Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area

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    The Cuyahoga River

    by Basaic Written Nov 29, 2011

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    Cuyahoga River
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    The Cuyahoga River was named after an American Indian phrase "Ka-ih-ogh-ha" meaning crooked. The river meanders 90 miles but only 30 miles as the crow flies. The Cuyahoga River has attracted human habitation for over 12,000 years. The river flows through the center of the park and was central to the economy of the valley. Several of the attractions in the park offer pretty views of the river.

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    Ohio & Erie Canal

    by Basaic Written Nov 29, 2011

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    Ohio & Erie Canal
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    Another central element to the economy was the Ohio & Erie Canal. The canal opened in 1827 and partly paralleled the river. It quickly replaced the river as the primary means of transportation through the valley. Animals towed barges containing people and goods up and down the canal. Today the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath offers hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders with recreational opportunities.

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    The Railroad

    by Basaic Written Nov 29, 2011

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    Railroad at Peninsula

    Just as the canal replaced the river as the main method of transporting people and goods through the valley, in the 1860s the railroad replaced the canal. You can still ride the railroad through the valley.

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    Frazee House

    by Basaic Written Nov 29, 2011

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    Frazee House
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    In 1806, Stephen and Mehitable Frazee left Pennsylvania for what was then considered to be the "Western Reserve", Northern Ohio. After about 10 years Frazee owned over 600 acres in the Cuyahoga Valley. In 1825, the Ohio & Erie Canal was built bisecting his property. Frazee sued and received a settlement of $130. It is believed this money was what Frazee used to build this 2-story Federal-style home, in 1826. The house was built using bricks made on site and locally available wood and other materials. The materials and professional architects used in more traditional parts of the east were not available in the Ohio Valley resulting in a "vernacular" interpretation of the Federal-style. As the house was built it settled requiring some unique angles to some of the doors and windows (especially visible in Photo 4).

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    Ira Trailhead

    by WheninRome Written Jun 16, 2007

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    Great Blue Heron
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    My wife and I biked from the Towpath Trail from Ira Trailhead to the small town of Peninsula, all within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This is a beautiful section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail that runs through low-lying areas very near and sometimes along the Cuyahoga (Burning) River. The trail goes through several beautiful wetland areas where wildlife and bird life abound. And of all places for a destination, Peninsula is one of the best and deserves a page all to its own.

    One of my favorite birds is the Great Blue Heron, which has definitely made an apparent comeback in Northeast Ohio. These large birds look prehistoric and make me think they are more befitting of the Jurassic Period. I love seeing these birds high in the sky while in flight, especially while driving on an interstate like I-77 or going through downtown Akron or Cleveland. It reminds me that there is more to the world than concrete and steel and doing business.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Birdwatching
    • Cycling

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    Hunt Farm Visitor's center

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Hunt Farm Visitor's center
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    The Hunt Farm property is typical of the small family farms that dotted the Cuyahoga Valley in the late 19th century. It provides access to the Towpath canal trail and trail parking along with park info.

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    Towpath Trail - Zalay's Trailhead to Peninsula

    by WheninRome Written Jul 8, 2007

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    Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
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    I am not sure if "Zalay's" is the actual name for this trailhead; however, it seems fitting since the trailhead is right next to Zalay's Farm Market. Zalay's grows sweet corn within the Cuyahoga River Valley and sells it at their little open air market. They also have numerous other produce and fruits, much of which is grown locally. You can even buy roasted ears of corn in the summer and ice cream. It has become a very popular place.

    This section of Towpath Trail is just north of the Ira Trailhead. It is a nice, scenic and easy section of trail with a couple canal locks, including Deep Lock, along it. This section of trail also crosses the Cuyahoga River (I love that River!) and passes the site of the old Moody and Thomas Mill.

    The Towpath Trail travels on many more miles into the heart of Cleveland (the last few miles of the trail are being developed and eventually it will travel all the way to Lake Erie!); however, we stopped at the small town of Peninsula and checked out a few of mom and pop antique and book shops before turning around and biking back to our car.

