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Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

New Hampshire
posts: 289
reviews: 80
Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

As my title suggests, I'm trying to get a feel for this park.

We'll be passing through the area at the end of a cross country trip next June. We'll be in the area on a weekday for one day.

I see us renting bikes along the towpath and doing some riding but would also like to see the waterfalls and anything else of interest.

It looks so spread out on a map it's hard to know where to stay, where along the path can we rent bikes, how do you get from one area to another without going back out to the interstate?

Lots of questions as you can see.

Anything that would help us get a handle on this area would be helpful. It looks very nice, we want to be sure to enjoy it.

20 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
posts: 8,105
reviews: 23
1. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

Below is a link to biking information on the park's website. This page contains a link to bike shops that offer rentals. Post on or search the TA Ohio and/or Cleveland forum for more information on biking in the CVNP (sorry, I'm not a biker). My understanding is that you can't ride bikes on many of the park's most popular trails, but you could bike on local roads to the trailheads.



Possibly call the Peninsula office of Century Cycles for recommendations and information.



Another possibility for detailed information on biking in the park and for recommendations is to call the park's visitors center.

Locals often just drive to the trail heads for the most popular hikes, such as Brandywine Falls or Ledges. There's only one B&B inside the park near Brandywine Falls. If you arrive the night before, depending upon where you're coming from, you could look for a room in lodging clusters such as those in and near Beachwood or Streetsboro. Consider looking at the park's photography page to see what you most would like to see in the park.


A good option may be to bike the Towpath Trail then drive to other trail heads in order to avoid vehicle traffic on local roads. If you intend to utilize the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for your return trip, be certain to check its schedule on the day of your visit.

CVNP is a very much a local NP. It's one of the most visited NPs, but mostly for day trips. While very pretty, it doesn't contain the exceptionally stunning features of some of the other great NPs, with the possible exception of Leaf Turn. Local roads, not the interstate are used to access park locations. The area was partially developed before the CVNP was established.

Another possibility is visiting Holden Arboretum, the largest and one of the best in the U.S. and absolutely beautiful in June, especially early June. Assuming you are returning to New Hampshire, it would be less of a detour as it's in Kirtland, less than 15 minutes from the I-90/route 306 interchange. Holden's natural areas are a national natural landmark in addition to its extensive arboretum. I don't know if Holden permits biking or has bike rentals, but you could call and ask about that; I'm doubtful that bikes are allowed.


If you do decide to visit Holden, try to arrange a guided tour of Stebbins Gulch.


On a well planned day, you could explore parts of both CVNP and Holden. The CVNP has no admission charge.

The Best Western Plus in Mentor, five minutes north of I-90, is a great place to stay if visiting Holden Arboretum. It also would be a good place to stay on your way home after visiting CVNP.

Other good hike opportunities are offered in the Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve. It contains 1 1/2 miles of wild Lake Erie beach. It's a relatively new nature preserve and I don't know if the City of Mentor, which owns it, has ever applied for national natural landmark status. The preserve's land was seized by eminent domain in the late 1990s to prevent the area's development.


See relevant links below.


BOL for a great road trip!

Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
posts: 8,105
reviews: 23
2. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

Here's a website that explains more about the Towpath Trail:


He has contact information in his profile.

New Hampshire
posts: 289
reviews: 80
3. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

Thanks so much for the information. Chuck's blog really gives you a good feel for the area.

Going out of the way is no big deal. I hate to tell you how much we're going out of our way to see the Mall of America on our way west...but that's part of the fun...we brake for balls of string...LOL This will be our fourth cross country driving trip (also went twice by train).

I picked out this area because I hate to have too many 'just driving' days in a row and we didn't have any good stop planned between Laramie Wy and home...and of course we love National Parks.

You gave me a lot to look at and thanks for the ideas of where to stay.

Much appreciated.

Destination Expert
for Ohio, Cleveland
posts: 8,105
reviews: 23
4. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

It sounds as if you already have roadsideamerica.com bookmarked.

Again, have a great time on your road trip!

posts: 248
reviews: 3
5. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

Hi luv-to-travel!

You'll find lots of great things to do in CVNP. If you are in for just one day, I'd suggest basing yourself near Peninsula where you can rent bikes, pick up the train (the train offers a fun "BIke Aboard" for $2 where they put your bikes on the train and drop you off along the Towpath so you can combine a train ride, with a one way bike trip), and be close enough for some nice hiking. Waterfalls are at Brandywine, and Buttermilk and Blue Hen falls which you can find on the CVNP map. They are opening a new Trail Mix store in Peninsula this weekend which will have park and train information.

If you like beer, the Winking Lizard restaurant in Peninsula is a good option for lunch or dinner.

In addition to the Brandywine B&B, the Conservency for CVNP offers accommodations at the Stanford House conservancyforcvnp.org/space-rental/lodging/…

I haven't stayed there, maybe someone who has can chime in here. It's a great location for exploring the park.

If you are looking for a chain type accommodation, there are hotels at Steels Corners Road and Rt. 8 (which I believe would be the town of Cuyahoga Falls) which may put you in a convenient location. Also near that location is Blossom Music Center, a lovely outdoor amphitheater which is the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra. The orchestra performs on weekends and there are popular music concerts during the week. Across from Blossom is a nice local winery, Sarah's Vineyard which is a very lovely setting.

In the summer there are also concerts on certain days during the week at Howe Meadow, and music at the GAR hall in Peninsula and Happy Days Lodge.

Depending on where you stay and what you want to see, you can get from point to point without much interstate driving, if any at all.

Hope you enjoy your time there!

posts: 248
reviews: 3
6. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

Additional info on Peninsula


posts: 31
reviews: 66
7. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

I think you would like the train. You can take your bike on the train and get at off at differnet stops. There are volunteers on the train and they are very knowledgeable anf helpful. each stop is unique in itself.

New Hampshire
posts: 289
reviews: 80
8. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

Thanks happytrails..and sally...

Great information. I've been going back and forth about stopping but now I'm sure we will. It looks like a great break from our cross country trip and a nice way to see a different part of Ohio.

I looked into the train as you suggested but I think it will only be running on weekends when we are there. Doesn't matter, we'll still enjoy the bike ride and waterfalls.

Thanks again.

posts: 248
reviews: 3
9. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

If you are there in June, I think the train runs Wed-Sun. Definitely check the schedule when you're there for changes.

Canton, OH
posts: 1
reviews: 10
10. Re: Trying to Get a Handle on Cuyahoga Valley NP

You will love CVNP. I would like to suggest that you hike at Virginia Kendall area and Wolff Ledges. Simply beautiful with large rock formations and trees and moss. Wolff Ledges rises to the highest point of Summit County (the highest county in Ohio, thus the name). It is beautiful to look out over the valley.

I'm including a link for a bike place. I haven't used this one personally but I've used Ernie's at Massillon, OH. Ernie's is so laid back that they just write down your name and you bring back bikes when you want.

Hale Farm and Village is very popular for a 1800s style village. Very charming.

The CV Scenic Railroad train has a $2 bike aboard policy. You can bike down the trail and come back by train. Go to CV National Park website or call them to request their maps. They are very good and there are many local roads that access the park without going on I-77 unless you are going as far south as Massillon. Hope you enjoy the area. Lots to do here!


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