Just a short drive from bustling crowds and built-up cities is a haven of woodland walks and gorgeous waterfalls.
Stroll along trails of maple and oak trees past dramatic high-sided gorges at Cuyahoga National Park. Relax at leafy picnic spots beside the river and marvel at cascading waterfalls.
Head off along one of the forest paths beginning at the park’s visitor center. You will soon find yourself beneath a thick canopy of oak, birch and hemlock. Look for herons and ducks flying overhead and listen to the sound of water rushing along the winding river.
The park features 70 waterfalls that momentarily bring the gentle river to a crashing roar. Perhaps the most impressive of these is Brandywine Falls, which can be viewed from the 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) trail of the same name. Climb the path up a short rugged hill to a lookout before descending into an impressive rocky gorge.
Elsewhere, walk sections of the Buckeye Trail which winds through the park and incorporates views of several sumptuous waterfalls. Pristine clear water plummets from a sandstone shelf at Blue Hen Falls while Bridal Veil Falls is a slanted rock surface that becomes particularly spectacular after heavy rain.
Reenergize with lunch at one of the picnic tables along the idyllic river before you grab your bike and enjoy a relaxing cycle along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Running beside the charming waterway, this completely flat route is a great option for families with young children. If your legs tire before finishing, flag down the train that has several boarding stations along the trail as part of the Bike Aboard! program.
Try the park’s two scavenger hunts: Earthcaching uses a GPS to locate geological formations and questing provides clues to find hidden natural treasures.
Cuyahoga National Park is in northeast Ohio, 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of Cleveland and 18 miles (29 kilometers) north of Akron. The park is open year-round and entry is free. Stop at the Boston Store Visitor Center near the park entrance for maps and information. Book guided walks and tours here as well.
Find adventure, relaxation and affordable fun at U.S. national parks including Cuyahoga National Park.