5 Stunning Hikes You Need To Take in Cuyahoga Valley

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Ohio. The park includes breathtaking waterfalls, historic mansions, and stunning views that you can see on foot or by boat.

Since 2000, Cuyahoga is still the only national park in the state of Ohio. Originally designed and named a National Recreation Area, the park is unique in many ways but one of the largest that stands out is that the park is situated right between 2 large urban populated cities in Cleveland and Akron.

Cuyahoga Valley offers more than 33 miles of hiking trails for all skill levels. We know how much fun it is to strap on those hiking shoes and start exploring the park on day 1 but you need to maximize your time during your visit so we wanted to help out by giving you our favorite hikes from Cuyahoga Valley's beautiful hiking trails.

In no particular order, here are 5 Cuyahoga Valley hikes you need to take!

Brandywine Gorge Trail

Total Distance: 1.4 miles 

Elevation Gain: 164 feet 

Difficulty: Moderate - Walking, Hiking, Running

Route Type: Loop 

Other Info: 

  • Please don't climb or attempt to get closer to the waterfall, serious injury can happen

Brandywine Gorge Trail hike is perfect for beginners. This short loop has a few spots where you can view the Cuyahoga River but the highlight is definitely Brandywine Falls. If you plan on hiking this trail in spring, be prepared to get wet since it's not only home to Cuyahoga Falls but Brandywine Creek too.

This hike is a great option if you want to see a waterfall without having to do a lot of hiking. The trailhead is easily accessible from I-271 and it's only about 15 minutes away from Akron.

Blue Hen Falls Trail

Total Distance: 2.9 miles 

Elevation Gain: 580 feet 

Difficulty: Moderate -  Hiking

Route Type: Out-and-back

Other Info: 

  • Dog-friendly trail, but must be kept on a leash
  • Please don't climb or attempt to get closer to the waterfall, serious injury can happen

A consistent theme of the trails in Cuyahoga is waterfalls and the Blue Hen trail continues that trend. With a gorgeous look at Blue Hen Falls,  this hike is a great option if you're looking for something more challenging than the Brandywine Gorge Trail.

A typical hiking trail with a dirt path, try and spot the sections where nature has taken back control from the old asphalt path that was once constructed here. Be careful in the rainy seasons as this trail can become muddy. Blue Hen is a great option for a family outing or if you're looking to bring your furry friend along.

Plateau Trail 

Total Distance: 4.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 318 feet 

Difficulty: Easy - Hiking, Running, Cross Country Ski

Route Type: Loop 

Other Info:

  • Dog-friendly trail, but must be kept on a leash

Stepping away from the waterfalls, Plateau Trail is the perfect hike for beginners or those looking for a simple walk. With very little hilly terrain, the Plateau leads you through lush forests with creeks and ravines.

This hike is also perfect for Autumn when the leaves start to turn colors. Be sure to bring your camera along!

Ledges Trail 

Distance:  2.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 209 feet

Difficulty: Moderate - Hiking

Route Type: Out-and-back

Other Info:

  • Rocks can be slippery when wet so be careful if you are climbing them
  • Dog-friendly trail, but must be kept on a leash

If you're looking for a more scenic hike, look no further than Ledges Trail. With stunning views of rock formations, you get a great sense of the biology that the park offers.

Get ready to explore an amazing cave or "ledges" during your adventure. The path in the cave and the rocks are slippery when wet so please watch your footing, especially if you plan on climbing the rocks for a better view. Ledges are great for avid hikers and offer something different from the other trails in Cuyahoga Valley.

Stanford House to Brandywine Falls Trail

Distance:  3.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 554

Difficulty: Moderate -  Walking, Hiking

Other Info:

  • Dog-friendly trail, but must be kept on a leash
  • Can get very muddy after rain

The final hike on this list is a trek from Stanford House to Brandywine Falls. This trail takes you past the Cuyahoga River and several smaller waterfalls, making it a perfect option if you're looking for an extended hike. Cuyahoga River is never far from sight, making this hike one of the best in Cuyahoga!

With the perfect balance between hilly and flat, Stanford House to Brandywine Falls is great for all levels of hikers. This hike can become very muddy after rain so be prepared with the proper footwear!

Please enjoy these stunning hikes during your time in Cuyahoga Valley National Park! Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife and waterfalls along the way. As always, please remember to pack out what you pack in and to keep your furry friend on a leash. Happy hiking!