3 Things You Must See in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Josiah and I recently spent a weekend in Ohio with his brother and sister. It was awesome, and we didn't have nearly enough time. There is just so much to do all around Cleveland. But, since traveling to all the national parks is on both mine and Josiah's bucket lists, we simply had to dedicate some time to exploring Cuyahoga Valley. It. Was. Magical!

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the more popular U.S. national parks, and with good reason. Just a short drive south of Cleveland, Ohio, this verdant river valley boasts lush forests, waterfalls, lakes, and unique rock formations.

We planned our trip in the middle of September with the hope that we would see bright fall colors. If that's what you're after, I suggest coming here a bit later in the season. The leaves had only begun to change, 

Whenever you visit, whether you have a few days or only an afternoon, here are three things you absolutely need to see.


This little gem of Cuyahoga is reached via a 0.6 mile trail that slopes gently downward bringing you to a small bridge crossing. Not far beyond that you will get your first view of the fifteen-foot falls from above. And it's just so pretty.

Several small paths leading down from the overlook provide a closer look. Be careful, since these are not marked trails and they are very slippery after rain. This short hike is perfect for small children or if you have limited time. 


Brandywine Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Cuyahoga Valley. This 65-foot waterfall cascades over thin layers of shale giving it a bridal veil appearance.

 A boardwalk and steps, lined with hemlock evergreens and moss-strewn sandstone, will lead us right in front of the falls for a unique perspective. 

If you wish to see more you can take the Brandywine Gorge Trail. It's a 1.5 mile hike that leads down to the creek and an alternate view of the falls.   

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This was by far the coolest hike of the day! The loop trail is short (about 2.2 miles) and unlike anything I have ever seen. As we trekked deeper into the woods an eerie mist began to rise from the recent rainfall, and my imagination turned to the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter. 

Our first sight of the Ledges was from above when we practically stumbled into a narrow ravine that stretched on in bother directions. As we gaped, Josiah went ahead only to return and say that he saw a large owl swooping silently through the trees!

 My excitement heightened and I rushed on, eager to see more. The trail wound sightly downward finally bringing us right beside The Ledges. It took millions of years for glaciers and rivers to form these mossy sandstone structures. I felt so small as they towered above us! 

I love that feeling when something so much older and bigger than me offers perspective on my life and my tiny problems. Josiah described my reaction as being wonder-struck because I kept gasping and giggling like a little kid.

Meandering through the green-tinged structures in the mist felt like stepping into a Tolkien book! We found our way out via the Steps which, I fancied, might lead us to Shelob's lair or the House of Elrond. (Yes, I am a complete nerd.) 

If you only have time to do one thing in Cuyahoga, you need to see The Ledges! This is something everyone should see with their own eyes. 

What would you want to see most in Cuyahoga? Also, which National Park is your favorite? Leave a comment below!

Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog. 


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