Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio (with Map & Photos)

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Located between the Ohio cities of Akron and Cleveland, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (nps.gov) couldn't be more different from the urban areas that sit so close. With 33,000 hectares of tree-covered hills, steep ravines and meandering streams, the Cuyahoga Valley is an ideal destination for nature lovers. The area was granted national park status in 2000 and offers endless outdoor activities including camping, hiking, fishing, and picnics.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park clearly shows the four seasons of the year, which makes its natural wealth be conditioned and fed by them. The winding Cuyahoga River feeds all the environment, flora and fauna of a bygone time, in a zigzagging landscape as its first Indian inhabitants said.

Start of the park


Towards the year 1870, the inhabitants of the nearby cities began to visit the Cuyahoga Valley for recreational reasons, such as stagecoach rides and pleasure trips by boat on the canal. In 1880, the Valley Railroad became another way to escape industrial life by rail. The evolution of the current park began around the year 1910 when the city councils of Cleveland and Akron established metropolitan park districts.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park

In 1929, the will of Cleveland businessman Kendall Hayward donated a 1.7-square-kilometer property around Richie Ledger and a trust fund in the state of Ohio for the purposes of establishing a perpetual park. The land was designated Virginia Kendall Park, in honor of his mother. By 1930, the Civilian Conservation Corps (or CCC, a New Deal project), built much of the current park infrastructure such as the Happy Days Lodge and the huge picnic shelters at Richie Ledger and Lake Kendall.

Fishing and Boating


Fishing is allowed in the Cuyahoga River, and fishermen usually catch catfish, smallmouth bass and rainbow trout, although consumption recommendations are, in effect, due to the poor quality of the water.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park also has several lakes and ponds that offer fishing for bass, sunfish and crappie. A valid Ohio fishing license is required, and the National Park Service encourages catch-and-release fishing to maintain game fish populations. Motorized boats are not allowed in the park, but the lakes and ponds are ideal for canoes and kayaks. Canoeing and kayaking is also possible on the Cuyahoga River. There are no canoe liveries within the national park, but the Mantua and Hiram areas upstream of the park have liveries.

Hiking and Cycling


Hiking is a major attraction in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the area has more than 125 kilometers of trails, including a section of the Horse Chestnut Trail, which travels a 1,200-mile loop throughout the state of Ohio. Trails in the park traverse a wide range of terrain ranging from easy to difficult. Many trails are also open to mountain biking, including the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which runs nearly 20 miles of the historic Ohio and Erie Canal Trail. The Stanford backcountry campsites - the park's only campground - has four rustic walk-in campsites for use by long-distance hikers and cyclists.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Rocks


Colorful rocks in the clear water of Brandywine Creek in Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ohio. Seen here in summer with low water flow.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Map