Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Written by Jamie
When we were originally planning out our trip, we knew we would be driving along Lake Erie through the state of Ohio on our way to Michigan, and we figured we would stop somewhere near Cleveland for a night or two to break up the drive. What we didn’t know at the time was that there is a beautiful 33,000-acre national park just a short distance from the urban centers of Cleveland and Akron: Cuyahoga Valley National Park. So off to the park we headed, and we were totally surprised by the wooded green paradise we found nestled between the highways and residences. Because of its location and proximity, Cuyahoga Valley is able to be so uniquely accessible to the surrounding suburban areas, making it possible for visitors to bike and jog miles of trails, ride a scenic railroad, play a round of golf, listen to a symphony concert, attend an art exhibit, or even hit ski slopes in the winter.
There aren’t any campgrounds in the park and not a ton of options in the close vicinity, but we found a cute city park nearby, Stow Silver Springs Park, that offered large first-come-first-serve spots (although no hookups) with shady trees and walking trails! Once we setup camp, we head back out in the afternoon to hike the beautiful Ledges Trail. The loop trail is full of interesting rock formations (perfect for bouldering, we noted) and has an awesome vista over most of the valley. After the hike, we headed to FlipSide, where we split some amazing burgers and chatted with an Englishman at the bar. He had just flown into the states (his first time ever) for 2 nights to potentially buy his antique dream car.
The following day we visited the park’s visitor center to pick up some trail maps and made our way over to the popular Brandywine Falls and lesser-known Blue Hen Falls, followed by a walk through the fields and over Everett Covered Bridge, the last remaining covered bridge in the area. We ended our evening with a smorgasbord of leftovers cooked over a campfire. We really were getting used to this whole “happy camper” life 😉
Trae and Jamie