17 Best Things to Do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located just outside Cleveland, Ohio, is a lush farming valley filled with natural and historic sites. Cuyahoga Valley is one of the newest National Parks and one of the most popular in the Midwest. Among the rolling hills and tree-covered forests here, you can find over 125 miles of dog-friendly trails, waterfalls, wildlife, historic structures, and even ride a Scenic Railroad. This guide covers the 17 best things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission from any purchase – at no extra cost to you. This commission helps keep Brooke In Boots up and running. As always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own!

Cuyahoga Valley may not be as splashy as some other National Parks, but it offers family-friendly hiking, waterfalls, and an up-close, interactive look at the region’s history. We love stopping by Cuyahoga Valley with our dog on our cross-country road trips, or a quick getaway when traveling in the Midwest.

The Top 5 Things to Do In Cuyahoga Valley National Park

This article covers over a dozen of my favorite activities in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  But if you only have 1 day or a few hours to spend here, here are my top 5 favorite things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park:

  1. Brandywine Falls
  2. The Ledges Trail
  3. Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath
  4. Canal Exploration Center
  5. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

This article covers each of these fun activities in more detail below – plus 12 more suggested things to do in Cuyahoga Valley!

A Quick Intro to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is nestled in the rolling hills and forests between the major cities of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Because of its history and proximity to major cities, Cuyahoga Valley feels a lot more like a giant state park than pure wilderness.

To get around Cuyahoga Valley you’ll drive through towns, villages, over bridges, and along major highways. It’s a different kind of National Park experience!

Park Notes

Where: Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in and around the town of Peninsula, Ohio.

Entrance Fee: There is NO entrance fee for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Kid Friendly?: Yes! Cuyahoga is kid friendly with easy to moderate hikes, interactive history exhibits, and even a scenic train.

Dog Friendly?: Yes! Dogs are allowed in most places and on most trails in CVNP. Read more about visiting the Park with your pup, below! Pets are not allowed inside the visitors centers, on the Scenic Railroad, or on East Rim mountain bike trails.

What is so Special About Cuyahoga Valley National Park?

Cuyahoga Valley doesn’t have the “wow” factor of other National Parks like Yosemite or Yellowstone. In fact, first time visitors might find themselves wondering “why, exactly did Cuyahoga get National Park status?’

But after several visits, I’ve really come to appreciate this National Park for its family and (dog-friendly!) hiking trails, accessible waterfalls, and important history.

What is special about Cuyahoga Valley National Park, is that it preserves an important chapter in US history. Cuyahoga Valley is a living monument to how far we’ve come in the fight to protect the environment – and how far we still need to go.

Hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Winter

Over the years, the valley was an important corridor for shipping industrial and commercial goods along the railroads and canal way. The Cuyahoga River also became a dumping ground for the region’s urban and industrial waste. By the 1960’s, the Cuyahoga River was so significantly polluted that the river literally caught fire over 13 times.

The Cuyahoga River fires outraged the nation and helped launch the modern environmental movement and the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, and later the Environmental Protection Agency.

After decades of cleanup and restoration, the Cuyahoga River and valley are now thriving ecosystems. The area is filled with dense forests, beaver marshes, and interesting geologic formations.

Today, almost 3 million annual visitors to Cuyahoga Valley National Park can paddle the clean Cuyahoga River, hike the trails, and explore the region’s important history.

How Much Time to Spend in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

First time visitors to Cuyahoga Valley should try and spend at least one full day exploring the Park. Thanks to its convenient location between Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley makes the perfect day-trip or weekend getaway.

Cuyahoga Valley is located directly next to Interstate 80, which means its the perfect stop on your next road trip. As mentioned elsewhere, Cuyahoga is extremely dog-friendly, meaning you don’t have to worry about leaving your furry friend behind to visit here.

Even if you only have a few hours (or less), Cuyahoga Valley makes a great visit for anyone who loves National Parks, hiking or just wants to stretch their legs during a road trip.

Best Things to Do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Below is a list of the best things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This section includes detailed information about hiking trails, including distance and difficulty, as well as some non-hiking experiences that are absolutely worth your time!

While most of the trails inside Cuyahoga are well-maintained and easy to follow, you always want to be prepared before starting any adventure outdoors! Check out this guide to packing for a day hike and makes sure you have everything you need.

Map of the Best Things to Do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

How to Use This Map: Click the Icons on the map to see more information about each location. Click the star at the top of the map to add the map to your Google Maps account.

