Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley is a center for hiking, biking and kayaking

PENINSULA, Ohio — This little river town is a lively place. Passengers prepare to board the train. Hikers check their maps before hitting the trail. Bikers fill their water bottles.

Peninsula is right in the middle of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a destination for all seasons and all types of fun experiences. Whether visiting by train, bicycle, car or canoe, or on foot, the scenery invites exploration.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park stretches across 33,000 acres between Cleveland and Akron. Set in gently rolling hills, the national park wraps around the Cuyahoga River and blends seamlessly with farmland, forests, wildflower meadows and small towns. Paddlers in canoes and kayaks enjoy the river’s easy current, and anglers cast for largemouth bass. Day trippers visit farm markets, cafes and shops in the villages sprinkled in the region. This time of year, corn mazes and pumpkin patches are plentiful.

At Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a visitor to Brandywine Falls captures the scene from the boardwalk.

The Cuyahoga River defines the region, as it did during the days of the Ohio & Erie Canal when Ohio was thinly settled. The canal, built between 1825 and 1832, provided transportation from Cleveland on Lake Erie to Portsmouth on the Ohio River.

Barges pulled by mules treading the towpath conveyed farm produce to eastern markets and returned with manufactured wares. The canal fell out of use in the 1880s after the construction of the Valley Railway that transported farm goods to markets faster and at lower cost.

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