Some of the best things in life really are free. Recently I’ve been inspired to opt outside more often and luckily enough, my home is located only 40 minutes away from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This park has over 140 miles of trails to explore and protects over 33,000 acres of land. Read on to discover the many reasons why I love the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
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Reasons Why I Love Cleveland: The Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Autumn is a beautiful time of year to visit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP). I always find myself gravitating towards spending more time outdoors during the fall months, as the weather is crisp but enjoyable, the leaves are vibrant, and I know the impending doom of a cold and snowy Northeast Ohio winter. By no means am I an outdoorsy hiking expert, but below are a few ways I’ve really been enjoying the CVNP. These ideas will be great for newbie outdoor adventurers to mimic.
- Bike the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. While this historic trail has 11 trail-heads in the CVNP, I like to drive from Cleveland to Peninsula and start biking there. After a few miles, I like to stop at Szalay’s Farm Market and grab some fall treats. I’ve actually done this for the past 3 – 4 years on my birthday and I love this tradition. The trail is multi-purpose and easy to navigate but can be quite busy in certain areas.
- Visit Brandywine Falls and hike in the surrounding area. This 65-foot waterfall is a sight for sore eyes! I recently visited the Falls for the first time and was so mad at myself that I’d never been there before in my 30 years of life. Parking can be difficult in this area and many people opt to stow their cars on the side of the road. Brandywine Falls is very popular, so expect crowds. If you are afraid of heights, this might not be your favorite part of the CVNP but I urge you to visit from a distance. There are multiple paths all around the Falls to hike on.
- Photograph Blue Hen Falls and enjoy a coffee while you listen to the peace and quiet. While this waterfall is considerably smaller than Brandywine Falls, it is just as beautiful. Overflow parking is the best place to park, as the lot leading down to the Falls only has room for 3 vehicles. It’s only 1/6 of a mile from the parking lot to the Falls, but it is somewhat steep. Don’t forget to wear shoes with good traction!
- Walk the Ledges Trail to the Overlook. According to the nps.gov website, this is the probably the most popular overlook in the whole park! The best time to visit is sunset (or sunrise if you’re an early bird) and there are multiple other trails nearby to traverse.
Exploring the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has helped me refocus my energy on what’s most important to me, brought me out of the consumerism mindset (hello holiday shopping), and aided in connecting with loved ones without any technology or money spent. I urge you to visit before too much snow prevents you from doing so! A big thank you to fellow Cleveland Blogger, Mady Stoner from Wanderlust in Ohio and Ohio Find It Here for encouraging me to opt outside this fall!