Cuyahoga Valley National Park Overview

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park's 30,000 peaceful, historic acres, an oasis of forests, hills, wetlands, and canals, skirt 22 miles of the crooked Cuyahoga River and lie between Cleveland and Akron in Ohio. A unique balance of natural and built environments, the park is home to a variety of wildlife, boasts a profusion of tree species and wildflowers, and also preserves manmade features, such as the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath, for recreational use.

Humans have inhabited this area for nearly 12,000 years. It became a key transportation route for Native Americans, who deemed it neutral territory for all tribes traveling through, and for the Europeans who later came to explore and colonize. The Ohio & Erie Canal, opened in 1827, helped put the Midwest on the commercial map, and the region boomed. By the 1860s, the railroad replaced the canal in importance, but the valley remained a popular green spot for the residents of nearby cities. In 1974, the Cuyahoga Valley was named a National Recreation Area, and in 2000 became a National Park. It is also part of the Ohio & Erie Canal Heritage Corridor.

Take the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
The signature attraction in the park, the 20-mile Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal through the Cuyahoga River valley. Made of crushed limestone, the trail offers a place for all ages and abilities to walk, run, bike, or ride. Meadows, deciduous forests, and wetlands line the way, and wildlife can be seen, particularly in the early morning.

Hike the Buckeye Trail
At over 1,200 miles, the Buckeye Trail is one of America's longest, meandering through the entire state of Ohio and serving as part of the unfinished North Country Trail (which will run from New York to North Dakota). The Cuyahoga Valley portion of the blue-blazed trail passes through a variety of environments, including hardwood forests, fields, streams, and steep ravines.

Ski and Sled the Hills
Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resorts offer 16 lifts, ski and snowboard rentals, tubing, instruction, and night skiing. For other wintry pursuits, visit the Kendall Lake Winter Sports Center. Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the center forms the focus of winter activity and offers convenient access to sledding and tobogganing on the Kendall Hills, cross-country ski trails, winter hiking, and snowshoeing.

Visit the Past at Hale Farm & Village
A wander through the brick farmhouse (dating from 1826) and the adjoining bucolic village recalls days past. Don't miss the demonstrations of 19th-century crafts, such as potting, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, candlemaking, cooking, and glassblowing.

Check out the View at Tinkers Creek Gorge
This stunning gorge, formed by the motion of Tinkers Creek, is the park's National Natural Landmark. The gorge's waterfalls and steep walls reward visitors with dramatic views, especially in autumn.

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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