Download my free Ultimate National Parks Planning Guide, which includes printable packing lists, a National Parks checklist, my favorite planning tips, and more important information for planning your trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park (and all 62 other National Parks!).

1. Explore the Ledges Trail

The Leges Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

1.8 Miles / 80’ Gain / Easy / Dog and Kid Friendly

If you only have time for one hike in Cuyahoga Valley, make sure you visit The Ledges trail. This short kid and dog friendly trail is one of the most popular, and my pick for the best hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Along the trail, you’ll circle the “Ledges” – a plateau of towering sandstone bedrock that has been eroded into a maze of cliffs and caves over millions of years. Peer over the cliffs and wander through the maze of moss covered stone. The trail Overlook has one of the best views in the entire park, looking out over Valley and nearby towns and is a must see if you’re visiting the park during Fall.

Plan to spend 1 to 2 hours exploring this easy, but super rewarding hike.

Icebox Cave is a small cave inside the Ledges that was once a popular visit for hikers. The cave was closed 7 years ago to protect the local bat population, which has been severely affected by white-nose syndrome.

The Ledges Trail is NOT wheelchair accessible and not recommended for visitors with mobility issues.

2. Visit Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls is the largest waterfall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Park’s most famous landmark. Here, Brandywine Creek falls over 60 feet through the picturesque gorge.

Brandywine Falls is the largest waterfall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Park’s most famous waterfall. Avoid visiting the Falls during the most crowded times of day, usually 10AM to 3PM.

The Brandywine trail is wheelchair accessible on the boardwalk up to the first lookout. Be prepared to navigate multiple flights of stairs over this trail.

Most visitors take the short boardwalk down to the Brandywine Falls overlook and return. But if you have the time, consider hiking the entire 1.4 mile loop of the Gorge.

1.4 Miles / 190′ Gain (Stairs) / Easy / Dog and Kid Friendly / Partially Wheelchair Accessible

To complete the loop, follow the Brandywine Boardwalk to the right to the top of the falls, then continue on over the falls via the Bike and Hike Trail. Follow the bike trail to the picturesque Inn at Brandywine Falls, and stay left for the Brandywine Gorge Trail.

Like most trails in Cuyahoga, the Gorge Loop intersects with multiple trails. Pick up a map at the Visitor’s Center, take a photograph of the trail map on the bulletin board at the trailhead.

3. Hike or Bike the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Flickr / daveynin Towpath Trail along the Cuyahoga River

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath is an 87-mile long dirt and gravel path that follows the Cuyahoga River from Cleveland to Akron, Ohio.

The Towpath trail is open to hikers, bikers, runners (and horses in some sections) and is a hugely popular recreation spot for local families and visitors alike.

What is the Towpath Trail? The Towpath Trail follows the original route of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath. From the late 1800’s until 1913, the Towpath was used by mules to pull canal boats filled with goods and people, up and down the Ohio & Erie Canal. Before large-scale use of trains, the Canal was an essential highway for goods and water for towns between Akron and Lake Erie.

19 scenic miles of the Towpath Trail wind through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, including 10 different trailheads to access the path. Learn more about each of the 10 Towpath trailheads inside the park here.

Park your car and explore as far as you would like on foot or by bike before returning to your car.

1 Mile to 87 Miles / Easy / Kid, Bike, and Dog Friendly

For a real adventure, hop on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and take the train back to your vehicle! Learn more about the “Hike Aboard” tickets for the Scenic Railroad below.

4. Visit the Canal Exploration Center

For almost 100 years, the Ohio & Erie Canal was the beating heart of commerce in the Midwest. Visiting the interactive Canal Exploration Center is one of the best things to do in Cuyahoga, especially for kids and fans history.

Exploring the old Ohio & Erie Canal

In the early 1800’s, the United States looked a lot different than it does now. Farmers and frontiersmen living west of the Appalachian Mountains were almost entirely cut off from the rest of the country. Settlers struggled to carve out a living, and the growing cities of the East Coast relied heavily on imports from Europe. The Construction of the Erie Canal in 1825 linked New York’s Hudson river with Lake Erie.

The Ohio & Erie Canal, finished in 1827, finally connected the Ohio River with Lake Erie, and by extension, the rest of the country.

