Cuyahoga Valley National Park: 10th Most Visited U.S. National Park in 2011

April 23rd, 2012 Permalink

Coming in as the 10th most visited national park in 2011 is Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northern Ohio. It offers adventurers a little bit of everything in the 20,339 acres of woods, water, wildlife and even caves. There are nearly 200 miles of trails within the park for visitors to hike, bike or for horseback riding. The Cuyahoga River, meaning ‘crooked river’ in Mohawk, is fed by more than 190 miles of other waterways to tempt fishermen of all ages. Millions of years ago, water etched out the 105-foot high sandstone Ritchie Ledges and Ice Box Cave, also carving other wonderful rock formations. More than 2 million visitors came to Cuyahoga Valley National Park last year to enjoy the wooded ravines, gentle rolling hills, 170 waterfalls, historic railway, buildings and paths. Welcome to Ohio’s only national park, welcome to Cuyahoga Valley National Park! [40 Photos]

Ledges with spring trees at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Ritchie Ledges, which formed more than 300 million years ago, with spring trees at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Ledges are found within the Virginia Kendall Park unit of Cuyahoga National Park. Photo #1 by © Tom Jones / NPS

Autumn colors in the woods of Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

Autumn colors in the woods and a reststop before Ritchie Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the only national park in Ohio. The diverse landscape offers much to adventurers including sandstone ledges, 70 waterfalls, rolling hills and river gorges which can be viewed from 186 miles of trails. Photo #2 by tde1973


Blue Hen Falls -- Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Blue Hen Waterfall in the Spring. These falls are only about 15 feet high and are located in northeast Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photo #3 by © Tom Jones / NPS

Two tiers of Blue Hen Falls at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The two tiers of Blue Hen Falls. Here the water tumbles gently down the hard rock shelf composed of Berea Sandstone, deposited 360 million years ago, and over a thick layer of softer Bedford shale that forms the walls of the waterfall. Photo #4 by © Jack Rigby / NPS

Beaver Marsh in morning mist -- Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Beaver Marsh in morning mist. The National Park Service (NPS) states, “The Beaver Marsh was created by beavers that moved in along remnants of the Ohio & Erie Canal. The area had been a farm and later a junkyard, which was cleaned up by a community effort. Today the area offers visitors the chance to explore a wetland first-hand and up close by a boardwalk through the marsh.” Photo #5 by © Tom Jones / NPS

Beaver swimming in Beaver Marsh - Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Beaver swimming in Beaver Marsh. Photo #6 by © Steve Paddon/ NPS

Rays of sunlight at Ledges -- Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Rays of sunlight at the Ritchie Ledges, a striking natural feature of Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP). Water carved these outstanding geologic Ledges and millions of visitors have hiked along the base of the towering sandstone rock formations. Photo #7 by © Tom Jones / NPS

Brandywine Falls after a storm in the Cuyahoga Valley

Brandywine Falls after a storm in the Cuyahoga Valley. While CVNP has many waterfalls, Brandywine is the largest with water cascading over the 65-foot falls onto the boulders below. Photo #8 by Blakelewis07

White-tailed deer pauses at water's edge of Beaver Marsh, a part of CVNP

White-tailed deer pauses at the water’s edge of Beaver Marsh. Photo #9 by © Jim Schmidt / NPS

CVNP ghosts in the forest

The photographer called this ‘Ghosts in a Forest.’ 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River, meaning Crooked River in Mohawk, flow through CVNP and are fed by more than 190 miles of permanent and temporary streams. Photo #10 by Sang Trinh

Hikers at Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Haskell Run Trail and the Ledges Trail take hikers along the base of the 105-foot high sandstone Ritchie Ledges to Ice Box Cave. Photo #11 by © Tom Jones / NPS

Hiking the Stairway to the Brandywine Falls at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Hiking the stairway to Brandywine Falls. Photo #12 by Jim Denham

Hemlock Bridge, one of three lovely bridges on the Old Carriage Trail at CVNP

Hemlock Bridge, one of three lovely bridges on the Old Carriage Trail at CVNP. Photo #13 by Joanne

Brandywine Falls walkway at Cuyhoga Valley National Park

Brandywine Falls walkway. Photo #14 by © Jack Rigby / NPS

Brandywine Falls observation area

Brandywine Falls observation area. Photo #15 by © Tom Jones / NPS

Bedrock outcrops, such as this one, can be found throughout Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Bedrock outcrops, such as this, can be found throughout Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Wooded ravines, gentle rural landscapes and waterfalls stretch along the historic Ohio and Erie Canal, following the winding “Crooked River” between Clevand and Akron, Ohio. Photo #16 by Taximes

