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Things To Do In Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Sip Wine At Sarah’s Vineyard

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – The top 5 things to do

The winery was built using a pre-civil war hand-hewn timber structure and completed with cherry, poplar, maple, and walnut.

In Medina County, Ohio, the original location of the barn’s support beams was near Cloverleaf High School.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park received the barn when dismantled and relocated to the park.

This gorgeous Cuyahoga Falls vineyard and winery, which produces around 10,000 gallons of wine a year and sells it directly to consumers, lets you sample a wide range of exquisite wines.

Sarah’s Vineyard, owned and maintained by Mike and Margaret Lutz, is more than simply a winery, including outdoor dining, live music, and an art gallery.

While sipping your wine, take a stroll around the tasting area and see the artwork.

In June, an annual summer solstice wine festival is held at the Vineyard that involves several local wineries and musicians.

About 4,000 people visit the event throughout the weekend, which also features blues performers, artists, and food sellers.

A Day In Cuyahoga Valley National Park 7 Major Highlights

Posted on Last updated: October 3, 2021

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Situated in northeastern Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley is unique for multiple reasons. Attracting people because of its accessibility, beautiful woodland hikes, cultural importance and historic sites, it is an especially great destination in fall. Moreover, its entirely possible to see all major attractions in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in just one day.

Squeezed in between the cities of Cleveland and Akron, this unlikely urban national park receives more than 2.4 million visitors each year.

This makes it one of the most visited national parks in America, more popular, perhaps surprisingly, than more well-known parks like Arches, Everglades and Death Valley.

Can You Do All 5 Of These Things In Cuyahoga Valley National Park In One Day

Absolutely. Considering you begin early and dont wait on any particular activity too long, as well as go with others so they can pick you up if you do the kayak or train ride, then you should be able to do that.

Of course, Cuyahoga Valley National Park has much more to explore than just these 5 things, but by starting with this list, you will be checking out some of the most popular parts of this park.

Overall, I was very happy that I stumbled onto this place on my road trip, and in hindsight, it just gave me another opportunity to explore another gorgeous spot.

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Best Hikes For Kids In Cuyahoga Valley National Park:

Ledges trail is perfect for kids who like to climb

  • Ledges Trail: DO NOT MISS THIS HIKE. This is a moderate 2.2-mile trail. Toddlers and young children should be monitored closely on this trail due to big drops , but this is an incredible hike. We did it with 5 young kids in tow and it was everyones favorite. This trail can get pretty busy, so I suggest it as a sunrise hike to beat the crowds.

  • Boston Run Trail: This easy 3.1-mile loop takes hikers by a river and through a forested area. Keep your eyes out for wildlife!

  • Stanford Trail to Brandywine Gorge Trail: This moderate 3.8-mile trail rewards hikers with lots of lush forests and takes them along the river to Brandywine Falls.

ledges trail has the name for a reasoN! Be sure to watch the kids along this path!

Attend A Major League Soccer Match

5 Things to do at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (In One Day)

The popularity of soccer is growing in the United States. Ohio is fortunate to have two professional teams in Americas top-level competition, Major League Soccer.

Attend a match where you can appreciate the passion of loyal fans and scream with them in joyous chants for either Columbus Crew or FC Cincinnati. The pageantry of soccer is unlike any other sport, and you can experience it firsthand in Ohio.

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Paddle The River Directly Into Cleveland

Location: Lock 39, Valley View

Why youll love it: Enjoy brilliant foliage in the fall or a playful chorus of birds in the summer during your relaxing journey downstream.

Activity rating: Moderate

While Cuyahoga National Park doesnt offer kayak rentals or other paddling amenities, it is one of the most popular things to do in Cuyahoga Valley. Theres a variety of river access points, including Red Lock, Buckeye, Boston Mill, and Towpath. Consider going a bit further out to start at Lock 39 in the nearby area of Valley View, however. If you start here, you can enjoy a 12 mile water route that leads directly into Cleveland, Ohio. Not only is this convenient in terms of travel, but it also allows for a great comprehensive view of the entire park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Parksfrazee House

The Frazee House is a two story Federal-style home that is located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The house is made of handmade bricks and hand hewn wooden beams, all locally sourced.

When the Frazee family immigrated to the area, they bought the plot of land that would eventually have the Frazee house.

After finding success and wealth in the area, the Frazee family began building their dream home.

Now, it serves as a wonderful place for visitors to learn about immigrants to the area.

Inside the house you can see how they cleverly built it using local materials and with techniques that required some ingenuity.

It is a unique and charming home that is seemingly randomly placed in the middle of this Ohio National Park, but the family at one point worked the land around it.

If you are interested in learning about life for immigrants in the area, this is a great place to do that.

