Monday, July 19, 2021

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Boston Mill Visitor Center

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is an easy 20 mile trip from the Fairground's RV Park if you take the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) at a cost of $2 (less if you the EZ-Pass or if you have the 'new' Florida "SunPass Pro"), which works with many other states turnpikes...we have the 'old' reader so we had to use the cashier method.  With little traffic leaving at 11:30, we quickly got to the only Visitor Center open in the park right now, the Boston Mill Visitor Center.  While in the park, you have to be fully vaccinated to NOT wear a mask, and they set up a booth outside at the far end of the building where you can talk to rangers and staff and get your maps and brochures.  The folks working there were very nice and helpful.

The park essentially follows the Cuyahoga River, and varies in width from very narrow (less than a mile) to fairly wide (over 6 miles), and a length of over 20 miles for a total of nearly 33,000 acres (50 sq miles).  Twenty-two miles of the ninety-mile-long Cuyahoga River flow through the park. The park is right between Akron Ohio and Cleveland Ohio, and for the most part is a world beyond either city.  Designated as a National Recreation Area by Ford in 1974, it became a national park in 2000 by Clinton.  It is the only National Park that originated as a National Recreation Area, and it is the only National Park in the state of Ohio.  Unlike most National Parks, there are many homes and business within the park boundaries.

Trains have been moving through the scenic wonders of what is now Cuyahoga Valley National Park for over a hundred years.  Through a mutually beneficial partnership between the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and the National Park, park staff offer educational programming for riders of all ages and maintain the railroad other national park in the country offers this type of service. Above is one of the stations where one can enter or exit the train.  Basic price is $15 per adult, $10 per child, or $20 per adult and $15 per child for an all-day pass.  No, we did not partake in the train ride since we had Indy...yes, she is a service dog, but she is not trained for travel like this ... yet.

Above are a two of the many houses within the park, and one of the many churches.

One thing that catches your eye is the immense amount of greenery throughout the park.  As you drive the roads, it is not uncommon to be under a canopy of tree limbs.  All the grass, all the trees are so green this time of year.  I am sure that in the winter there is a vast change, and sometime during the fall, the colors are probably out of this world.

The Everett Covered Bridge was constructed after a person was killed trying to cross the swollen Furnace Run Stream in 1877. The original bridge was destroyed by storm floodwaters in 1975,  reconstructed 1986.

 If you look closely, you can see Furnace Run in the middle of the picture reflecting some of the sunlight.

They reconstructed the bridge the best they could just like the old bridge...but the newness of the timbers and the roof are a sure sign of it not being an original.  

The most popular of the nearly 100 waterfalls within the park is  the 65-foot tall Brandywine Falls (tallest waterfall in the park and in Northeast Ohio).  It is a short .2 of a mile trail along a wooden boardwalk to the falls, with the option to descend many stairs down to the bottom (passed on that portion).  The upper view is totally ADA, although there are two sections where the descent and assent are close to being out of compliance.  This is the only waterfall we saw, and it is worth seeing.

The only critters we saw were these sculptures sitting on the three rocks at the Beaver Marsh Trailhead, although raccoons, muskrats, coyotes, skunks, red foxes, beavers, peregrine falcons, river otters, bald eagles, opossums, moles, white-tailed deer, Canada geese, gray foxes, minks, great blue herons, and bats habitat within the park, along with rare (rare to the park) black bears.

Between Marcia and I we have visited around 35 National Parks.  The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is worth visiting, but it definitely does not make our top 30 parks list. Like Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs Arkansas, it is too close to 'city life', although it has an attraction that I am sure in the Fall is outstanding when the yellow, red, orange colors breakout in all their glory.  Again, this National Park is well worth the visit, so if you are in the area, be sure to visit.  There are a few places within the park where RVs can park, but there is no camping.


  1. Definitely a beauty, that park. At least they rebuilt the covered bridge instead of just making a regular one. I do have a fondness for green!!

    1. I think the train is a reasonable price and probably worth it, I am sure you would want to ride it if you ever make it to the area.


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