Where is Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Located between Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park resides entirely within the state of Ohio. The land contained within the park is composed of northern hardwood forests, the Cuyahoga River, and a variety of riparian streams and creeks. Woodland wildlife is abundant throughout the park, and visitors arriving at Cuyahoga Valley US National Park will find a variety of hiking trails including the historic Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath waiting for them at the park. The national park is located about a thirty-minute drive south of Cleveland, Ohio and about a twenty-minute drive north of Akron, Ohio. Surrounding the park, visitors will also find a variety of other outdoor recreation areas.
How Large is Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Resting between two major Ohio cities, Cuyahoga Valley National Park covers a total area of more than 32,000 acres or about 51 square miles. Across these 51 square miles, Cuyahoga Valley National Park contains a variety of historic sights of interests, hiking trails, visitor centers, and two lodges. The most popular hiking trail in the park is the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath, which extends for 21 miles across northeastern Ohio. The towpath can be accessed from several trailheads found along Canal Road and Riverview Road. The highest elevation recorded in Cuyahoga Valley National Park can be found along Brush Road and measures 1,164 feet above sea level.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park Weather
The climate of Cuyahoga Valley National Park provides warm summers and deep cold winters. Summer days in the national park provide temperatures fluctuating between 60- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit with about 13 hours of sunshine. Winter in Cuyahoga Valley National Park brings deep snowfall and freezing temperatures. The winter temperatures of Cuyahoga Valley average between 20 and 40-degree Fahrenheit, and yearly snowfall accumulates to around 50 inches. Snowfall, while normally contained within December, January, and February, has been known to appear even as late as mid-April in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
When did Cuyahoga Valley Become a National Park
Before European influence, Cuyahoga Valley National Park was populated by a number of Native American Tribes. The Wyandot, Iroquois, Ottawa, Miami, Catawba, and several other tribes all traversed the area where Cuyahoga Valley National Park is now established. However, in between the influence of Native Americans and the National Park Service the land of Cuyahoga Valley was used by several private corporations. The initial 47-acre plot of land the National Park Service purchased in 1985 was used as a dump. After this purchase, the environmental protection agency deemed the site extremely dangerous and toxic. Lawsuits were filed against a variety of American companies including 3M, Ford, Chrysler, and Chevron. The toxic materials were removed over the next fifteen years and Cuyahoga Valley National Park was established in October of the year 2000.
Things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park provides visitors with a variety of outdoor activities and recreation opportunities. Our National Park Visitors Guide list of information synthesizes the various hiking, biking, and other recreational activity opportunities found throughout Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Visitors Centers of Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Canal Exploration Center is the first-place visitors of Cuyahoga Valley National Park will want to explore upon their arrival. The center contains a variety of important and educational information about the park, its history, and its resources. Visitors exploring the center will also learn about how and why the Ohio and Erie Canal was formed. Park maps and trail maps can also be obtained from the Canal Exploration Center and several other visitor centers found within the park.
Hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park manages and maintains over 125 miles of hiking trails visitors may access. These trails include easy hikes that traverse paved footpaths and more strenuous hikes that climb throughout the park’s hardwood forest. Popular hikes located in the park include the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath, the Buckeye Trail, the Valley Trail, and the Old Carriage Trail. Some trails found in Cuyahoga Valley National Park will require visitors to cross streams or climb in elevation while others are completely level.
Biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Biking enthusiasts visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be excited to know that a variety of trails in the park are also designated for biking use. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath is a popular biking route in the park. The towpath extended for 20.1 miles and normally takes about two and a half hours to bike. Visitors looking for more information on the biking trails present in Cuyahoga Valley National Park can visit the park’s visitor center.
