Tom and I had one day in Akron on this visit to Ohio. We saw our favorite dentist, went to CVS, and then had several hours free before meeting friends for dinner. We decided to go to Cuyahoga Valley National Park during that interim time.
Over the years we spent a lot of time in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Boy Scout camp we went to every summer is next door and connected by hiking trails. The Towpath Trail is part of the Ohio to Erie Bike Trail and 20 miles of it runs through the National Park. We rode the Towpath Trail many times. Tom and I visited Brandywine Falls frequently and ate at restaurants in Peninsula, a small town surrounded by Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We skied at Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resorts. We are very familiar with Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
But I never got the National Parks Passport Stamp for the park and we didn’t spend much time on the trails. So, even though rain was predicted, Tom and I decided to take a hike in the park. We stopped in at the Boston Store Visitor Center, checked out the exhibits, and talked to a Volunteer Ranger. We asked her what hike she would recommend.
She suggested the Ledges Trail, a loop trail that is about two miles long with plenty of additional spurs. We had hiked that trail before, but it was years ago, so we decided to take her recommendation. We drove to the trailhead and set out.
The Ledges Trail is a beautiful rocky area, lush with the vegetation typical of northeast Ohio. There is a large parking lot with an adjacent field and several picnic pavilions. The rock formations are gorgeous. You can see ripple marks in the sandstone and shale layers. The highlight of the trail is the Overlook which reveals the expansive Cuyahoga River valley spread out before you.
Tom and I walked all of the trail, taking our time and enjoying the small beauties along the way. We got back to the truck just as the rain started and decided to spend some time at Barnes and Noble before meeting our friends for dinner. We didn’t spend a lot of time at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but I got my stamp and we know we will visit again.
Cuyahoga means “crooked river”. Native Americans who lived in the area gave the river this very appropriate and descriptive name. Cuyahoga Valley became a National Recreation Area in the 1970’s, thanks in large part to the work of John F. Seiberling, the US Congressional Representative from the area who worked to get the land set aside and preserved. Congress declared Cuyahoga Valley a National Park in 2000. Other things to do in the park include Blossom Music Center, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and Hale Farm and Village.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a different national park because it is an oasis of developed parkland between Cleveland and Akron. It is a beautiful area without being remote or difficult to get to. Because it is so accessible, the park is always on the top ten list in terms of visitation for the 58 National Parks. In 2016 there were over two million visitors. If you have a chance, you should definitely spend some time at this beautiful national park in Ohio.