Cuyahoga Valley National Park may not be as well known as some of the other national parks in the United States, such as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon or the Redwoods in California, but it would be unwise to overlook it. Known for its stunning fall foliage and picturesque waterfalls, it is a paradise for photographers and leaf peepers alike.
We spent three very full days in Cuyahoga Valley and although we weren’t able to see every site, we did try to do as much as we could in the time that we had. I’ve categorized our favorite sites into a few different groups which are outlined below.
The best lookout spot- Ledges Overlook
Ledges Overlook is, in my opinion, the best site to see at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A large rock formation with a sudden drop off affords amazing views across the valley. Take a seat on one of the rocks and take in the stunning scenery. Just make sure to watch your step and keep your little ones close. It can be a little anxiety- inducing if you are afraid of heights (like me!) since it is so high up. But you can still enjoy the view from farther up the rock formation.
There are two ways to get to the Ledges Overlook from the parking lot. The first option is to simply walk across the grassy field to the woods on the other side and you’re right there. Make sure when you enter the parking lot to park on the end opposite the covered area and bathrooms. This way is great if you’re scrapped for time and just want to see the view. But if you crave a little more adventure, you can hike the loop to get to the overlook. Just over two miles long, the loop is a relatively flat hike and not too difficult. Ladybug, at three, was able to manage some of it on her own before opting to ride on D’s shoulders.
The grassy field, located between the parking lot and the overlook, is very large- probably about 15-20 acres. If you have little ones, they will particularly enjoy exploring and running around on this field. We actually went back to the field on our last afternoon in Cuyahoga Valley when we needed a place to play. Ladybug loved looked for dandelions and playing “chase” with D while I stayed with Buddy as he crawled around, picking grass and sneakily trying to eat it before I could grab it out of his hands.
The best waterfall- Brandywine Falls
If waterfalls are your thing, Cuyahoga Valley offers multiple waterfalls for your enjoyment. By far, the best is Brandywine Falls. Take the easy walk down the boardwalk to several viewing areas giving different angles of the falls.
Brandywine Falls is located off of Brandywine Road in the central region of the park. From the east side of the park, take Olde Eight Road until it turns into Brandywine Road and follow the signs to the parking lot.
The best picnic spot- Tinker Creek
We had a few picnics while at Cuyahoga Valley and our favorite picnic spot was near the Tinker Creek Gorge. Here you will find numerous picnic tables available for use spread among multiple grassy fields. This picnic spot, near the northeast corner of the park, is not too far from the overlook of Tinker Creek Gorge. Located at the very end of Button Road, the Tinker Creek picnic area is the perfect spot for little ones to play and explore the outdoors. A swing set is available as well as short trails down to the creek to skip rocks and enjoy the scenery.
Other things to see and do at Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Blue Hen Falls
- Boston Store Visitor Center
- Take a walk or bike ride along the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail
- Take a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
- Everett Covered Bridge
- Bridal Veil Falls
Cuyahoga Valley National Park has an abundance of fun things to do and see for the whole family. This lesser known park is one you should keep in mind for your next national park trip.
Have you been to Cuyahoga Valley National Park? What sites do you recommend?
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