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Rich in history and culture, this undeveloped landscape bursts to life out of a neighboring metropolis, serving up a world of adventure and seasonal beauty to relish at any time of the year.

With a unique location between the two large cities of Cleveland and Akron, this national park is somewhat of a hidden gem. At the center of it all is the Cuyahoga River valley, where small groups of quaint houses, scenic roadways, and enchanting northern forests sprawl across vistas of rolling hills.

Once in its grasp, it’s hard not to fall in love with the diverse natural features that locals have long treasured. Not wanting to see development overtake the area’s value, residents fought to have the park protected. A National Recreation Area was established in 1974, and houses that already stood in this designated spot still remain—an unusual thing to see in a national park.

A park for all

While the park’s charming history draws people in, what keeps them coming back are the endless opportunities for fun. This is a park that truly celebrates all seasons. Waterfalls gush in the spring, inviting the choruses of wading birds and raptors, and all summer long, outdoor enthusiasts walk, run, cycle, and hike through lush woodlands. During the fall, the park transforms into a sea of red, orange, and yellow as trees erupt in vibrant colors—a favorite scene for photographers who flock here during peak leaf season. When snow blankets the land in the winter, sports lovers head to the hills for prime sledding and skiing conditions.

To enjoy the park’s recreational and historic glory year-round, travel alongside the scenic Ohio & Erie Canal. Completed in 1832, this multistate crossing provides 101 miles (162 km) of recreation—some of which cut through the park on the Towpath Trail. And there’s more: art exhibits, musical shows, and horseback riding make Cuyahoga Valley perfect for the entire family.

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Carving a route through beautiful sections of deciduous forest, the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail makes for a pleasant family bike ride


Cuyahoga Scenic Valley Railroad

Trains on one of the longest-running railways still in operation today offer activities for all ages, ranging from cookie-decorating rides to the chance to learn about the park’s flora and fauna. You can even step back in time on the historic Nickel Plate Road 765 steam locomotive.

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A steam locomotive on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad creates a picture-perfect scene

Did You Know?

The Ohio & Erie Canal that runs through the park was created by laborers working for a mere 30 cents a day.

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