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Trip 2: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

While visiting family near Cleveland, Ohio, we took a day out to explore the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which stretches between Cleveland and Akron. While there are many areas to explore in the park, we focused on five different areas for hikes.

Our morning started at Beaver Marsh, where we hoped to see early morning wildlife activity. The marsh runs along the towpath trail for the Ohio & Erie Canal. The marsh area was formerly the site of an auto parts salvage yard that was cleaned up and restored to natural vegetation. While we saw heron, ducks, and other birds, we unfortunately did not see any beavers or otters. A boardwalk allows hiking over the marsh and there are deck areas where you can stop to look out over the marsh for wildlife.

We also stopped at the nearby Everett Covered Bridge Trailhead, which includes a reconstructed covered bridge from the 1800s. It's the last remaining covered bridge in Summit County, reflecting a time when Ohio led the nation with over 2,000 covered bridges. The hike to the bridge is short, but there are several trails that lead off from the area for those interested.

We then headed to the Boston Mill Visitor Center for about a five-mile roundtrip hike to Brandywine Falls.

The trail starts along the tow path, then crosses fields near the historic Stanford House, and then winds through the forest to the falls area. While it is possible to park close to the falls and do a short loop, we really enjoyed the longer hike and found it to be very peaceful. The falls were spectacular (especially after a few days of rain!) and well worth the hike. The Boston Mill Visitor Center is also one of the stops for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, for those interested in taking the train through the entire length or just part of the park.

Our next stop was at the Ledges Trail, about a two-mile loop around a plateau of interesting rock formations. The trail was very popular and there were many families with children walking the trail when we were there. The trail starts at the top of the formations and then winds down below them, so you see the formations from all angles. The formations were very interesting and there was also a nice overlook area of the Cuyahoga Valley.

Our final hike of the day was around nearby Kendall Lake, where the trail looped about 1 1/2 miles around a small lake with some of the trail deeper into the woods. It was a nice way to wrap up a day of hiking before heading to the Pub part of our trip.

For brew pubs in the areas, we traveled to the nearby city of Cuyahoga Falls, where there were several brew pubs to choose from. We sampled beers at HiHo Brewery, Ohio Brewing Company, and Missing Mountain Brewing Co. All had positive attributes, but Missing Mountain had incredible views of the Cuyahoga, with several outdoor patios directly overlooking the water. Perfect way to end a great day of hiking in the park! There are still several areas we'd like to explore in the park and plenty of other activities, so we are looking forward to spending more time there in the future.

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Oct 10, 2021

Love the picture of the falls! Ohio! Who knew?

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