We have a tendency to neglect those people and places closest to us. I am embarrassed to admit I have long-neglected to get to know my nearest National Park, Cuyahoga Valley. I’ll in part blame growing up about as far away as you can get within the State of Ohio, Cincinnati to Cleveland, but the park also doesn’t receive the recognition or notoriety that many of the other 59 Parks receive. It doesn’t have the vibrant rock and vaulted walls of Zion or see the sunrise first like Acadia or have unique Joshua Trees as you’ll find in, well…Joshua Tree. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is also worthy of your visit! I promise.
About three years ago, we took my Dad up to the park for a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad as part of his 60th birthday celebration. (He loves trains!) It was such a unique way to gain an overview of all Cuyahoga has to offer! I honestly hadn’t expected to enjoy the ride as much as I did. We also learned that it is a great way to get around to the different areas of the park. If you want to ride your bike along the Towpath Trail, check out the option to get on the train at one end with your bike to ride back to your car on the other!
We had dinner reservations back in Columbus so we didn’t have much time to explore and weren’t really dressed for it either. However, we couldn’t leave without doing at least a tiny hike to see more! We left Rockside Station and made the short trip over to see Bridal Veil Falls. It’s so picturesque! Even in mid-April when the trees are only thinking about waking up. From there we decided to hit one more iconic spot in the park, so we continued south towards home with another detour to Brandywine Falls. The first part of the trail is wheelchair accessible so this is great for everyone in the family. You can hike farther and go along the gorge trail if you want to see the falls and have more of a challenge. (sadly I only had my phone and the camera wasn’t so great, please excuse the lack of sharp focus!)
It was decided to make a return trip to explore more of the park very soon. It has been three years and I just now made it back for the birthday of the National Park Service. 🙁 Time to redeem myself!