Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a national park located in Northeast Ohio. Established in 1974, it encompasses more than 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland.
The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, and wildlife watching. It is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, including beavers, coyotes, and bald eagles.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is also home to several historic sites, including the Ohio & Erie Canal and several 19th-century farms. The park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, and is easily accessible from nearby urban areas.
Best Things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located in Ohio, offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Visit the Boston Mill Visitor Center
The Boston Mill Visitor Center is in Ohio, USA. It is part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The center is in an old building called the Boston Store. This building was built a long time ago in the 1800s. People used to do business there. Now it has information about the park’s history and what people can do for fun there.
At the Boston Mill Visitor Center, visitors can:
Get park information: The center provides maps, brochures, and other materials to help visitors plan their trip to the park.
Learn about the area’s history: The center has exhibits and displays about the history of the Cuyahoga Valley, including the Ohio & Erie Canal and the development of the area’s industry.
Attend ranger-led programs: The center offers a variety of ranger-led programs, including guided hikes, history talks, and wildlife viewing.
Shop for souvenirs: The center has a gift shop where visitors can purchase books, maps, and other souvenirs related to the park.
Relax and recharge: The center has a seating area where visitors can rest and recharge before or after their park visit.
The Boston Mill Visitor Center is open year-round, with hours varying depending on the season. Admission is free.
Admire the Beautiful Waterfalls
Cuyahoga Valley National Park has several waterfalls that you can’t miss!
Brandywine Falls: This 65-foot waterfall is one of the park’s most popular attractions. It can be viewed from the boardwalk or from the bottom of the falls.
Blue Hen Falls: This 15-foot waterfall is located in a wooded area and can be reached via a short hike. It is a picturesque spot for photography.
Buttermilk Falls: This small waterfall is located near the Boston Store Visitor Center and can be reached via a short hike. It is a popular spot for picnics.
Great Falls: This 20-foot waterfall is located near the Virginia Kendall Ledges and can be reached via a short hike. It is a popular spot for photographers.
Bridal Veil Falls: This small waterfall is located near the Stanford House and can be reached via a short hike. It is a peaceful spot for relaxation.
These waterfalls offer visitors the opportunity to experience the park’s natural beauty and to take in the soothing sounds of cascading water.
Walk Along the Ledges Trail
Enjoy a winding, 2-mile path around breathtaking rock formations as you explore the area! With several interconnecting trails, you can make this walk longer and take in even more of nature’s beauty.
Adjacent to the trail is two remarkable features – Ice Box Cave and the Overlook. The overlook commands a beautiful display of Cuyahoga Valley. However, it is quite crowded sometimes.
Go Biking on the Towpath Trail
The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is a popular biking trail that runs through the park. The park also has other biking trails, including the East Rim and Lake-to-Lake Trail.
The Towpath Trail offers eleven trailheads along with parking areas, making it the perfect outdoor escape. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an exhilarating hike, this trail has something to offer everyone! Plus, information-filled signs are conveniently placed throughout the path so that you can rest and enjoy learning about the area’s history during your journey.
Ride a Train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is a heritage railroad that operates in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located in Ohio, USA. The railroad offers scenic train rides through the park, providing visitors with a unique and relaxing way to experience the park’s natural beauty.
The train runs along the historic Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, offering views of the Cuyahoga River, rolling hills, and forests. Visitors can choose from a variety of train rides, including:
National Park Scenic: A two-hour round trip that departs from the Rockside Station and travels through the heart of the park.
Bike Aboard!: A one-way ride that allows cyclists to take the train one way and bike back along the Towpath Trail.
Dinner and Murder Mystery Trains: Special themed train rides that include dinner and entertainment.
Polar Express: A holiday-themed train ride inspired by the classic children’s book and movie.
During the train ride, visitors can relax in vintage train cars and enjoy the scenery while learning about the history of the park and the railroad. The train also offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, including the chance to spot bald eagles, deer, and other wildlife.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates year-round, with schedules varying depending on the season. Tickets can be purchased online or at the train station.