Today, visitors can learn about the Canal’s history and importance in the interactive Canal Exploration Center, located at Lock 37. The Center is housed in an old tavern-turned-visitor-center and includes stories and exhibits about the real people that worked and lived along the waterway. Seasonal lock demonstrations show how the locks controlled commerce along the canal.

Check the schedule of events here.

Learn more about the Canal Exploration Center, here

5. Take a Ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

*UPDATE May 8, 2023: As of May 2023, the CVSR is operating between the stations of Peninsula and Akron ONLY. Construction to repair damage to the CVSR tracks in parts of Cuyahoga Valley National Park is ongoing. The train does not currently stop at Rockside, Canal Exploration Center, Brecksville, and Boston Mill . Get the newest updates, here.

A trip on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is certainly one of the most unique things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park!

The Scenic Railroad (sometimes called CVSR) runs from Rockside Station (in the North) to Akron (in the South), following parallel to the Towpath Trail and Cuyahoga River. The railroad makes multiple stops throughout Cuyahoga Valley National Park, including at the Canal Exploration Center and Boston Mills.

Take in the rolling hills and forests of Cuyahoga from one of the glass dome cars, or grab a snack and souvenir from the cafe car. Seating options include convenient Coach ($18/ adult), Table Seating in a vintage railcar ($23 / adult), First Class ($26 / adult), Lounge ($38/ adult), and panoramic Dome Car seats ($31 / adult).

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also offers special themed trips, like a holiday North Pole Adventure event for kids, and a Murder Mystery ride for the adults.

Hike, Bike, and Paddle Aboard the CVSR

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad can be used to shuttle you back to your car after a day of hiking, biking, running, or paddling point-to-point along the Towpath Trail or Cuyahoga River.

Arrive at the station 10 minutes prior to the train’s scheduled arrival and flag down the approaching trail by waiving both hands over your head. Pay a one way fee when boarding (see prices here) and relax in comfort as the CVSR whisks you back to your car!

*Update May 10, 2023: Due to construction on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic , the Paddle Aboard program is not currently running.

Learn more about one-way tickets and updated information here.

6. Boston Mills Visitor Center

The Boston Mill Visitor Center in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The brand-new Boston Mill Visitor Center, located in the heart of the Park, is your one-stop shop for everything Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Boston Mill Visitor Center is housed in a preserved two story white wooden building that was once a General Store. Inside the Center you’ll find exhibits about the Cuyahoga River, the Park’s history, and the story of conservation in America. You can also find a ranger desk where helpful park employees can help you plan your trip, as well as a small gift shop.

Stop inside to learn a bit (there is plenty of parking in the large lot across the street) and don’t forget to grab your official National Parks Passport Stamp.

Next, walk across the river to the Boston Store located on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Here you can shop for local food (don’t miss a chocolate and peanut butter “Buckeye” candy, a state obsession) and grab a cup of delicious ice cream. Perfect for cooling off after a long day of exploring.

The Towpath Trail runs around the corner from the Visitor Center and Store, and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad stops directly in front of the Visitor Center.  

7. Go Wildlife Spotting at Beaver Marsh

Beaver Marsh in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Wild wetlands once filled the Cuyahoga Valley, teeming with wildlife like beaver, ducks, geese, frogs, turtles, and migrating birds.

For decades, the Marsh was littered with industrial runoff, and spare machine parts from the nearby auto shop. In the 1970’s and 80’s, the land was purchased by the federal government and a massive cleanup effort by Sierra Club volunteers and the National Park service slowly restored the Marsh to its natural state.

Today, Beaver Marsh is one of the most popular spots in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail turns into a boardwalk as it runs through the marsh. Visitors and birds alike flock here to enjoy the scenery and spot wildlife.

Be on the lookout for turtles, blooming water lilies, bullfrogs, over 50 species of birds, and even the elusive beavers that call this area home.

The best trailheads to access the Marsh are from the Ira Trailhead (approx. 1/4 mile one way) or the longer Hunt House Trailhead (3/4 mile South).

Beaver Marsh is accessible by stroller and wheelchair from the Ira Trailhead, approximately 1/4 mile north.

8. Hike to Blue Hen Falls on the Buckeye Trail

Blue Hen Falls / Photo by Travis Essinger on Unsplash

Take a short but rewarding hike to Cuyahoga’s second waterfall, Blue Hen Falls. The picturesque 15 foot falls is a favorite spot for photographers and hikers who want to stretch their legs on one of Cuyahoga’s dirt trails.

