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This important national park is not just preserving rural landscapes on the fringes of Cleveland and Akron – it’s helping to reclaim them. Cuyahoga Valley National Park protects 51 square miles of native forest and rolling countryside. Come early in the morning or late in the afternoon for your best chance to see coyotes, red foxes, peregrine falcons, river otters, and white-tailed deer.
Lace up your shoes to hike the 20-mile Towpath Trail, or bring your bike to see it at a faster pace. The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio and Erie Canal, which was built in the 1820s and 1830s to transport goods from Cleveland to Portsmouth.
Hidden in the park are waterfalls, steep ravines, and lush farmland. Head to The Ledges to watch the sun set or bring your cross-country skis to glide the rolling trails when the snow falls. To learn about the area’s history, head to the Stanford House, a historic home built in the 1830s and recently renovated. Seasonally, you can hop on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad – it’s a must-do attraction in the fall when the leaves are changing.