As I mentioned in a blog post earlier this month, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the best American national parks for fall foliage. Located between Cleveland and Akron, northeastern Ohio, this relatively unknown park makes for a fine day visit in fall. Mainly comprised of woods, rivers and farmlands, fall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park is absolutely gorgeous.
Fall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Top 5 Attractions
Below, you’ll find the five major attractions in this scenic and quiet natural/cultural park. These are the best places to truly enjoy and admire the vibrant colors of fall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Note that you could easily hit them all in just one day—it’s an exceptionally accessible park.
5. The Ritchie Ledges
Arguably the park’s most remarkable geological area, the Ritchie Ledges have attracted visitors since the 1800s, people who went there to walk and play. It was one of those 19th-century visitors, the industrialist Hayward Kendall, who bought the area to create the Virginia Kendall Park. Nowadays, the park has been incorporated into Cuyahoga Valley National Park and remains an extremely popular hiking destination. A handful of trails run through and loop around steep moss-covered cliffs.
4. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Without question the star of the show in Cuyahoga Valley is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. This historic railroad symbolizes the park’s industrial and human past unlike anything else. Running between Rockside in the north and Akron in the south, the train takes passengers through the heart of the park. As a regular passenger, you can get on and off at three locations, while cyclists can hop on and off at nine stops. The best way to experience the park is by combining a bike ride on the Ohio & Eerie Canal Towpath Trail (see below) with a scenic train ride.
3. Brandywine Falls
In terms of impressive natural beauty, no place in Cuyahoga Valley compares to Brandywine Falls. This 65-foot-high waterfall is perhaps the most well-known attraction in the park. It’s certainly one of the most photographed places in fall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You can either stroll the boardwalk to a viewpoint or hike the nice Brandywine Gorge Loop for a couple of other vantage points. Both, of course, are recommended!
2. Ohio & Eerie Canal Towpath Trail
The Ohio & Eerie Towpath Trail follows the course of the former Ohio & Eerie Canal that connected Ohio with the rest of the settled United States in the 19th century. This gorgeous path is now adapted to hikers and bikers and is the absolute perfect place to experience fall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Pick up a rental bike in Peninsula, bike a section (or all) of the trail and take the scenic railroad back to where you started—the best afternoon activity!
1. Blue Hen Falls
Blue Hen Falls may not be as huge as Brandywine Falls, but it’s definitely prettier. You reach this 15-foot waterfall after a short woodland stroll, no further than 0.2 miles from the trailhead. In addition to its undeniable beauty, it’s also much, much quieter than its larger colleague. This is easily my favorite place to enjoy fall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. No question about it.
Have you ever enjoyed the colors of fall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park? Share your story in the comments below!