3 Miles / 580′ Gain / Moderate / Dog Friendly

Blue Hen Falls is located on the Buckeye Trail, a 1400 mile scenic trail that circles the state of Ohio, with several scenic miles running through Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Buckeye Trail to Blue Hen Falls can be easily accessed from the Boston Mill Visitor Center. Park at, or take the Scenic Railroad to, Boston Mill. From the Visitor Center, (carefully) cross Riverview Rd and walk north (away from the River) on Boston Mills Road. A small sign for the Buckeye Trail will be on your left, leading into the woods.

After approximately 1.4 Miles, stay to the right and follow signs for Blue Hen Falls.

What is a Buckeye? Talk to any Ohio-an long enough and you will realize that they are strangely, passionately proud of their state tree, the Ohio Buckeye. You’ll find Buckeye trees throughout Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and you might recognize them by their distinctive round brown nut. While actual buckeye nuts are toxic, don’t miss trying the delicious chocolate and peanut butter Buckeye candy found in the Boston Store and at farmer’s markets, truck stops, really anywhere across the state.

9. Canoe or Kayak the Cuyahoga River

Thanks to decades of conservation and cleanup efforts, the Cuyahoga River has gone from burning with pollution to a vibrant recreation area.

Paddling and Kayaking is permitted along the Cuyahoga River Water Trail that runs through the Park and beyond. There are 5 river access sites within the National Park, including at Lock 29 in Peninsula, at Boston Store, and Lock 39 near Rockside Station.

Paddlers can “Paddle Aboard” the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, by purchasing a special one way ticket, that includes kayak storage on the train. Park and paddle to a convenient river access point and flag down the train back to your car!

Learn more about Paddle Aboard access on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, here.

*Update May 10, 2023: Due to construction on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic , the Paddle Aboard program is not currently running. Check here for updated information.

Paddlers must bring their own equipment and the National Park does not currently offer any guided tours.

If you’re a newbie kayaker or don’t have your own boat, Burning River Adventures offers guided kayak tours on the Cuyahoga River just outside the National Park. Learn more here.

10. Visit a Farmer’s Market

Thanks to its rich farming history, Cuyahoga Valley has two iconic farmer’s markets to check out. Unfortunately we’ve never been in Cuyahoga when the markets were in season, but we’ve heard great things!

The first is  Szalay’s Farm Market. This local produce stand has been operating since 1931 and is beloved by locals and visitors alike.

Szalay’s is known for its sweet corn, a Midwest favorite, as well as fresh veggies, fresh fruit and local handmade goodies.

On weekends they sell prepared food including hot dogs, corn on the cob, and lemonade. In fall, wander through their corn maze in Fall.

Szalay’s is open June through October. Visit their website to learn more.

The second farmer’s market, Howe Meadow Farmer’s Market, is located just down the road. Howe Meadow is open on Saturdays from May to October.

Howe Meadow has over 70 local vendors offering fresh produce, baked goods, coffee, live music, food tastings and more. If you’re visiting Cuyahoga on a Saturday in Summer, make sure you stop by!

Visit their website to get updated hours and opening dates.

Note: Dogs are only permitted at Howe’s Meadow during “Yappy Hour” from 11am to 12pm. You can place a preorder and pick up with your pooch so you don’t miss out on the good selection ahead of time.

11. Photograph Everett Covered Bridge

Don’t forget to make a quick stop to photograph Everett Covered Bridge, one of the most photographed spots in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Everette Covered Bridge is particularly beautiful in fall.

Everett Bridge, which spans Furnace Run, is the only covered bridge left in Ohio’s Summit County. At the time of it’s construction in the 1800’s, there were over 2,000 covered bridges in Ohio alone!

Why? Just as the Ohio & Erie Canal opened the midwest to reliable water transportation, covered bridges protected important roadways from ice and dangerous conditions, making transportation safe and reliable.

Legend says that the Everett Covered Bridge was constructed after late one winter night, a local farmer John Gilson and his wife were crossing Furnace Run. To avoid the ice that blocked their way, the couple tried to ride around, but the couple were thrown into the icy water, where Mrs. Gilson was rescued, but John was never found. Whether true or not, the legend is an important lesson on the important function these picturesque bridges once served.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

12. Explore Deer Lick Cave

4.2 Miles / 498′ Gain / Moderate

Explore Deer Lick Cave, a small cave tucked into the side of a cliff, on this moderate hike. The trail winds through the dense forest and across a small creek, so waterproof shoes and some bug spray are helpful!