Paddle a Canoe or Kayak on the Cuyahoga River
The Cuyahoga River is famous for its pollution and once caught fire. But people have been working hard to clean it up. The river makes a u-shape through Ohio and is split into five zones. The Cuyahoga River Water Trail organization has maps of each zone so you can explore the area.
Most of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) area is in zone 4. You can’t rent anything in the park, but you can go paddling on the Cuyahoga River.
Before going to the river, check the Cuyahoga River Water Trail website. It will tell you about the water levels and any dangers that might be in that part of the river.
See the Everett Covered Bridge
The Everett Covered Bridge is a special bridge in Ohio, USA. It is found in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The bridge goes over Furnace Run which is part of the Cuyahoga River. This bridge is one of only three left in Summit County.
The Everett Covered Bridge was built in 1877 by the Smith Bridge Company. It was fixed up in 1986. It is 98 feet long and 14 feet wide, made of wood, with a metal roof and siding. The bridge is named after Hiram Everett who had a grist mill nearby.
The Everett Covered Bridge is a popular spot for visitors to the park. People can drive or walk there and then go across the bridge. In fall, the leaves change colors and it looks really nice.
Watch the Wildlife at the Beaver Marsh
Beaver Marsh is a wetland in Ohio, USA. It was made by the Ohio & Erie Canal over 100 years ago. This made ponds and wetlands in the area.
The marsh today is a home for many animals. These animals include beavers, ducks, and other birds.
The Beaver Marsh is open to everyone. You can walk around the marsh on a boardwalk and some trails. The boardwalk takes you through the marsh, so you can see all of the animals that live there up close.
When you visit, you might see beavers and their dams, herons, ducks and other birds. Birdwatchers like to come because they can spot the great blue heron, green heron and wood duck.
The Beaver Marsh area is part of the Ohio & Erie Canalway. This is a National Heritage Area that goes 110 miles from Cleveland to New Philadelphia. It has old places, museums, and nature areas. People can visit it by bike or walking.
Szalay’s Farm & Market
Szalay’s Farm started in 1931 as a vegetable farm. After 90 years and 4 generations, it has changed into a farm that grows sweet corn and a market that sells lots of fresh fruits and veggies. It also sells tasty food made locally.
The family can sit and swing in the seating area. They can also eat ice cream while they swing.
The Buckeye Trail is a long-distance hiking trail that loops around the state of Ohio, USA, covering a distance of approximately 1,444 miles. The trail passes through many of Ohio’s natural and cultural landmarks, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The Buckeye Trail is marked by blue blazes and follows a variety of terrains, from urban areas to forests and rural farmland. The trail also passes through several state parks, nature preserves, and historic sites, offering hikers diverse experiences.
In Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Buckeye Trail spans approximately 26 miles, passing through forests, wetlands, and other natural areas. Hikers can choose to explore the entire stretch of the trail or a shorter section.
Visit the Canal Exploration Center
The Ohio & Erie Canal Exploration Center is a marvelous museum that provides an opportunity to learn about the remarkable history behind the canal. In 1825, after its completion in New York, Ohio decided it was time to join east and west by building a connection between the state’s beloved Lake Erie and all-important Ohio River – this project came to fruition as one of America’s most iconic canals.
As the 308-mile canal was constructed, a complementary towpath was built alongside it and towns were quickly established. By 1832, this monumental feat of engineering had become fully functional.
The Canal Exploration Center offers a comprehensive interactive map of the canal system between Ohio and New York, along with informative interpretive panels that detail the history and impact of these canals on urban growth.
Additionally, knowledgeable park rangers are available throughout regular business hours to assist you in finding answers to any questions you may have.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a fun and interesting place to explore. You can rent a canoe or kayak on the Cuyahoga River, take a walk across the Everett Covered Bridge, observe wildlife at Beaver Marsh, shop for fresh produce at Szalay’s Farm & Market, and hike the Buckeye Trail.