Interesting Facts About Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) is the perfect place for those looking for a cool place to relax and engage in outdoor and recreational activities.

The park is located in the backyard of Cleveland and Akron, Northeast Ohio.

Visitors can enjoy a combination of cultural, historical, and natural resources at the park.

Here are some important CVNP facts that you should consider before visiting the park for fishing, hiking, sightseeing, and other recreational activities. 

“Cuyahoga” Is Derived From Native Language

“Cuyahoga” is a Mohawk (a Native American tribe) word that means “crooked river.”

Although about 85 miles of the river runs through the park, the distance may look smaller due to how it meanders.

Fishing is allowed in the river, and various pods are available, but tourists are encouraged to catch and release.

That is because it helps maintain the fish population and because the low-quality water could contaminate them in the area. 

Cuyahoga Valley Became a National Park in 2000

Cuyahoga Valley has been a recreation attraction site since the 1870s.

However, it was not until 1910 when the development of the facility as a park began with the establishment of the park district.

In 1974, the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area was established. It was then made a national park in 2000.

The Park Has a History of Human Settlement

People have occupied CVNP for over 12,000 years, but this information is available only through unwritten stories.

The park has remnants of the old Ohio and Erie Canal.

Tourists can visit historical structures and learn more about the Indians who lived in the valley.

No Entrance Fee

Admission to CVNP is free. Perhaps this is one of the reasons it receives so many visitors. In 2020, it welcomed about 2.7 million tourists. Given that 15 cities surround the park, this could also be the reason for the high number of visitors. In addition, there are some special events visitors can pay to attend. 

The Park is Diverse

CVNP has over 900 plant species.

Different areas of the park have different forests dominated by different types of trees.

Some of the common trees include spruce, beech, oaks, and hickory.

In addition to forests, there are also wetlands, ravines, and floodplains in the park. 

CVNP is home to at least 20 reptile species such as snakes and turtles.

In addition, over 200 bird species and 43 fish species live in this park.

There are also animals such as opossums, red foxes, raccoons, and more.

The availability of these species makes the park perfect for sightseeing. 

You Can Get Around Cuyahoga Valley on a Train

Tourists can enjoy scenic train rides when they visit CVNP.

Given that the park covers an expansive area of around 33,000 acres, it can be difficult for tourists to explore it on foot.

The train takes them through the park along the Towpath Trail.

In the early years, mules were used to tow boats along the old Ohio & Erie Canal. 

Visit Canal Exploration Center

Canal Exploration Center is one of the many features that show that humans have been occupying CVNP for years.

For over 150 years, the building has acted as a tavern, an apartment, a boarding house, and more.

The high traffic on the canal in the 19th century encouraged Moses Gleeson to buy the building in 1837.

The structure has maintained its current size and shape since the last expansion in 1852.

Visit Boston Store

The Boston Store is another building that you will see when you visit the park.

It is a visitor center.

The Kelly brothers built the structure in 1836 to store things when the canal was a major trade route.

The second floor had rooms for workers.

The building has been used as a post office and a residence. 

Brandywine falls
Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore Brandywine Falls

Your CVNP tour is not complete without visiting the 65-foot high Brandywine Falls.

It is a great photo spot.

One of the main features of this structure is that it enables visitors to explore the geological features of waterfalls.

You can see various layers, such as the hard rock, Bedford and Cleveland shales, and more.

Therefore, if you have an interest in geology, you shouldn’t hesitate to explore the falls. 

No Drive-to Campsites

Although CVNP is an awesome camping site, it lacks drive-to campsites.

However, for hikers and cyclists wishing to spend some time in the park, they can pitch tents and stay overnight.

The park has more than 200 kilometers of hiking trails.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a starter or an expert hiker, as there are easy and tough trails.

Some of the trails include the Buckeye Trail and the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

See Ritchie Ledges

Ritchie Ledges has been a tourist attraction site at CVNP since the 19th century.

In the early years, it was a popular place for recreation and play.

The structure was created from the Sharom Conglomerate millions of years ago.

You will know how destructive humans have been when you look at this structure.

Nevertheless, Ritchie Ledges has withstood all these challenges. 

CVNP is a great place to visit for those planning to take a break from the busy city life. 

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