Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Valley Today

The park surrounds the Village of Peninsula, which attracts visitors with its history, architecture, shops, galleries, and restaurants. Peninsula is also a popular starting point for recreation in CVNRA. You can board the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for a sightseeing excursion of the park, rent bicycles, take a stroll along the Towpath Trail, or begin an extended hike along the Buckeye Trail.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park also contributes to something greater—the Ohio & Erie Canal Heritage Corridor. CVNRA, in the heart of the corridor, unites Cleveland and Akron, which have active corridor preservation programs. The corridor continues 87 miles south to Zoar, Ohio. It provides continuity and an expansion of the historic connections of natural resources and industry—the lake, river, canal, and railroad—that made this valley and region prosperous.

The Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center is a residential facility featuring watershed-based curricula for primary and middle school children. It has pioneer and art camps in summer, and weekend activities year round. For information about the center and the park's day programs for school and scout groups, call 216-657-2796.

Wetlands, forests, fields in various stages of succession, and other habitats enable a surprising diversity of wildlife to thrive in a place so close to urban areas. Whitetail deer and Canada geese are common sights. Even the elusive coyote lives here. American beaver, missing from the ecosystem for nearly 150 years, has returned. Its industrious dam building has created new wetland habitats for other animals. Cool ravines provide microhabitats for hemlock, yellow birch, red-breasted nuthatches, and wildlife commonly found in a more northern climate.

Covered by mixed deciduous forests and pockets of evergreens, tree species are abundant. Wildflowers and plant varieties range from spring woodland wildflowers, such as hepaticas and bloodroot, to late summer asters and goldenrod in open areas. Yellow and blue irises, cattails, and the American lotus bloom in wetlands in late spring and early summer.

Not to be missed is the stunning view of Tinkers Creek Gorge, the park's National Natural Landmark. The gorge overlook is along the winding Gorge Parkway in the Bedford Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs between Cleveland to Akron and offers excursions year round. You may select from a variety of choices: leisurely trips with unscheduled stops to view wildlife and wetlands, bike and hike trips with a baggage car equipped to carry bicycles, trips with rangers on board who discuss the natural features and the history of the Cuyahoga Valley, and trips to Hale Farm and Village. In the winter excursions include scenic trips through snow-covered forests and along the Cuyahoga River; holiday shoppers' trips; ski trains; and special programs for children.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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