Cuyahoga Valley National Park was established to protect and preserve the area along the Cuyahoga River that lies between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio. It is the only national park found in Ohio and was established in 2000. The name Cuyahoga derives from the Native American word “Kahyonhake,” which translates to “on the river.” The English spelling of this word comes out to be Cuyahoga, thus giving the park its name. The park displays some of the prettiest landscapes and some of the best scenery representing the state of Ohio. Trails are a favorite recreational activity in the park, and some excellent displays are describing the history of rural farming and survival of the area.
Blossom Music Festival and Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is helping celebrate the park service turning 100 years old this year. This July 17th at the Blossom Music Center the Cleveland Orchestra will perform. The Blossom Center is surrounded by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and is the summer home of the popular Cleveland Orchestra. Hundreds of people travel to participate and listen to the music at the outdoor venue surrounded by green, rolling hills and beautiful trees.
Scenic train ride
How would you like to take a vintage train ride to see the sights? The park has a train called the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) which transports visitors around the area to see the sights from the comfort of an indoor train car. You can take a round trip, or you can get off and explore the park and get back on later. Other options are to bike the path in one direction and then hop on the train to head back to your vehicle. To get the train to stop for you, just wave both arms at one of the boarding stations, and it will stop to pick you up. The train is a non-profit organization that operates in a partnership that is interested in preserving the park, the scenery and the history of trains in the Cuyahoga Valley. Passengers can ride the train for 18 dollars for adults, 13 dollars for children, first class for adults at 23 dollars and 18 for children, or dome tickets for 28 dollars per adult and 23 dollars per child. Bicyclists can pay three one-way with their bike.
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail
The Canal Towpath trail is one of the most popular and well-used trails in the park. It was created for visitors as a major point of interest, and there are many historical sites and other trails that you can take off of it. The trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. The canal was constructed in the mid-1800s to offer better means of transportation and shipping of crops from the sparse area. The trail is a multi-use trail and open to hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders. There are scenic views, the Canal Exploration Center, forests, Boston Store, Visitor Center, Peninsula Depot Visitor Center, trails, hiking, exhibits and much more on the lengthy and historic trail.
Popular hikes to consider in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park has lots of different walks to take and among these are some visitor favorites to try during your visit. The Ledges Overlook flat and smooth and is probably the most famous overlook in the park and is also a fantastic place to see the sunset. Brandywine Gorge Trail is another favorite trail that is a 1.5-mile loop trail that leads along the creek and with a bridge to the other side. There are a boardwalk and a stop that rests with perfect views of Brandywine Falls directly in front of you. Bridal Veil Falls is only a half a mile round trip and a climb of 30 feet, which makes it another easy trail for anyone to do. A short walk down the boardwalk over the water lets visitors view the falls from an overhead platform. The Tree Farm Trail View trail leads you by a pond and into a large open meadow surrounded by greenery and trees for lovely views away from the water. There are many other trails to take in the park to see the beauty and greenery as well as all the running streams and rivers for a great experience at Cuyahoga.
Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing
With all the water present in the park, it’s no wonder that there are kayaking, canoeing and fishing opportunities to be had! The Cuyahoga River is over 100 miles long, and kayakers and canoers can have a great time exploring the park by the water. Use caution when doing any of these water activities because the park does not maintain the waterways for small rafts or boats, meaning debris, swift water, low water and more can be an issue. The river and several ponds within the park are open to fishing. There are over 65 species of fish in the park, and the “catch-and-release” type of fishing is encouraged. Try your hand and reel at catching bluegill, bass, crappie, steelhead trout, bullhead and many other species of fish.
Golfing in a park?
This national park has the rare opportunity to play some golf! Many parks do not have golf courses within park boundaries, but outside vendors offer several golf courses (not federally operated owned or run) within the park boundaries. The park has lush green grass and the perfect summer atmosphere for a great round of golf during your visit to the park.
The park has a fun experience called “questing” where visitors can go on a scavenger hunt-type activity. No GPS is needed, only the map and rhyming clues you will receive. Clues lead to hidden treasure boxes where points of interest are located as well as a stamp to sign the log book at each station to let others know you found it. This is a fun way to see the park and its features and kids will love to help you solve the clues.
Fun for all in Ohio
Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a lot to do and see, even in the winter. Bring your horses and ride horse trails throughout the park, see the lovely green meadows and trees and listen to the Cleveland Orchestra play on a cool summer evening. There are lots of nice hikes to utilize and some that lead you to waterfalls. Camp and fish in the park and play a round of golf with your friends on one of the four courses offered within the park. Try biking through the park on one of the trails or kayak or canoe in one of the ponds or down the river for which the park is named for. Don’t forget the bird watching and the star viewing as some of the other experiences to have in the park by the river.