This trail is lovely and less trafficked than other hikes in the Park, but not nearly as interesting as the Ledges, Brandywine, or Blue Hen Falls. If you’re short on time in Cuyahoga, I’d recommend skipping this hike and save it for your next visit.

The trail is mixed use for hikers and horseback, so watch your step and yield to riders if you come across them.

For a shorter option, you can visit Deer Lick Cave without doing the full loop trail. Park at Meadows Road and hike the 0.2 Mile Bridal Trail to the Cave.

As with many trails in Cuyahoga, there are multiple trails intersecting in this area. Pay attention at trail junctions and closely follow a map or GPS directions.

13. Ski at Brandywine & Boston Mills Ski Resorts

Did you know Cuyahoga Valley is 1 of only 3 National Parks with a ski resort? (The other 2 are Yosemite and Olympic, FYI.) Brandywine and Boston Mills Ski Resorts (operated by Vail Resorts) are located just down the road from the Boston Mills Visitor Center in the center of the Park.

Both Resorts have 5+ lifts and runs for beginners to black diamond.

Not a skier? The Polar Blast Snow Tubing park next to Boston Mills is one of the top tubing parks in Ohio. When conditions permit, you can also snowshoe, cross country ski, and even sled inside the Park. Check out the Park’s winter activities here.

14. Canalway Questing

Do you love solving riddles? Probably the most unique thing to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the annual Canalway Questing challenge.

Cuyahoga National Park’s own low-tech version of geocaching, Canalway Questing involves solving a series of rhyming riddles and a map along the Ohio & Erie Canalway. Collect stamps and sign the logbook to complete the challenge. Along the way, learn about the natural and man-made history of the Cuyahoga Valley.

Unlike geocaching, no GPS is required. Each year, Questing runs from April 15 to November 15. Participants of all ages (and their pups) are invited to join.

Learn more about Canalway Questing and download your quest here.

15. Stroll Kendall Lake Loop

Kendall Lake in Cuyahoga Valley National Park / Flickr / Steve @ the alligator farm

1.5 Miles / 98′ Gain / Easy / Dog and Kid Friendly

This easy trail circles Kendall Lake and is great for families and anyone looking for an easy stroll.

Like many places in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Kendall Lake is particularly beautiful in autumn. Keep your eyes peeled for beavers and other wildlife around the Lake.

Kendall Lake is located just a few short minutes drive from the Ledges Trail.

16. Step Back in Time at Hale Farm & Village

Cuyahoga Valley and the surrounding area has a rich farming history. History lovers can step back in time at the Hale Farm & Village.

Hale Farm is a living history museum that preserves over 30 historic farming structures from Northwest Ohio. In 1810, Jonathan Hale arrived in Bath, Ohio, then a frontier town in the new state of Ohio. Over the next 100 years, the Hale family built and farmed the land here.

In 1930, Jonathan Hale’s great-granddaughter restored the brick farmhouse and donated it to the Western Reserve Historical Society.

Today, the Hale Farm is privately owned and operated. It aims to educate families and history lovers about Cuyahoga’s rich farming history with tours of the historic buildings, and seasonal events.

Learn more about events at Hale Farm here.

Note: dogs are NOT permitted at Hale Farm & Village, with the exception of service animals, to protect the livestock and farm animals.

17. Explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park with Your Dog

Puppy’s first National Park!

Did you know Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of THE best National Parks to visit with your furry best-friend? Because Cuyahoga Valley is an “urban” Park and does not have an extensive wilderness area, this Park is almost entirely dog friendly!

In fact, getting to hike Cuyahoga’s trails with my fur-baby Coco is what keeps us coming back here again and again.

If you ask me, spending quality time together as a family is the BEST thing to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Leashed pets are allowed on all popular trails on this list, including the Ledges, Brandywine Gorge, Blue Hen Falls, and Buckeye Trail.

Pets are NOT permitted inside buildings, on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, on the East Rim Mountain Bike trails, at Hale Farm, or at the Farmer’s Markets outside “Yappy Hour.”

Learn more about visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park with your dog, here.

Tips for Visiting National Parks with Your Dog:

  • Keep your pet leashed at all times.
  • Don’t forget to bring water, a travel bowl, and extra food. Your pets get thirsty too – make sure they drink whenever you do!
  • Always double check NPS.gov for a complete list of where your pet is, or is not permitted, inside a National Park. Most National Parks do not permit pets on any trails, or have specifically designated areas where pets are permitted.
  • NEVER leave pets in the car!
  • Always obey all rules regarding pets in National Parks. This is for your safety, your pet’s safety, and the safety of wildlife.

