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  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Road Trip from PHL cuyahoga-valley-national-park Full view

    Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Road Trip from PHL

    Despite lots of state and local parks and beautiful land in PA, there’s a large gap of national parks between Maine and Virginia.

    What makes a National Park?

    National Parks must be established by Congress, are protected areas and operated by the National Park Service under the US Dept of the Interior. There are 59 National Parks in the US currently. President Ulysses S. Grant designated the first US National Park as Yellowstone in 1872.

    From Philly, Shenandoah National Park is the closest park to the South (Virginia) or you can hit Acadia if you head north to Maine. If you venture west, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the closest of the 59. As the only national park in Ohio (and one of 7 in the midwest), it was designated as a national park in the year 2000. Located about one-half hour from Cleveland, this is an easy drive if you’re stopping in Believeland.

    I ventured here over the weekend, admiring the famous waterfalls and rock formations.

    The 2nd highest waterfall in Ohio is the 65-foot Brandywine Falls, located directly in the park.

    Brandywine Falls Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ohio

    Need to bring your canine along? Cuyahoga Valley has many dog-friendly trails.

    If your dog needs to cool off, a few streams they can swim in. (Just don’t let them frolick in the waterfalls – they’re forbidden from human and canine activity due to hazards.

    dog swimming in Cuyahoga National Park

    The Ledges Trail

    Another wonder of Cuyahoga Valley are the rock formations known as ledges.

    Ritchie Ledges Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    Due to Cleveland businessman Hayward Kendall donating 430 acres (170 ha) in 1929, the area surrounding the Richie Ledges was donated in a trust fund to the state of Ohio and now a part of the national park. Ritchie Ledges

    The towering sandstone Ritchie Ledges benefit form a microenvironment near the over 300-million-year-old rock formations. Areas on the trail drop in temperature, especially close to the (currently closed) Ice Cave.

    The park designers try to maintain the character of the landscape, as shown in these stair designs.

    Ritchie ledges stair cuyahoga national park

    If you Go

    Interested in making the trek to Cuyahoga National Park?

    Distance: 410 miles

    Driving time: 6 hours 12 minutes from Philadelphia

    Cost: Free

    Closest city: Cleveland, Ohio

    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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