Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Gem in Our Backyard 

Aerial View of Cuyahoga River in CVNP (NPS collection)

Aerial View of Cuyahoga River in CVNP (NPS collection)


 Have you been watching the Ken Burns series The National Parks: American’s Best Idea?  My favorite was episode 1, The Scripture of  Nature.  Our national parks are truly sanctuaries and are unique.  Thank God for the men and women who had the vision to set aside these natural wonders for us to enjoy.  I’ve had the privilege of visiting many national parks, forests and monuments.  I’ve watched the geysers of  Yellowstone in awe and wonder and hiked the underground mazes of Mammoth Cave.  Such a heavy sadness settled over me at  Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park that I don’t believe I can ever go back.  I’ve been relieved to drive out of the chaos of Gatlinburg into the quiet of the Great Smoky Mountains.    Just this year we were able to enjoy the vistas of the Gila National Forest and hike up a mountain to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings  in New Mexico. (Click here to see those pages.)    However, sometimes we forget that we have one of these gems right in our own back yard – Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Canal Visitor Center with Lock (photo by Oydman)

Canal Visitor Center with Lock (photo by Oydman)

We try to visit CVNP several times a year, in all seasons.  The park has something for everyone.  Remnants of the Ohio and Erie Canal,  locks and historic buildings; outstanding birding; the Towpath Trail, a multi-use trail that follows the path of the canal and runs from Cleveland to Akron and beyond; the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad;snow skiing; scenic vistas; peaceful picnic areas; little towns and something new – small farms and a vineyard. 

  Here are just a few of my photos in the park.  There are lots of photos in the gallery on the parks web site.

Ohio & Erie Canal remnant

Ohio & Erie Canal remnant

Great Blue Heron Nests

Great Blue Heron Nests


Beaver Pond

Beaver Pond

Cleveland’s public television station, WVIZ, also put together a photo montage of viewer photos – A Day in the Valley.  It’s a great video tour of the park.  

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park consists of 33,000 acres of recreation, conservation and natural beauty, located less than 30 miles from 4 million residents of Northeast Ohio, and just a half day drive for 27 million people.  I hope you get to visit this park someday,  after all, you own it!

Travel Tips:  The web site has maps and directions.  No camping is allowed in the park.  There is a hostel and nearby hotels.  Be sure to make one of the visitor centers your first stop – they have more maps and ideas about where to go and what to do.  If you are a bicyclist or hiker, you will love the Towpath Trail, almost completely flat, paved or hard pack surface the whole way, lots of shade in the summer –  we have ridden it several times all the way from the north end of the park to the Akron city limits.  Pack a lunch or plan to eat at the Winking Lizard Tavern in Peninsula – you can rent bicycles at Century Cycles in Peninsula too.  In the summer, get ice cream at the Boston store (seasonal hours only). 

Brecksville Station CVSR (NPS Photo)

Brecksville Station CVSR (NPS Photo)

 Or take the train.  Oh, and I must remind you that it is a river valley, with standing water in the canal sections, so use heavy duty mosquito repellant in summer!  A great reason to visit in the fall…

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, Ohio 44141
Visitor Information
(800) 445-9667

About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
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10 Responses to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  1. dan says:

    great photos….
    Cuyahoga River is truly a gem

  2. Jesse says:

    Love the pics!

  3. Dara says:

    I used to live nearby; CVNP was a regular excursion for our family. My parents still live up there and I miss the beauty of the park; it’s just not the same where I’m at now. Thanks for the pics–makes me long for a trip up there now!

  4. theprettyproject says:

    How cool that you visit so many wonderful and sometimes historic places. Good for you and thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Margery Schaffer says:

    Thank you for sharing this, I lived in the Cleveland area for 41 years and spent many times in this valley with my two daughters. It brought back so many wonderful memories. Again thank you.

  6. hrich says:

    this is beautifull place

  7. Donna Earnhardt says:

    We’ve been watching the series, too. Your pics are fantastic. We love to hike in new places and Cuyahoga Valley National Park sounds like a place we should put on our “to hike” list!


  8. Josh says:

    This is beautiful. When I look at the pictures, I remember being a kid in Ohio growing up (before moving west at age 7). Your pic of “Beaver Pond”…I imagine that in my mind’s eye in winter as a frozen pond. I can feel the cold wind on my face. Really takes me back to the desolation of Lake Erie and the freezing temps. Ah, memory lane!

  9. Michael says:

    bug repellent is always a good tip

  10. lilabyrd says:

    I just loved the PBS Ken Burns show on the parks. I cried during the first couple shows… I was born and spent the first part of my life in Merced Ca. For many years I took for granted the beautiful Coast Range and Sierra Nevada Mountains and Yosemite as my play ground…lol… I thought everyone lived like we did. Then we moved to the south east and was so very sad…… but as I got older and was able to do a little driving for myself, I soon found the Atlantic coast {many great places way too many!}and the Gulf and then Oh my…. the Great Smokey Mountains. I guess my point is we do have so many wonders of nature in this great country…. big and small… we should take care and enjoy them all the time. There is always something new to see, yet still like coming home. Chattanooga area was one of the last places I was able to visit before becoming too ill to travel. If anyone hasn’t watched the PBS special really should! Dear me I have gone on so…lol… I’ve come to read about your squash and also found a gem along with a kindred soul…. thank you. Lila Byrd {Lila’s Room With ‘Views’ & Lila Lost in the Fibro Fog…} feel free to come by anytime. :}

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