I’ve been to a lot of national parks (well, not that many, but for having started this journey less than two years ago it’s a lot!), but Cuyahoga Valley National Park was the first one I visited that was in the middle of civilization. It was a very new experience for me, and it was not one of my favorites.
Cuyahoga Valley sits right outside of Cleveland, Ohio and is very different from what you’d typically think of for a national park. It has some beautiful natural features, like Brandywine Falls, but it also has so much in it that was not natural. People still live in the park, and Interstate 271 cuts right through it.
We got out of the car to hike to Blue Hen Falls, and the highway was right beside the parking area. You could hear the traffic noise along the entire hike, which was just so odd to me. My experience with the parks so far has been the peace and quiet of hard-to-get-to areas.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t like Cuyahoga Valley. Its natural features are very beautiful, and I think it’s great that the people living in the area cared enough about the river and land to get it protected. I’m happy whenever there are natural features protected. I would like to return to this park in the future and see it when it’s nice and green. It was beautiful in the fall–the leaves had just started to turn, and it was a little bit windy. Every now and then a gust would blow through the trees and these amazing yellow leaves would come down like rain. I stood there for a few minutes just watching and soaking in how peaceful that looked.
Cuyahoga Valley is not my favorite park, but I’m glad I was able to go. The trip was short, but we enjoyed it!