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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Cuyahoga Valley National Park

This article was last updated on September 25, 2023

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is just a few short miles away from Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, and it features vast farmlands and trails for walking and biking. With a variety of native plants and stunning waterfalls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park was named the second-best national park in the United States earlier this year. Here are five things you didn’t know about Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

5. It’s Home to Ohio’s Biggest Waterfall

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Image by Kat Clay

Brandywine Falls measures 65 feet tall and is the tallest waterfall in the state of Ohio. It was discovered in 1812 and has been an important part of Ohio’s history since then. To get to Brandywine Falls, you can hike the moderate, 1.75-mile trail that takes about 90 minutes to complete or stop in the parking area to walk to the overlook. When you get to the end of the trail, there is an overlook that allows visitors to take in the stunning view and snap a few photos before making the trek back to the car. 

4. Cuyahoga means “Crooked River” 

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Image by Anna Gorin

The name of the national park derives from the Iroquois language and means “crooked river” or “place of the jawbone.” There is a history of over 500 generations of indigenous people living along the Cuyahoga River, including the first nomadic Paleo-Indians over 13,000 years ago.

3. There’s A 143-Year-Old Non-Profit Railroad

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Image by Laser1987

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) began service in 1880 from Clevland to Canton, Ohio. It is now dedicated to preserving and renovating historic railcars for future generations. In 1989, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park created a relationship that is mutually beneficial. The CVSR is the only non-profit heritage railroad currently operating in a National Park and has been since 1972. 

2. It’s A Free National Park

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Image by Yuanshuai Si

Cuyahoga National Park is free for visitors, though there are some events that may require paying an entry fee. Cuyahoga National Park is one of 16 free national parks in the United States. Even though the park is free, you can make a donation to the park to show your support.

1. It’s Made of Metro Parks

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Image by Larry Knupp

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a number of Metro Parks within its boundaries, leading to the land being protected by multiple groups. The national park is made up of 33,000 acres of protected land. There are also sections of the Ohio and Erie Canals that you can visit while exploring this national park.

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  1. I’m sorry but the fact about CVSR is simply not true. CVSR started in the 1970s. The railroad was 2 freight railroads (Originally Valley Railroad and later the B&O) before that that were for profit. Thank you!

  2. Edd Henderson

    The first fact in this article is completely wrong. Brandywine Falls has is own parking lot located only a couple of minutes away from the falls. You do not need to hike a lengthy trail to see them and there is wheelchair access to the top of the falls.

  3. This author obviously has not been to Cuyahoga Valley. In addition to the other mentioned errors this park has never been the second-most popular park in the NPS system nor will it ever be out of the 64 national parks.

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