    I almost forgot, Peninsula is also a stop for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and as we arrived on our bikes the train pulled into the station. We have not ridden the train yet, but hope to do so before the summer is over. In the winter they do something for kids with the Polar Express, but that doesn't really interest me and no kids yet. In the summer the train will carry you and your bike to one of their trailhead stops and let you ride back to your car. Pretty cool.

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    Brandywine Falls

    by goingsolo Written Aug 24, 2005

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    Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    The falls are one of the most scenic sights in the park. They aren't the most impressive and only fall about 60 feet, but there is something striking about the cascading streams of water descending over the rock wall, especially when you take into consideration that this national park is practically within city limits.

    The falls are only a short walk from the Brandywine Falls parking lot.

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    The Ledges

    by goingsolo Updated Aug 26, 2005

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    Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    The Ledges are a bit out of the way and hard to find (actually, everything in this park is), but are also considered one of the best stops in the park. These are a series of sandstone bluffs found along a wooded trail found in the southeast part of the park. There is a nice overlook here with great views of the valley.

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    The Towpath Trail

    by goingsolo Written Aug 23, 2005

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    Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    Although there is no road which runs through the park, this hiking and biking trail passes through most of it. The trail was once a mule trail back in the days when the Ohio and Erie canal, constructed next to the Cuyahoga river, operated to allow boat traffic between Lake Erie and the Ohio river. The trail is now used for recreation and runs for nearly 20 miles of the park. The trail is paved and accessible and is used mostly for runners and bikers, but many others walk along at least a portion of the trail in their exploration of the park.

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    See Brandywine Falls

    by PinkFloydActuary Written May 23, 2006

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    Brandywine Falls

    Probably the most famous landmark in the park, this waterfall is about 60 feet tall and fairly powerful, as you can see from the picture. There is a parking area nearby, then a short hike along some wooden trails. The trail splits to an observation platform which is down a flight of stairs, or continues along to the top of the falls. The better view is from the observation deck, but it doesn't take long to see it from both angles. Fences will prevent you from getting too close to the edge.

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    Beaver's Marsh

    by abi_maha Updated Nov 17, 2009

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    The Marsh
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    ok, the bad news upfront we did not see Beavers here, so that was kinda disappointing, what we did see was one noisy goose, some cackling ducks, turtles, a blue heron and some other tiny birds we do not recognize. However while on the towpath trail this is a great place to relax and just spend time, maybe grab a bite.

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    Brandywine Falls

    by abi_maha Written Sep 14, 2009

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    Branywine Falls
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    This looked like apna Doodhsagar's twin! I cant believe two falls in two different continents can look so similar!! Carved by the Brandywine Creek this 60ft falls is beautiful and refreshing! There is parking right at the falls, so just drive up here and walk down the steps to the falls. A layer of hard rock caps the waterfall, protecting softer layers of rock below. In this case, the top layer is Berea Sandstone. The softer layers include Bedford and Cleveland shales, soft rocks formed from mud found on the sea floor that covered this area 350-400 million years ago. Shale is thinly chunked, giving water a bridal veil appearance as it cascades down the falls.

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    Peninsula Depot Visitor Center

    by abi_maha Written Sep 14, 2009

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    The Visitor center
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    We found the people here to be very helpful and friendly. They helped us with everything-parking our car, directions to Brandywine falls, tickets to the scenic rail etc. You have two restaurants adjacent to the station- Winking Lizard and another I forget the name of which are famous for wings. Ofcourse being vegetarians we just packed some food from home before heading off on our getaway.

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    A ride on the scenic rail

    by abi_maha Written Sep 14, 2009

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    The scenic rail
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    Do not miss this! It costs you $15 per person and takes you thru the length of the park from North to South, you can get off and on if you get in early enough. Remember this is just one train that is making the round trip, so do check the timetable carefully and ensure you board the one that's going in the right direction for you. There are snacks and drinks available on board the train. Howver it does not have a viewing deck, so a lot of pics you click will have the glare from the glass.
    We took the ride from Peninsula to Canal Visitor center and back. Then we got off at Indigo Lake (which reminds me do tell the conductor before hand where you plan to get off otherwise you are sure to miss your stop.), from here we hiked to the beavers marsh before hiking back in the opposite direction to Peninsula again

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