Cuyahoga Valley National Park is nestled between Cleveland and Akron, following 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River. While this park did not blow me away in terms of the scenery or wildlife (it reminded me a lot of my local state and city parks), it certainly deserves our respect. It’s part in our American history is bigger than the river itself, but what is most impressive to me is how it came to be a National Park. The local residents in the 60s were concerned with the ever growing development and decide to fight together to save their environment and historic features. It was also wonderful how many locals we saw that were being active throughout the park and enjoying their park. That story just gives me hope for all the places that should still be protected…
Anyway, off my soap box for a little. Mike and I made a quick stop at this park, as we needed to get up to Maine for Mike’s upcoming race. There are a lot of places to explore and activities to be done here that we did not get to do yet. So our visit was just a small taste. There is no entrance fee for this park so we should be able to visit again easily!
When we arrived we stopped at the Boston Visitor Center to learn about the history and get a map. We first headed up to the popular waterfalls; Blue Hen and Brandywine. Both beautiful and Blue Hen was accessible enough that you could play in them if you wanted (although I think it’s frowned upon).
We then did the Sense of Boston Quest! They have a couple quests at this park I believe. It’s basically a scavenger hunt. It was required for my junior ranger badge, and I’m glad it was! It was fun to mix it up.
We then checked out The Ledges which was so stunning! It’s definitely the highlight at this park. For my Quad Cities friends, it reminded me a lot of Wildcat Den. We then checked out the Beaver Marsh, which was beautiful at dusk, but sadly we did not see any beavers.
Ranger Ryan awarded my junior ranger badge. He’s been with the National Park Service for 5 years, all at Cuyahoga. The first two were seasonal and now he’s full time. He’s a local and grew up playing in this park, along the trails and the river. He’d like to work at another park (or two or three or…) but ultimately imagines he’d come back home to Cuyahoga!. It make sense that he would want to dabble at other places because he would love to become a Park Planner for the NPS someday. Thanks for the badge, Ranger Ryan!
- There is a Scenic Railroad train that will take you through the park and give you a lot of highlights. It’s also a pretty vast park so that will save you from driving!
- There are a lot of trails here! 125 miles of hiking, running, road biking, and mountain biking. It was amazing to see how many people were out and about being active. There are also opportunities for horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, golfing, fishing, and more!
- The park had a huge summer events calendar – plenty of things to keep the kids and family engaged!