.

CCC Stairway on a Wilderness Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

Dining Options

  • Top Dining Spots: While there are no dining facilities within the park, nearby towns offer a variety of dining options:

    • Fisher’s Cafe: Offers a menu of American favorites and a relaxed atmosphere.
    • Sarah’s: A restaurant near the park known for its delicious food, local wines, and scenic views.
    • Winking Lizard: This restaurant offers many dishes and a fun, casual setting.

The Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, USA

Enjoy Your Visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a diverse and captivating destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural history.

Whether hiking the scenic trails, biking along the historic Towpath Trail, or exploring the park's unique rock formations, Cuyahoga Valley promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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