Did you know that about 30-40 minutes outside Cleveland lies a National Park? Finding National Parks in the Midwest is pretty rare so of course we needed to visit the natural wonder of Cuyahoga National Park while we were staying in Cleveland.while we were staying in Cleveland. And let me tell you – so much beauty awaits. Waterfalls, mossy green ledges, beauty all around. You’ll ask yourself – am I really in Ohio? Oh, yes!

About Cuyahoga National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park officially became a national park in 2000. Encompassing 33,000 acres along 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River, this National Park is a gem of the Midwest. Love hiking? With over 125 miles of hiking trails, there’s plenty to explore!

Getting Started at Cuyahoga National Park

I always make sure I have a map handy just in case I lose reception or can’t access my All Trails map. I printed my maps here.

Brandywine Falls

We wanted to see waterfalls so our first stop at Cuyahoga Valley National Park was Brandywine Falls. With easy access to the falls via boardwalk, this makes it one of the more popular trails at Cuyahoga. Despite arriving mid-morning and already busy, we were lucky and still found parking. The hike to the waterfall was super easy on a boardwalk hugging the rocks. We headed down the stairs and followed the boardwalk for an awesome up close and personal view of the 60-foot falls.

Explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids in one day including hiking at Brandywine, The Ledges, and Bridal Veil Falls.

Afterwards, we continued back up the stairs on the boardwalk for another view of the falls from up top. We even saw the ruins of Champion Electric Company. I wanted to continue and make this a longer hike, but instead of making a left we made a right and we found ourselves back at the parking lot. Darn!

Explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids in one day including hiking at Brandywine, The Ledges, and Bridal Veil Falls.

Address: 8176 Brandywine Road, Sagamore Hillls, OH

 

The Ledges

After a few minutes into the hike, we noticed the stark contrast in the environment. We were surrounded by mossy green ledges everywhere! We even found an actual bat cave. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the cave was closed in an effort to prevent White-Nose Syndrome, a disease that has killed over millions of bats.

Ice Box Cave

Explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids in one day including hiking at Brandywine, The Ledges, and Bridal Veil Falls.

Explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids in one day including hiking at Brandywine, The Ledges, and Bridal Veil Falls.

Explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids in one day including hiking at Brandywine, The Ledges, and Bridal Veil Falls.

From the Ice Box Cave, we followed the Ledges Trail admiring the beautiful rock formations until we reached the Overlook.This was absolutely our favorite hike at Cuyahoga!

Address: 405 Truxell Road, Peninsula, OH

Take a break

After The Ledges, we definitely needed to eat. Stopping at The Boston Store was the perfect break for our family. Not only did we pick up pre-made sandwiches , but we had to get Mitchell’s Homemade, locally made ice cream as well as a few novelty choices. This was also a perfect stop to get my stamp for my National Parks booklet as well as a few souvenirs. If you have kids that love the Junior Ranger program, grab them here! If you want more information, the Visitor Center is nearby.

Address: 1550 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula, OH

Bridal Veil Falls

We wanted to squeeze one more waterfall before heading back and heard Bridal Veil Falls was an easy hike.  Just like Brandywine Falls, it is mostly boardwalk and stairs. Unlike Brandywine, the fall are much smaller but still a great sight to see. The kids personally liked walking across the water instead of the bridge.

Explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids in one day including hiking at Brandywine, The Ledges, and Bridal Veil Falls.

Address: Walton, OH

Other things to do at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  • Bike. Take the Towpath Trail that follows the historic Ohio & Erie Canal. If you need a bike you can rent them at Century Cycles. 
  • Get on the train! If you prefer a more relaxing way to view the park, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is your answer. Stretching 51 miles through parts of the National Park, guests can enjoy the views aboard the 1950s climate-controlled coaches.

 

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