Cuyahoga Valley National Park Day 1 ~ Cleveland Area, Ohio

On our latest trip, our large “destination” to visit was Cuyahoga Valley National Park located just south of Cleveland. The park itself is very urban and protects the Cuyahoga River, famous for being so polluted back in the day, that it caught fire! Due to the “urban” nature of the park, you drive through many small towns as you cruise the main park road. It also means you can see most of the park in 1-2 days, but plan to spend more time as there are several other city and metropark areas that are adjacent to the park that are super fun to explore as well! Here’s everything we saw in the park on our first day there!

Like all good visitors, we of course started our journey at the Boston Mills visitor center just after noon the day we arrived. You can access the inside portion that has a few exhibits and store, but that first day, we took advantage of their outdoor ranger set up, collected a map, stamped our passport, and sat down to decide what to tackle that first afternoon.

One of the main things the park is known for is sitting along the historic Ohio-Erie Canal. The towpath of the old canal has since been turned into a wonderful hiking/biking path along the river. You can easily access a portion of the towpath by crossing the bridge near the visitor center. We did just that a took a nice walk south on the path. Due to the urban nature of the park, this meant we walked as far as the interstate overpass above the path and then turned back towards the visitor center. It was hot that day and that portion of the trail was not overly scenic, so we figured we would explore another well visited spot of the park.

Our next spot to explore in the park that day was Brandywine Falls. This is an especially popular part of the park and sometimes parking fills up, but even when we arrived at 3pm, there were a handful of spots still open for us. This hike was gorgeous, but be prepared for lots of steps. The whole trail is a boardwalk type system, but lots and lots of stairs! You won’t be disappointed when you reach the viewing point of the falls though! They have both an upper and lower viewing point, but I think the lower was my favorite!


Due to spending the morning on the road and the high temperatures, we opted to head towards our hotel following our time at Brandywine Falls. We knew we had two more days in the area, so there was no rush to pack in everything the park had to offer! More details will follow over the coming days of everything else we explored!

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