Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Details

Website: http://www.nps.gov/cuva/index.htm

Location: Ohio, between Cleveland and Akron.

Address: Park Headquaters

                 15610 Vaughn Road

                 Brecksville, OH 44141

Agency: National Park Service

Primary Attractions: Historic canal towpath, second-growth forest, glacial valley, sandstone rock outcroppings, Cuyahoga River, waterfalls

Miles of trail: 125+

Entry Fees: None

Operating Hours: Open year-round.  Park open 24 hours.  Certain areas closed dusk until dawn.

Camping: One group campsite located at Stanford House, open Memorial Day through Oct 31.  No other Camping allowed. 

 

Summary

Cuyahoga Valley National Park was created in 1976 as Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area.  It was designated as a national park in 2000.  Located between two large cities, Cleveland and Akron, it is an island of green in the greater northeast Ohio area.  One of the most visited national parks in the country (primarily due to its "urban" location), it provides an experience of what the environment was like for Ohio settlers in the early 19th century.  

The historic Ohio and Erie Canal towpath provides the main footpath through the center of the park, extending 21 miles from north to south.  It travels another 70 miles south outside of the park to Zoar, OH.  The grade is gentle, the surface is crushed limestone, and it is frequently traveled by bicyclists and other hikers.  The fact that is is in the center of the valley proper means that it can be used to create numerous loops with far more "rugged" trails involved.  

A large section of the Buckeye Trail also passes through the park.  This section stands out due to its rugged nature, passing by waterfalls, open ridges, deep forests, and expansive overlooks of the valley.  It follows the towpath in the northern section of the park, but numerous connecting trails also descend to the valley floor and towpath, allowing one to plan a long hike a maximize solitude.  

There is more than 125 miles of trail throughout the park.  Some take you deep into wooded ravines, large sandstone outcroppings, and beautiful waterfalls.  Others may detail some of the more historic features, such as canal locks, 100 plus year-old farms, and former industrial sites from when the valley was still a "working" area.  

While the National Park service does not allow camping or campfires in the park, there is a group, walk-in campsite available from Memorial day to October 31st for $20 per night.  There is no parking at the campsite, so you must walk in from another trailhead.  The park managment plan was approved in 2014, which will bring with it backcountry designated campsites in the future.  As of 2016, these sites have not been chosen or constructed.