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Ride The Scenic Train

The National Park Scenic Railway is a unique way to experience all the natural wonder Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Sit back and relax as the train weaves through the Cuyahoga Valley and races along with the rushing Cuyahoga River. Look for eagles, deer, beavers and otters in their natural habitat.

From January-May, the National Park Scenic excursion is a two-and-a-half hour round trip through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Board at Rockside Station, Peninsula Depot, or at Akron Northside Station. From June through October, the train runs Wednesdays-Sundays on an extended schedule. You can choose from a variety of seating options including coach, table top, first class, lounge, upper dome, executive class, or suites.

Try Your Hand At Canalway Questing

Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Things to See and Do

Find more than 40 adventurescalled questsalong the Ohio & Erie Canal! Put on your sleuthing hat and follow rhyming clues and a curious map to each hidden quest box. Along the way, discover the area’s treasuresthe natural and cultural gems of the Canalway. Unlike geocaching, no GPS unit is needed and no trinkets are exchanged. When you find a quest box, collect its unique stamp, sign its logbook, and put it back in place for others to discover.

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Walk The Beaver Marsh Boardwalk

Finally we have the Beaver Marsh. This used to be the home of a car garage that left behind all kinds of car trash that had to be hauled out for the restoration. This will legit make you feel like youre on a Florida boardwalk and youll be wondering where the gators are. Well, theyre not here.

This is a 0.5 mile round-trip walk from the trailhead along the Towpath Trail. If you want to bike in the park, you can do that along this trail and stop at the marsh along the way. Its a nice place to end the day, watching the sun set and looking for wildlife.

Visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park

During your visit to Cuyahoga Valley, you might hear a familiar sound in the distance: a train! Thats right, you can take a scenic train ride alongside the historic Erie Canal, directly through the park.

A lot of people ask if Cuyahoga is the only park to have train access, and its no wonder why they might think so. Since national parks are protected portions of land, one would think very few of them have railroads running through them.

The train is just one of many things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National park, and well cover plenty of other great things to do on your trip. As for if Cuyahoga is the only park to have a train, the answer just might leave you planning your next national park adventure. Read on to find out!

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Go Off The Beaten Path

During the fall, the forest that surrounds this park begins to wind down for the year. The trees change color, turning from brilliant greens to warm shades of reds, golds, and oranges. Sometimes, it can be difficult to enjoy this beauty when people surround you.

Try to avoid the crowds by getting out of the main area of the park. Ask a park ranger for recommendations on where to go to soak up the parks beauty without being surrounded by people.

One of their recommendations is often the Boston Run Trail. It is a bit longer but also allows you to get out of the main portion of the park and experience more of the quiet of the forest.

What Part Of Cuyahoga Valley Will You Discover First

19 Awesome Things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

This list is a great way to get started on planning a trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. With so many animals, plants, trails, and waterfalls to see, give yourself plenty of free time to explore and discover the area as you roam. As the park transforms with the seasons, remember to stop by again and see the beautifully-colored foliage in fall, snow in the winter, and new growth in spring.

And if youre learning about things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park because you are moving to Cuyahoga Falls or another nearby city, the team at Krupp Moving would love to help you! Get in touch with our amazing team of movers today by calling or complete the quote form on this page for a free moving estimate!

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Stop By Boston Mill Visitor Center

This visitor center is an excellent starting point to make the most of your time at the park, especially if you only have one day to spend here.

Get a stamp in your National Parks Passport and learn about the park’s history while you’re there.

Boston Mill is a jumping-off point for several treks, the Cuyahoga River, quests, and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, among other things.

If you have any questions or concerns, staff and volunteers are here to assist you.

Inquire about trail conditions and upcoming events at the park with a ranger here.

Driving To Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Besides being close to larger cities in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is also close to many major highways that go through the Midwest and East Coast, so its convenient to many other major cities, especially if youre on a larger road trip.Heres how long you can expect to drive from nearby destinations:Pittsburgh, PA: 1 hour, 45 minutes Columbus, OH: 2 hours Detroit, MI: 2.5 hours Buffalo, NY: 3 hours Indianapolis, IN: 4.5 hours Chicago, IL: 5 hours, 15 minutes Note: Many highways in this area have tolls, so if you do not want to take a toll road, make sure to turn off tolls on Google Maps. The times above include if you do take the toll road, which can be worth it depending on where youre coming from and how much time it saves.

