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Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park
(Courtesy of the Ohio Dept of Travel and Tourism)
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
(Courtesy of the Ohio Dept of Travel and Tourism)
Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Brandywine Falls

(courtesy of the Ohio Dept. of Travel and Tourism)

Cuyahoga Valley National Park extends from just south of I-480 all the way to Akron, along the Cuyahoga River. The scenic area offers history, hiking, bicycling, winter sports, and all sorts of learning opportunities. What's more: it's free.

Visit the 33,000 acre park to learn more about the region's history, see remains of the Ohio-Erie Canal, and enjoy the many scenic vistas.

History:

The fertile Cuyahoga River flood plain was once home to the Erie Indians, the area's first known inhabitants. During the 19th and early 20th century the Ohio and Erie Canal, carved out alongside the Cuyahoga, connected Lake Erie with the Ohio River and was a major commercial artery.

Sports in the Park:

The Ohio-Erie Canal Tow Path snakes throughout the Cuyahoga National Park. This biking/hiking trail runs alongside the canal, the former shipping artery between the Ohio River and Lake Erie.

The park also provides excellent venues for cross-country skiing, climbing, downhill skiing at Boston Mills ski area, and birdwatching. The park also maintains a regular schedule of nature walks, concerts, and other learning and cultural opportunities.

Sites within the Park:

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is filled with historic sites. Among them are the Frazee House, built in 1825 and an excellent example of Western Reserve architecture; the Everett Road Covered Bridge, an example of the many such bridges that once crossed the river; and the Boston Store, a restored early canal-era building, which now houses a variety of exhibits about the canal and the boats that plied its waters.

Also within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is Brandywine Village, the remains of a once-thriving 1814 community, centered around a traditional grist mill. Only a couple of the original buildings remain, but historic photos allow visitors to imagine how it once looked.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad:

One of the most unique and fun ways to experience the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is to take a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The train, modeled after the trains that traveled the area 100 years ago, runs along the Cuyahoga River, deep into the park. A regular schedule of special events, such as wine tastings, children's parties, and holiday rail trips, augment the regular schedule.

Staying in the Park:

No camping is permitted within the park, but there are two unique accommodations in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Stanford Hostel, affiliated with the American Youth Hostel association, is a 1843 Greek Revival farmhouse on the the National Register of Historic Places. It offers dorm-style housing at affordable prices with a community dining/living room and kitchen as well as bike storage.

More luxurious is the Inn at Brandywine Falls. Located near the scenic 67-foot falls, this six-room bed and breakfast inn, built in 1848 is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The comfortable rooms feature antique furniture, four-poster beds, and quilts and a two-unit carriage building offers guest large, secluded accommodations with in-suite breakfast, a double Jacuzzi tub, and a toasty Franklin stove.

Visiting the Park:

Admission to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is free to all. Picnic facilities are scattered throughout the park. The visitors centers are open between 10am and 4pm daily. Restrooms and maps and visitor information are located within the centers. No alcoholic beverages are permitted in the park and all pets must be leashed.

Contact Information:

Canal Visitor Center
Canal Rd. at Hillside Rd.
216 524-1497
800 445-9667

Happy Day Visitor Center
State Route 303 at Route 8
330 650-4636

Stanford Hostel
6093 Stanford
Peninsula, OH 44264
330 467-8711

Inn at Brandywine Falls
8230 Brandywine Rd
Sagamore Hills, OH 44067
330 467-1812

(Last updated on 10-3-13)

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