Activities & Resources
Cuyahoga Valley National Park & Towpath Trail050in Cleveland, OH 44125
about Cuyahoga Valley National Park & Towpath Trail:
The Towpath Trail, where work animals once trod towing canal boats, is now traveled by more than a million pairs of (human) feet each year. The Towpath stretches from the industrial heart of downtown Cleveland through the valley and into downtown Akron, and is one of the primary reasons CVNP is one of the nation's most visited national parks.
Visitors can stroll or roll along the Towpath - its wide, flat surface of packed, finely crushed limestone is conducive to strollers, bike tires, and even wobbly ankles.
Note: Roller blades are not allowed on the Towpath, or anywhere in CVNP, and the trail is heavily traveled on weekend afternoons. Because of that, it's wise to choose a morning for a family bike ride, or select a hiking trail off the path during peak hours.
Popular hiking spots include short-but-steep Blue Hen Falls, Plateau Trail, Octagon and Virginia-Kendall Ledges, and several hundred others.
Visitors can canoe inside the park, too. Indigo Lake's bowl-like indentation provides one of the most tranquil settings in the park for paddling, or just for contemplation and quiet...until a train rolls by!
Hop Aboard: The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers guided nature excursions, wine-tasting tours, and the extremely popular winter holiday Polar Express rides.
Other options include birdwatching, picnicking, and cross-country skiing (or go downhill at Boston Mills/Brandywine). Feeling less energetic? Take in a concert, poetry reading, or lecture series, or check out the current art exhibit on display at MD Garage.
National Park Rangers lead a wide variety of programs for all ages throughout the year, including summer day camp programs. Look for ranger programs programs for children ages four to 12.
While programs generally are listed on the park's calendar, the popular programs fill quickly, so to avoid disappointing your Junior Ranger, we recommend registering as early as possible.
Also, the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center now offers overnight camp options inside CVNP, including the family-oriented Winter Chillin' series and other weekend retreats. For more information, call 330.657.2796 or visit the CVEEC's website.
Coming from Cleveland, visitors usually stop at the Canal Visitors' Center, open daily 10am-4pm. It's an ideal stop for maps and other information about the park. Permanent exhibits illustrate 12,000 years of history in the valley, including the history of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Canal lock demonstrations are conducted on summer weekends by National Park Service staff and costumed volunteers. A 20-minute slide show about the park and three 30-minute videos about the Ohio & Erie Canal are shown on request.
Further south, the Happy Days Visitor Center is open year round, although the schedule varies seasonally. Happy Days hosts concerts, lectures, plays, and ranger-led special events.
Several popular trails are just a few steps from Happy Days' doors, including short-but-steep Haskell Run Trail, dotted with numbered signs. Ask for the self-guided trail guide brochure at the desk, which identifies those numbers as representing plants, animals, and ecological events along the trail.
Happy Days' phone is 330.650.4636.
The Winter Sports Center at Kendall Lake (phone 216.524.1497 for seasonal information) is located on Truxell Road, one mile east of Akron-Peninsula Road. Cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals are available on first come, first served basis, including children's cross-country skis. Cross-country ski rental is $15 per day ($7.50 for three hours) when snow depth has reached at least six inches. When snow depth reaches two inches, snowshoe rental is available ($5). A valid driver's license or credit card is required as a deposit.
Sledding is available at Kendall Hills on Quick Road, about one mile east of Akron-Peninsula Road.
Volunteer opportunities abound in the park, and many opportunities are available for young teens. The Junior Rangers program enlists school-age volunteers to help with a variety of events throughout the year. For information about volunteering, call 330.657.1914 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The official CNVP website also has park information, but the site listed above generally includes more details on current activities and events.