There are 60 National Parks throughout the United States. All parks have a unique story on how they became part of the National Park Service and Cuyahoga Valley in Northeast Ohio is no different. Cuyahoga means “crooked” to the Indians. The Cuyahoga River runs through the park. Throughout the park there are many examples of the early inhabitants. Some of the homes that are still remaining have a New England style design. In order to preserve the land the National Park Service designated the land as a recreation area in 1974. In 2000, the park was given the designation of a National Park.
This is our 8th National Park visit. In northwest Ohio, the weather recently has been overcast and rainy. However, this visit to the park was a spectacular and a great way to see the Fall colors. We were able to enjoy a few of the highlights that the park has to offer. Our first stop was the Visitor’s Center to get the details about where to go and what to see. They recommend to see the Ledges, Brandywine Falls and the Everett Covered Bridge. All these places were full of visitors taking pictures and enjoying the wonderful weather. These locations also had a lot of photographers taking pictures for the upcoming Christmas Season.
To visit the Ledges Overlook there is a small hike to get there. Once you get to the overlook you are greeted with a view of the valley that features the fall colors and a quiet serene moment to take in the fresh area. The hike to the overlook is less than a 1/2 mile long. It is well worth the stop and journey.
In the early 1800’s the falls were used as a source of power. The falls beauty is one of the main attractions to visit. A short walk down the boardwalk to can get a breathtaking view. There is two angles that you can view. A set of steep stairs take you to a bottom of the falls and another boardwalk will take you to the top of the falls. These falls 65-foot in height are a bridal veil classification and offers a view with the changing of the leaves.
The bridge was built as part of a transportation effort to get goods from the valley to the city. Traffic by horse and carriage, foot and with the invention of the car, goods were easily transported over the canal. The bridge closed in recent years to car traffic. Still open to foot traffic and to enjoy the canal below. Fun Fact about this bridge according to the National Park Foundation, this is one of the top 10 places on public land to take pictures. From the parking lot to the bridge it was a very short walk and worth the stop. Lots of people here taking fall family pictures. Reminds me of a puzzle picture.
Overall, we spent the afternoon here at the park. There is a railroad going through the park with rides available, tickets can be purchased on-line. There are a few places to eat, there are many hiking trails, kayaks in the water, and many bikers using the paved paths throughout the park. Parking lots seem to be small. Stop by the visitors center to get advisement’s on where to go and parking. The nps.gov website will also give alerts for traffic patterns.
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