If you’re looking for an exciting adventure this winter, head over to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Located in northeast Ohio, this park offers beautiful scenery while preserving the rural landscape of the area. As Cuyahoga Valley National Park has less frigid temperatures during this time of year, it’s the perfect place for a winter road trip in your campervan!
About Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park covers over 32,000 acres between the cities of Akron and Cleveland. Here you’ll find stunning waterfalls, vibrant forests, unique rock formations, and much more. The park also features magnificent canyons carved by the Cuyahoga River. While winter temperatures in the area float around the 30s and 40s, you can still have a great time!
Where to Stop Along the Way
As you begin your road trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, you should plan to make a few stops along the way. Luckily, there are tons of awesome outdoor destinations to explore!
Check out our favorite stopping points below:
On a northern drive, consider a few stops in West Virginia. One amazing option is New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, offering top-notch hiking trails, breathtaking scenic drives, white water rafting, and more! You could also fly down the ski slopes at Snowshoe Mountain Resort or soak in the beauty at Blackwater Falls State Park. If the drive takes you through the state of Georgia, consider stopping at Rock City Gardens, Savannah Historic District, or Stone Mountain Park.
A few other incredible places to stop are located in Pennsylvania. If you have the time, try to stop at Presque Isle State Park. Located on the shores of Lake Erie, this 3,112-acre park features sandy beaches, numerous hiking trails, and a marina. If the trip takes you through Connecticut, go hiking at Bluff Point State Park or hit the slopes at Mohawk Mountain Ski Area.
Starting your trip in Michigan or somewhere in Canada? If so, adventure is out there! Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a favorite in the area, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Here you can witness water-carved rock formations, stunning waterfalls, and unique landscapes. If your adventure takes you through Toronto, Canada, try to visit Scarborough Bluffs Park, Woodbine Beach, or Niagara Falls!
When you’re headed east, consider stopping in the great state of Indiana. Indiana Dunes National Park is one destination you should check out, featuring exceptional beaches and excellent campgrounds. Another cool stop is at Marengo Cave U.S. National Landmark, which provides the opportunity to go cave exploring! If you pass through Iowa, you can’t miss Pikes Peak State Park or Dunning’s Spring Park.
Outdoor Activities in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Once you arrive in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, it’s time to start your adventure! Here are some outdoor activities and attractions you may enjoy:
If you’re looking for a winter hiking excursion, Cuyahoga Valley National Park has you covered! In fact, over 125 miles of trails are open year-round. The Ledges Trail is among the most beautiful, featuring icicles that cling to the rocky cliffs. However, as the area experiences snow and ice, it’s important to stay safe while hiking. You should never climb rocky ledges and always yield to skiers when walking through snow. If you’re looking for another scenic hike, check out Brandywine Gorge Loop or Blue Hen Falls.
If there’s snow on the ground, it’s the perfect time to go snowshoeing! Luckily, when it snows, Cuyahoga Valley National Park comes alive in winter beauty! If you forgot your own snowshoes, they’re available for rent at the Boston Mill Visitor Center, or you can grab some in town. However, these rentals are only available when snow levels are four inches or deeper. If you choose to venture on a trail that also allows cross-country skiing, always yield to skiers and try to avoid their tracks.
Looking for a peaceful activity? If so, go birding! The park sees more than 200 types of birds every single year. Also, the National Audubon Society considers Cuyahoga Valley National Park an Important Bird Area (IBA). All you need for this activity is a good pair of binoculars and a field guide! Also, if you’d rather not hike around, you can still go birding from your car! American tree sparrows, pine siskins, ducks, and raptors are all common this time of year in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
With the Cuyahoga River flowing through the center of the park, you’ll also have the opportunity to go paddling! However, you must bring your own equipment as rentals aren’t available. Also, there are some dangerous sections along the river, so make sure to review all safety hazards before heading out. As the National Park Service doesn’t maintain the river for recreational use, you are responsible for your own safety. To access the river, you have many options. A few popular access points are found at the Lock 29 Trailhead and the Boston Store Trailhead.
Skiing & Snowboarding
As snow falls around Ohio, you’ll find several skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the area. In fact, there are nearly a dozen cross-country skiing trails within Cuyahoga Valley National Park! We recommend checking out Oak Hill Trail, Boston Run Trail, or Tree Farm Trail. If you would rather fly down the slopes at a resort, you’re in luck! Brandywine Ski Resort and Boston Mills Ski Resort are located right down the road!
Unfortunately, camping within Cuyahoga Valley National Park is prohibited. However, you’ll find several awesome campgrounds just a short drive away! These campgrounds and RV parks offer full hookups, spacious parking spaces, and great accommodations.
Take a look at a few of these options below:
- Punderson State Park Campground
- Woodside Lake Park
- Stow Silver Springs Campground
- Hidden Valley Campground
Book your reservation today before slots fill up!
If this is your first time in the area, you may not know what to expect. Take a look at the following travel tips to get you prepared:
- As the area can get busy, book reservations way in advance
- To avoid the crowds, visit the park during the winter and on weekdays
- Make sure to bring a water bottle on your adventures, no matter the outdoor temperature
- Stop by the Boston Mill Visitor Center to learn more about the park
Follow the tips above to make the most of your trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park!
Below you’ll find more information on the area’s top attractions and accommodations:
- Brandywine Gorge Loop: 8176 Brandywine Road, Sagamore Hills, Ohio 44067
- Blue Hen Falls: 1508 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula, Ohio 44264
- Ledges Trail: 405 Truxell Road, Peninsula, Ohio 44264
- Punderson State Park Campground: 11755 Kinsman Rd, Newbury Township, OH 44065
- Woodside Lake Park Campground: 2486 Frost Rd, Streetsboro, OH 44241
- Stow Silver Springs Campground: 5238 Young Rd, Stow, OH 44224
- Hidden Valley Campground: 7515 Doak Dr, Ravenna, OH 44266
Here are some less busy, off-the-beaten-path locations in Cuyahoga Valley National Park:
- Salt Run Trail
- Terra Vista Study Area
- Oak Hill and Plateau Trails
- Perkins Trail
- Wetmore Trail
These areas are sure to provide the peace and quiet you need!
Hit the Road Today!
Before you begin your epic road trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, you’ll need to find the perfect campervan. Whether you’re looking for a brand new model or something pre-owned, RecVan has you covered! We carry a full line of exceptional adventure vans.
Check out our inventory today, or call us with any questions!