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park Facts:

  • Size: 32,950 acres, ranked 52nd
  • Visitors: 2,575,275 in 2021, ranked 13th. Record was 3,527,837 visitors in 1997 when it was still a National Recreation Area. It saw 2,755,628 visitors in the Covid year of 2020, probably because its near a lot of people who can get there on a day trip by car.
  • Peak Month in 2021: 317,417 visitors in August
  • Low Month in 2021: 86,000 visitors in January
  • Entrance Fee: None but the train ride requires a fee

Date Visited: Sept. 10-11, 2017

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Half Day at Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Things to Do

Twist and turn through the trees as you travel through the heart of Cuyahoga Valley! This path was used by mules to pull canal boats through Ohio, but now its the perfect way to experience the beauty and history of this national park.

What You Need to Know

The Towpath Trail is a multi-use trail that passes by some of the most interesting and historic areas of the park, such as the Canal Exploration Center, the Boston Store, and the Peninsula Depot. Youll even see remnants of the canal along the way!

For the most fun and immersive experience on the Towpath Trail, I recommend biking. The path is mostly flat and incredibly scenic, so riding a bike and covering a good amount of ground is ideal.

If you dont have your own bike, you can rent one from Century Cycles and get right on the Towpath Trail from their office.

Getting Here

The Towpath Trail can be accessed from almost anywhere in the park. If youre renting your bikes from Century Cycles, head to the town of Peninsula. Their office is located next to the railroad tracks across from the Winking Lizard.

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Search For Wildlife At Beaver Marsh

First things first, when I say wildlife, I dont mean elk, bison, bear or any other large mammals that you might find at many other national parks. Still, Beaver Marsh offers a great environment to spot birds, turtles or even a beaver inside the park.

In addition to being a good place to watch for wildlife, Beaver Marsh has an interesting history. In the 19th century developers drained the original wetland. At one time a dairy farm was located on part of the land. Most famously, an auto repair shop and junkyard was located here.

When the National Park Service gained control, they cleaned up the area and started planning for a parking lot. Well That took so long that the beavers returned and eventually transformed the area back into a wetland.

As you walk through and view the waterlily-covered wetland, its difficult to imagine that it was once covered with car parts other household trash. Today, Beaver Marsh is one of the top places to visit in Cuyahoga Valley NP by locals and visitors alike.

From the parking lot, it is an easy 5 minute walk along the towpath to reach Beaver Marsh. You can spend as much or as little time admiring the scenery as you want. We didnt see any beavers, but we did see a couple of snapping turtles one sunning on a log and the other swimming.

As always, youll have the best opportunity to spot wildlife early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

Tips For Visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Permit Systems and Reservations

Check to see if the national park youre visiting has a permit or reservation system in place before visiting. As parks become increasingly crowded more has to be done to safeguard them which means controlling the hundreds of millions of people who visit these places each year.

Popular national parks with reservation systems of some kind include Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Arches, Acadia, Denali, and more.

Want Less Crowds? Try a National Forest!

Try visiting a national forest while youre on your trip to avoid the crowds. There are 155 national forests in America, many of which are equally as beautiful as the national parks they neighbor and only see a fraction of the visitors.

For example, try the Flathead National Forest next to Glacier National Park, the Bridger-Teton next to Grand Teton, and the Dixie which borders nearly all of the Utah National Parks.

Practice Safety, Seriously

National parks are amazing but wild places so it is essential to practice basic safety while visiting them. Every year people die while vacationing in national parks. This is easily avoided by:

  • Sticking to trails
  • Checking the weather before going out on a hike
  • Maintaining a safe distance between wildlife which means at least 25 yards from most wildlife and 100 yards from predators
  • Avoid ledges with steep drop offs

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Best Things To Do In Cuyahoga Valley National Park Oh

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is only a short drive from Cleveland and Akron, OH, yet it feels like aworld apart.

A haven for natural flora and animals, Cuyahoga Valley National Park also offers tourists a chance to get out and explore the best things to do in this place.

Located in the Great Lakes Basin, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is just one of three national parks in Ohio.

Several Native American tribes resided in or traveled through the upper Ohio River Valley area however, the Lenapé Nation is regarded as “the Grandfathers” of many.

However, the National Park Service administers the 32,572-acre park area, including privately or publicly owned parks and enterprises.

There are now no other national parks that were initially established as a national recreation area, and Cuyahoga Valley is the only one of its kind today.

Let’s explore this area with this guide to the best things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH.

Hang Out At Lock 2 Park

19 Awesome Things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Lock 2 Park, one of 19 locks that originally moved canal boats, is situated across the renowned Ohio & Erie Canal.

It’s between Canal Park Stadium and Akron Children’s Hospital and is only about a three-minute walk from the Akron Childrens Museum.

After several renovations, Lock 2 Park is now an open public space and an intimate setting for small group gatherings.

Overhead string lights, bright colored chairs and tables, and the rush of the canal water set up the delightful park ambiance.

Since Lock 2 Park runs through the Towpath Trail, many walkers, runners, and bikers stop by to take a break before continuing on the trail.

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