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On The Road: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Boston Mills train station

On The Road

Borrowing the name from Jack Kerouac’s classic beat generation tale of travels across the country, intermittently we’ll post accounts about our life on the road. Whether you’re traveling by motorhome, fifth wheel, trailer, camper, van, or SUV, there is so much out there to explore, and we want to bring you the very best to consider for your next adventure. Read on for our most recent excursion to Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Situated between two cities in Northeast Ohio just south of Cleveland and north of Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers extensive trails, hiking opportunities, and miles of pristine natural wonders. The 33,000-acre park opened in 1974 as a national recreation area before being designated a national park in 2000. The only national park in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park preserves and protects 25 miles of waterway along the Cuyahoga River leading into Lake Erie. The park welcomes over 2 million visitors annually to enjoy all that it has to offer, including hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, cross-country skiing, birding, driving, and strolling through the scenic valley.

Contained within the park is a series of smaller parks operated by Cleveland Metroparks and Summit Metro Parks, as well as public lands and privately managed properties.

In addition to the Cuyahoga River, a historic railway, Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, and scenic byway are all popular methods of exploring what the Cuyahoga Valley has to offer. It was the twelfth most-visited national park in the county based on the National Park Service 2023 data. In previous years, the park has seen more annual visitors than Glacier National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Boston Mills Visitor Center
Boston Mill Visitor Center located in Peninsula, Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Getting There

There are many ways to get to Cuyahoga Valley National Park from major hubs like Cleveland and Akron. Check out the available park GPS addresses here. For a listing of directions from specific cities in Ohio and regionally, check out the Directions page.

Stop by the Boston Mill Visitor Center and allow the park staff and rangers to orient you to the park and its many offerings. Located at 6947 Riverview Road in Peninsula, the Visitor Center opened in 2019 in a historic building built in 1905 which once housed the Cleveland-Akron Bag Company. In addition to the gift shop, an adjacent room showcases the valley’s geographical landscape by way of a tabletop model and murals. Oversized vehicle and RV parking is available across the train tracks from the Visitor Center.

Additionally, several of the parking lots offer oversize vehicle day parking, as well as some of the trailheads and destinations. See the Oversized Vehicle Parking page for a full listing of lots and areas available. No overnight oversized vehicle parking is allowed within the park.

Brandywine Falls

Of the 100 or so waterfalls found within Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Brandywine Falls is the most trafficked. Not only is it the highest in the park, but it is also the tallest waterfall in Northeast Ohio, reaching 65 feet high. The 400-million-year-old rocks which make up the falls are a mix of Berea Sandstone and Bedford Shale leading to the creek.

Situated in Sagamore Hills in Summit County just off the Stanton Road parking lot, access to Brandywine Falls is by way of the 1.5-mile Brandywine Gorge Trail or by way of a gentler, elevated wooden path.

The Ledges

The Ledges is a section of the park known for its great hiking trails and impressive rock formations which expose the Berea Sandstone and Bedford Shale. Located just over six miles from Brandywine Falls, parking is available at The Ledges trailhead or at Kendall Lake and Octagon Shelter. Enjoy hiking the 1.8-mile-long trail which winds around The Ledges and connect to other trails, or check out the Ledges Overlook for breathtaking vistas of the Cuyahoga Valley.

Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail

The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail follows a section of the historic Ohio & Erie Canal which operated between 1827 to 1913 as a way of transporting goods and travelers from Cleveland to Portsmouth by way of mule drawn canal boats. The Canal also connected to other canal systems throughout the region.

The Ohio and Erie Canalway became a National Heritage Site in 1996 in efforts to protect and promote the land which once served as an important transportation system. The Towpath Trail currently spans 90 miles and connects to over 50 trailheads. It runs north to south through the four Northeastern Ohio counties of Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, and Tuscarawas. Plans are in place to expand the trail as far south as New Philadelphia, making it 101 miles in total length from its origination in Cleveland.

Pavilion at Cuyahoga Valley National Park
A pavilion at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Where to Stay

Camping is no longer allowed within the park, however there are a list of nearby campgrounds provided by Cuyahoga Valley National Park on the Camping page. The nearest campground is Stow Silver Springs Campground, owned and operated by the City of Stow. Open seasonally, campers can choose from 27 campsites and enjoy amenities such as electrical hook-ups, water spigots, dump stations, and recreational features such as hiking, biking, fishing, tail wagging at the dog park and beach, and access to the Summit Metro Parks Bike and Hike Trail.

Two historic bed and breakfasts exist within the park, including the nine-bedroom Stanford House located along Stanford Road in Peninsula, and the six-bedroom Inn at Brandywine Falls in Sagamore Hills. Both are conveniently located within the park near popular attractions including The Ledges and Brandywine Falls. For park lodging information, visit the Lodging page.

Before You Go

Before you go, make sure you’re prepared with all the RV care, RV maintenance, and RV restoration accessories you’ll need. RVbyLIFE’s Life-Calk® polysulfide RV sealant and Life Seal® silicone/polyurethane RV sealant are two staples to have on hand for any quick on the road repair. The Stick scraping tool also comes in handy and works well with our Release Adhesive & Sealant Remover. Of course, no trip would be complete without a bottle of all-purpose sanitizer. Our Sanitizer for Hands and Surfaces is made with only Benzalkonium Chloride and ionized water, so it won’t leave an odor or irritate the skin on application. It also continues working on surfaces once dry unlike alcohol-based sanitizer. For all other RV repair and maintenance needs, visit our website for our full product catalog.

Make sure to check out our other travel tales to find your next RV travel destination. Happy RV travels!

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