Planning a Trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

With plenty of transportation and lodging options nearby, planning a trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a breeze compared with other, bigger National Parks.

There are no entrance fees, parking fees, or reservations required to enter Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Packing for your Cuyahoga Valley National Park trip? Don’t miss my complete National Park Packing Lists + Printable Guides!

Where to Stay in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

There are no campgrounds or dispersed camping inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For State Park camping and private campgrounds nearby, click here.

If you’re bringing a recreational vehicle (RV) to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, there is designated parking at Boston Mill Visitor Center and Rockside Station, as well as parking that can accommodate large vehicles at other trailheads. In 2022 we visited Cuyahoga while towing a large trailer for our cross-country move, and we had no problems finding an easy spot at Boston Mill.

There are numerous hotels in and around Cuyahoga Valley National Park, ranging from historic Bed-and-Breakfasts to budget chain hotels.

The charming Inn at Brandywine Falls is the only hotel located inside the National Park. Built in 1848, this adorable bed-and-breakfast has charming, if not dated, guestrooms, and a full-service plated breakfast included with your stay. Book the Inn at Brandywine Falls here.

Within a few minutes drive of the National Park are multiple hotel chains perfect for road trippers, stay-cationers, and dog-parents.

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind National Park experience, consider renting out the historic Stanford House, owned by the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This historic house built in 1843 has beds for up to 30 guests. But start planning now, this property takes reservations 2 years in advance!

How to Get to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Thanks to Cuyahoga’s convenient location, this National Park is accessible from almost anywhere in the Midwest.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in and around the town of Peninsula, Ohio. The Boston Mill Visitor’s Center is a great place start any visit to the park.

The Boston Mill Visitor’s Center is located at 6947 Riverview Road, Peninsula, Ohio 44264.

Rental cars are available at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and other nearby airports.

CityDistance to Boston Mill Visitor Center
Cleveland, OH22 Miles / 30 Minutes
Akron, OH17 Miles / 23 Minutes
Pittsburgh, PA114 Miles / 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Columbus, OH129 Miles / 2 Hours
Cincinnati283 Miles / 3 Hours 30 Minutes

Nearest Airports to Cuyahoga

Flying to Cuyahoga? The nearest airport to Cuyahoga Valley National Park is Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

There are multiple airports within a reasonable drive to Cuyahoga, and it pays to compare flights. Use the table to compare the closest airports to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

AirportDistance to Boston Mill Visitor Center
Cleveland Hopkins Intl Airport24 Miles / 30 Minutes
Akron-Canton Airport30 Miles / 35 Minutes
Pittsburgh International Airport104 Miles / 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Columbus International Airport129 Miles / 2 Hours

Ready to compare flights? Click below to start booking your flight to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Getting Around Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Like other East Coast Parks, Cuyahoga is pieced together around existing farms, towns, and highways. To access all areas of the park, a car is strongly recommended. Cell Service and Data are widely available inside the National Park, except on some hiking trails.

Cuyahoga Valley is the 9th most visited National Park, with over 2,900,000 visitors in 2022. That means that Parking can get crowded, especially during the summer and on weekends.

Plan on arriving to popular trailheads like Brandywine, Boston Mills, Ledges and Blue Hen Falls early in the day. Have a backup plan if parking is full and come back to a popular spot later in the day.

Select stops in Cuyahoga Valley National Park are accessible via the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Learn more about getting around Cuyahoga by rail, here.

Explore More National Parks

National Parks: 15 Tips for Planning An Epic National Parks Road Trip

Big Bend: Epic Big Bend Itinerary Guide

Cuyahoga Valley: 17 Best Things to Do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Great Smoky MountainsThe Ultimate Great Smoky Mountains Itinerary in 2 Days

Joshua Tree: The Perfect Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

New River Gorge: The Best Hikes in New River Gorge National Park

Yosemite: Epic Yosemite 2 Day Itinerary – How to Spend 2 Perfect Days in Yosemite

Zion: Epic Zion National Park Itinerary Guide

National Parks: Get the Ultimate National Parks Planning Guide (for free!) sent to your inbox, full of important planning information, printable packing lists, and the best things to do in all 63 National Parks.