Friday, April 7, 2017

Hikes and Waterfalls at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

Blue Hen Waterfall at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

Last week, we drove out to New Jersey to visit my family and on the way we uncovered the stunning Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The park features the Cuyahoga River winding through a varied landscape providing the perfect natural respite.


Trail to Blue Hen Falls with a bridge in Ohio
Trail to Blue Hen Falls
Situated not too far from both Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park provides and incredible natural haven ripe for discovery. We enjoyed two hikes within the park and marveled at the landscape including the Cuyahoga or "Crooked River," canyons, rolling hills, waterfalls and more. Our early spring visit allowed us the chance to see quite a few birds on more secluded trails.

Blue Hen Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ohio
Blue Hen Falls
Cuyahoga Valley is a sizable preserve enveloping many treasures. A scenic railroad adds a special adventure and unique way to enjoy natural splendor. Given the size of Cuyahoga, planning your visit ahead of time is advisable so you can make the most of your visit. For our visit, we focused on two waterfalls -- Blue Hen Falls and Brandywine Falls. We were traveling on I-80 and both are easily accessible from the highway -- just about a 15 minute drive or so from the exit. A truly amazing spot for stretching your legs! Above is a picture of Blue Hen Falls which was bigger than I had anticipated!

Cuyahoga River near Blue Hen Falls in Ohio
Cuyahoga River near Blue Hen Falls 
Blue Hen Falls seems to be visited less frequently than our second waterfall discovery -- Brandywine Falls. The overall hike to Blue Hen Falls was relatively short. There were a couple of viewing benches near the overlook. Very beautiful even on a cloudy day!

Brandywine Falls Thundering in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio
Brandywine Falls thundering 
We visited Brandywine Falls on our return trip to the Chicago area. Brandywine Falls thundered during our visit -- quite a powerful display from nature! There are several vantage points to view Brandywine Falls from. The best viewing point is from a ledge that you arrive at after descending a stairwell down the canyon. Take time to live in each moment while visiting this wonder!

A peek into the canyon with the river down below in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
A peek into the canyon with the river down below.
You are able to park close to Brandywine Falls and the over trek to view the falls is not too difficult. Don't just focus on the falls -- the views of the gorge are stunning as well!

Natural wonder Brandywine Falls waterfall in Ohio
Look at the height of Brandywine Falls!
The striking falls are 65 feet high and the second largest waterfall in Ohio. They truly make you take a pause. If you would like to extend your adventure, there are more hiking trails near the falls.

Intriguing outcropping displaying geology at Brandywine Falls in Ohio
Intriguing outcropping displaying geology
Other treasures include a covered bridge, ledges, locks and the Visitor Center in a building constructed in 1836. Be sure to be on the lookout for wildlife including beaver, otter and muskrat at Beaver March. Activities include hiking, bird watching, biking, canoeing, kayaking, Earthcaching and more. Pets on leashes are welcome over much of the park. There are a couple of lodges within the park and camping is available as well. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is an amazing natural treasure that provides an inspirational respite whether you visit for a few hours or a weekend!
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