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Five Things You Must See in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Five Things You Must See in Cuyahoga Valley National ParkFive Things You Must See in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located midway between Akron and Cleveland in northeast Ohio, is the Buckeye State's only national park. The 20,339-acre park welcomes visitors year-round, and each season offers its own unique beauty. There's plenty to see and do in this uncrowded park, from hiking trails to historic sites. Below are the five things that are too good to miss:

1. Brandywine Falls

8176 Brandywine Road, Sagamore Hills, Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley National Park features more than 70 waterfalls, but one stands out from the rest -- Brandywine Falls. The 65-foot falls are the second highest in Ohio and can be viewed from the observation boardwalk. There's also a 1.5-mile trail that circles the falls and the gorge below. The falls are beautiful anytime of year, but I think the area is especially lovely during autumn. Brandywine Falls is open from dawn to dusk daily.

2. Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Long before it was a national park, the Cuyahoga River Valley was home to the Ohio-Erie Canal, a mid-18th-century waterway that connected the Ohio River with Lake Erie. Today, a 20-mile hiking and biking path follows the canal bed through the park and offers visitors a glimpse of what the area must have been like more than 175 years ago. Some of the canal locks and related structures still stand. The trail is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is hard-packed to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. The trail is not plowed in the winter so that visitors can use it for cross-country skiing.

3. Everett Road Covered Bridge

2370 Everett Road, Peninsula, Ohio

Northeast Ohio is covered-bridge country. The region boasts more than 20 examples of the charming and nearly extinct form of architecture. One striking example, the Everett Road Covered Bridge, is located inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The bridge, an exact replica of the 18th-century bridge that once stood there, is open to traffic and makes a scenic spot for photographs in any season.

4. Boston Store Visitor Center

1550 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula, Ohio

330-657-2752

Although the exhibits are interesting here (they tell the history of the canal), to me, it's the architecture of this restored 1836 country store that makes it a must-see. If you block out, for a moment, the parking lot and the cars, you can imagine how rugged and isolated it must have felt living in the valley 175 years ago. The visitor center is open daily from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.

5. Beaver Marsh

3801 Riverview Road, Peninsula, Ohio

Beaver Marsh offers a contrast to the dramatic cliffs, ledges, and waterfalls found in most of the park. Accessible via a boardwalk, the marsh is just a 10-minute walk from the Towpath Trail. The area is a designated wildlife habitat for otters, beavers, and water fowl, so keep your eyes peeled.

Visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is open 24 hours, every day of the year. However, some areas are only accessible from dawn until dusk, and the visitor centers are closed on major holidays. Admission to the park is free, so there's no reason not to visit this beautiful and historic pocket of Ohio.

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