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Day Trip: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

When one thinks of Ohio, he normally doesn’t immediately think “national parks”. That is with good reason, because there are extremely few in the state. That’s why I was blown away when I visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park (or CVNP), near Cleveland.

This national park doesn’t have all the amazing hallmarks that you find in others, but stands strong on its own. With its signature Brandywine Falls, Brandywine Ski Resort, and other areas like the Ledges, this place is pretty cool.

Though we only got to spend about an hour here, we explored the Brandywine Falls area and it was beautiful. This is a powerful and dramatic waterfall that flows into a deep and scenic gorge. The gorge almost feels out of place for this area of Ohio. The water crashes down onto the car-sized rocks and generates huge whitewater, almost reminiscent of West Virginia or North Carolina. We had visited just after very heavy rains, so the water was really rushing.


The sign at the base of the Brandywine Falls trailhead


Brandywine Falls


Brandywine Gorge, with the Inn at Brandywine in the top right


The view into the gorge from the top of Brandywine Falls

There are some other amazing places within this park that I have read about, such as the Ledges. The Ledges are huge rock outcroppings accessible via nice hiking trails. There are many other waterfalls within the park as well.

I really wish we had at least an entire day to explore this park and do some actual hiking. But, now I have an excuse to come back. I would love to see it in the middle of summer with everything green and lush.

If you are ever in northeastern Ohio and get the chance, make a visit to CVNP. It’s an oasis of nature very near major metro areas. It’s worth making the stop to Brandywine Falls even if your time is limited.