Spotlight: Cuyahoga Valley National Park
A river of recreation options that will make your head spin!
What You’ll Find
A diversity of experiences awaits you at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You can hop aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad from many locations along the route. Many visitors run or bike along the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail in one direction and then catch a ride back to their car!
Experience any number of short hikes, great for kids of all ages, which reward you with spectacular waterfalls, scenic overlooks and interesting geology.
Observe abundant wildlife at the Beaver Marsh; once a farm, then a junkyard and now created and reclaimed by beavers. Beavers once absent from Ohio moved back into the state around 1984 and helped restore natural water levels. The wetlands returned and other habitat formed. Look here for otters, muskrat, waterfowl, reptiles and birds too.
The 33,000-acre park is located between Cleveland and Akron in northeastern Ohio along 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River. Visit the park’s website for specific directions by bus, train and car.
Make Sure You
Select your mode of transportation and explore the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail. The accessible Towpath Trail provides connections to many natural and historic sites throughout the park. It follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal, which was built between 1825 and 1832 to provide a transportation route from Cleveland (on Lake Erie) to Portsmouth (on the Ohio River). The canal was destroyed during the Great Flood of 1913, but the Towpath Trail continues its legacy and is now a transportation route for cyclists and hikers.
Bring the whole family and plenty of friends for a picnic in the park. The Octagon and Ledges group picnic sites are quite popular and host as many as 50 and 75 people respectively. Both feature two fireplaces, grills and plenty of picnic tables. Reserve yours today!
Many visitors are surprised by the array of natural features so close to the city. More than 100 lakes dot the landscape within the park; the Cuyahoga River runs the length of the park and is fed by more than 190 streams. There are more than 1,500 wetlands, which host diverse wildlife and plant species.
Check the park’s schedule of events for a variety of music events, guided hikes and festivals throughout the year.
Did You Know?
The Cuyahoga River is most famous as “the river that caught fire” and was once one of the most polluted rivers in the United States. A series of fires between 1952 and 1969 spurred an environmental movement that resulted in the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Water quality of the Cuyahoga River has improved and in 1998 it was designated one of 14 American Heritage Rivers. You can help protect this and other U.S. waterways September 28th on National Public Lands Day.