Ledges overlook at sunset -- CVNP Ohio's only National Park

Ledges overlook at sunset. Photo #17 by © Tom Jones / NPS

Northern water snake on a log at CVNP

Northern water snake on a log at Beavers Marsh. Photo #18 by © Jim Schmidt / NPS

Staircase at the Ledges in Cuyahoga National Park

Staircase at the Ledges in Cuyahoga National Park. Photo #19 by vladeb

Blue Hen Falls Waterfall Panorama

Panorama of Blue Hen Falls. Photo #20 by Matt Shiffler

Carved out rock bedding at the CVNP ledges

Millions of years ago, water carved out the rock bedding to make the Ledges. Photo #21 by © Jack Rigby / NPS

Cuyahoga Ledges: Ice Box Cave

Along the Cuyahoga Ledges, hikers encounter the dark and cool Ice Box Cave. It isn’t a true cave, but instead a deep, narrow slit in the rock. Photo #22 by daveynin

Cuyahoga Valley National Park -- Inside Ice Box Cave

Inside Ice Box Cave. Photo #23 by kh1234567890

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio. Photo #24 by Dan Bergstrom

Racoon family at Beaver Marsh, CVNP

Racoon family at Beaver Marsh. Photo #25 by © Jack Rigby / NPS

Heron among iris at Beaver Marsh, CVNP

Heron among iris at Beaver Marsh. Photo #26 by © Jack Rigby / NPS

Painted turtle at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Painted turtle at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. NPS reports, “Over 900 plant species are found in the park, as well as 194 species of birds, 91 aquatic macroinvertebrates, 43 fish, 32 mammals, 22 amphibians, and 20 species of reptiles.” Photo #27 by © Jim Schmidt / NPS

Old abandoned barn as seen when walking through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Old abandoned barn as seen when walking through the park. Photo #28 by Chris Capell

Caution Climbers, Hazard hikers Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Caution climbing among the Ritchie Ledges is not allowed. Hazard warning to hikers at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photo #29 by Gary Elrod & #30 by Lou Angeli

Hike the trail by Ledges in CVNP

Hike the trail by the Ledges to see amazing rock formations. Photo #30 by kh1234567890

Dragonfly in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Dragonfly in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. According to MapQuest, “Cuyahoga Valley National Park is among the smallest and the newest parks in the system, but don’t let its diminutive size or recently elevated status fool you. Cuyahoga Valley is a testament to local conservation, a living example of the benefits of habitat restoration, and a site of significant cultural history and preservation.” Photo #31 by © Jim Schmidt / NPS

Bald Eagle at Cuyhoga Valley National Park

One of the Bald Eagles at CVNP. According to NPS, “November is the time to be on the lookout for bald eagles performing aerial courtship displays. Once eagles have selected each other, they plunge through the air in very high dives, locking their talons and breaking apart just when it looks as though they will crash to the ground.” Photo #32 by Chris Capell

Steam -- Nickel Plate 765 runs on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic in the morning fog

Steam — Nickel Plate 765 runs on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic in the morning fog. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) “is one of the oldest, longest and most scenic tourist excursion railways in the country.” Photo #33 by Brian Smith

Riding through CVNP -- Passengers Ride in the Dome Car

All aboard! Passengers riding through CVNP in the Dome Car. Photo #34 by © Greg Kruszka / NPS

Blue ice was located just above Buttermilk Falls as seen when hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

This blue ice was located just above Buttermilk Falls as seen during a cold hike in the park. Photo #35 by 1blessedmom Photography

Covered bridge in snow at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Covered bridge and snow at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photo #36 by © Ed Toerek / NPS

Hikers, bikers and horse back riders on Towpath Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park trails through the Ohio woods

Hikers, bikers and horseback riders on Towpath Trail. Wikipedia states, “The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Before the canal was built, Ohio was a sparsely settled wilderness where travel was difficult and getting crops to market was nearly impossible. The canal, built between 1825 and 1832, provided a successful transportation route from Cleveland, on Lake Erie, to Portsmouth, on the Ohio River. The canal opened up Ohio to the rest of the settled eastern United States.” Photo #37 by daveynin

Brandywine Waterfall in summer

Brandywine Waterfall in summer. Photo #38 by © Tom Jones / NPS

Ritchie Ledges, Trails to the cave at CVNP

Ritchie Ledges, Trails to the cave at CVNP. Photo #39 by tde1973

Great Blue Heron, Beaver Marsh, CVNP

Great Blue Heron, Beaver Marsh, CVNP. Photo #40 by © Jim Schmidt / NPS


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