Fishing in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park contains a variety of small ponds and the Cuyahoga River which can all be fished in by anglers visiting the park. Species commonly targeted in the Cuyahoga River are steelhead and bullhead, whereas the park’s ponds maintain healthy populations of largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill. All visitors wishing to fish within the national park will need to first obtain a valid Ohio freshwater fishing license. All other Ohio state fishing regulations also apply within Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Historic Places in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Across the land managed and maintained as Cuyahoga Valley National Park there are several historic landmarks and buildings visitors may wish to visit. Popular destinations found in the park include the Stanford House, the Brandywine Village, and the Everett Covered Bridge. The Stanford House is a 19th-century farm home that was built by George Stanford. Today, the house has been converted into a lodge.
Winter Activities in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Visitors arriving at Cuyahoga Valley National Park during the winter will want to visit the winter sports center to take full advantage of the inches of snow falling in the park. At the center visitors can rent equipment needed for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Cuyahoga Valley National Park also allows visitors to ice fish during the winter on the various ponds and lakes found in the park. Ice thickness on the park’s ponds and lake is not monitored and visitors should recreate at their own risk.
Wildlife Viewing in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The wildlife of Cuyahoga Valley National Park is quite diverse. Visitors are likely to spot white-tailed deer, raccoons, muskrats, coyotes, skunks, foxes, and a variety of songbirds in the park. However, the park also contains beavers, river otters, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and several species of bats. Wildlife in the park is most active during the late spring when the snow starts to melt, and temperatures start to increase.
When to Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a beautiful destination anytime of the year. However, most of its visitation occurs during the summer when temperatures are warmer, and a wide array of activities practiced enjoyable in the park. During the season, hiking, fishing, and sightseeing are immensely popular. Visitors wishing to take advantage of the park’s winter offerings such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing routes will want to visit during December, January, and February.
Must Have Items to Bring to Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Visitors traveling to Cuyahoga Valley National Park should really bring a series of items with them to ensure their comfort and enjoyment. List of Parks suggest the following list of items should be considered.
Water & Snacks
Water and energy replacing snacks are essential for every outdoor recreation trip. The best snacks for outdoor recreation are lightweight, easy to consume, and full of energy. Favorites among hikers include dried fruit, protein bars, and trail mix.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
Visitors looking to hike one or more of the trails found at Cuyahoga Valley National Park should look to bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots along with them to the park. Visitors will want these hiking boots to be broken in, waterproof, and breathable. Extra socks are also important.
Visitors arriving at the park in summer and winter can take full advantage of a pair of sunglasses. These sunglasses will protect visitors from the rays of summer sunshine or blinding white flurries of snow that blanket the landscape of Cuyahoga Valley National Park during the winter.
Multiple Clothing Layers
Visitors looking to recreate in the park or stay overnight in one of the park’s lodges, will want to bring several layers of clothing with them to the park. During cold spells visitors can adorn additional layers of clothing. These layers can then be shed during warmer periods of the day.
Binoculars are an excellent item to bring to a national park. These pieces of equipment will allow visitors to see the variety of wildlife found in Cuyahoga Valley National Park up close.
Bug Spray & Hat
In the summer, visitors at Cuyahoga Valley National Park will want to protect themselves from mosquitoes and ticks that inhabit the park’s woods. Bug spray and a hat are essential to do so.
Where to Stay in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Visitors looking to spend the night within the confines of Cuyahoga Valley National Park have two options. The Stanford House and the Inn at Brandywine Falls each offer visitors lodging opportunities. The Inn at Brandywine Falls also provides its guests with a candlelight breakfast every morning. Visitors looking to stay at either of these park establishments can make reservations online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to stay outside of the park can make the drive either to Cleveland or Akron.
Food Near Cuyahoga Valley National Park
There are several restaurants and concession stand located throughout Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A few of these restaurants are located along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. The national park also contains two ‘Trail Mix’ stores that can provide visitors with snacks, ice cream, and beverages. Visitors looking for additional restaurants can visit Cleveland or Akron.
Airports Near Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The closest airport to Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is located 23 miles and a thirty-minute drive north of the park. Other airports near the national park are located in Detroit, Michigan and Cincinnati, Ohio.