9 Cuyahoga Valley National Park Waterfalls: An Insider’s Guide

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located in northeast Ohio, is one of the newer National Parks, officially established in 2000. Despite its fairly young age, the park is still home to plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities including hiking, biking, kayaking, and fishing.

The spots we return to again and again, though, are the Cuyahoga Valley National Park waterfalls! They make great destinations for some of those hiking and biking adventures.

The best part about exploring these waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park is you can see them during every season, and they look different every time. We’ve been lucky enough to explore them in every season, and we’re going to share our favorite recommendations with you!

A Word of Caution: There are suggestions out there on the internet for other waterfalls to be found in the area, but some are off-trail. Some are actually located on private property. We definitely wouldn’t recommend trying to reach those spots.

When you’re out enjoying these areas, please be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles!

1. Brandywine Falls

Autumn scenery at Cuyahoga Valley National Park with a view of the cascading Brandywine Falls amidst colorful foliage, and a wooden stairway leading down to the viewing area.

The biggest and most popular Cuyahoga Valley National Park waterfall is Brandywine Falls.

Surrounded by viewing platforms and plenty of trails, this 65-foot-tall waterfall can get very crowded on the weekends, especially during the middle of the day. Plan your times accordingly and visit early or late in the day.

There are plenty of ways to get to Brandywine Falls. A fairly large parking lot provides easy access to a wooden and paved pathway, where you can walk just a few hundred yards to see the falls.

You can even see Brandywine Falls in winter without too much trouble. You’ll likely only be able to see it from the top platforms as they do close the stairs to the lower platforms when it gets icy.

The Brandywine Gorge Trail and the Metro Parks Bike and Hike Trail provide access from central areas like the Boston Mills Visitors Center, though this does require some hiking.

If you only have a very short time in Cuyahoga, Brandywine Falls is worth the visit, even if only for 15 minutes. This is one of the spots that make Cuyahoga Valley National Park so worth visiting.

Majestic Brandywine Falls at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, showing the powerful waterfall cascading over rocky ledges surrounded by autumn-tinted vegetation, a popular attraction for visitors interested in the park's waterfalls.
Our favorite view of Brandywine Falls in autumn after a significant rainstorm

2. Shredder Falls

This one is also fairly easy to access, not far from Brandywine Falls.

You’ll follow the Brandywine Gorge Trail to the bridge that crosses over Brandywine Creek. Near the bridge, before the trail heads back up the hill, you’ll see a fairly wide trail. This trail will take you to the base of Shredder Falls.

This one is longer with multiple drops. It’s not a big, dramatic single-drop waterfall.

3. Blue Hen Falls

While not the largest or most popular waterfall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this 18-foot-tall waterfall tucked amongst the trees has its own particular charm.

Though only fed by a small stream, the area surrounding the Blue Hen Falls can be quite peaceful.

The previously used parking lot very close to the falls was restricted a few years ago, so a visit now requires a hike from the Boston Mill Visitors Center. Park at Boston Mill and head across Riverview Road along the Buckeye Trail.

The hike follows a short portion of the Buckeye Trail up and over the ridge. This 3-mile hike does feature some elevation change to keep things interesting but isn’t overly difficult.

Blue Hen Falls nestled within the autumn forest of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, with a gentle cascade over slate rocks into a serene pool, surrounded by colorful fall foliage.

4. Buttermilk Falls

This one doesn’t have an officially established trail to reach, so it isn’t high on our list of things to do in Cuyahoga. Do so at your own risk. This isn’t an officially named cascade.

The falls are located between Blue Hen Falls and the Boston Mills Ski area.

Buttermilk Falls is only about 20 feet tall, and falls over many layers of shale, causing the water to appear milky white.

Waterfalls Near Cuyahoga Valley National Park Bonus #1: Bedford Reservation

Though these next few are not actually located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, they can be found in the adjacent Bedford Reservation, which is a park maintained by the county.

Just a quick drive from the edge of the National Park, Bedford Reservation is home to even more natural areas and waterfalls. Don’t be afraid to venture out and visit while you’re here!

5. Bridal Veil Falls

The wooden boardwalk and staircase leading to Bridal Veil Falls among autumn foliage makes this very easily accessible Cuyahoga Valley National Park waterfall.

Another of the more popular waterfalls in the area is Bridal Veil Falls. A small parking area on the main road through the park can be used as a starting point. Just a short walk, mostly on a boardwalk pathway, leads down the hillside to the falls.

While walking down the wooden plank walkway, you get to catch views of Deerlick Creek below.

At the end of the walkway, you will find Bridal Veil Falls cascading 45 feet down through the gorge. Unlike your typical waterfall, it’s more of a long, gentle drop, but just as beautiful!

This hike is less than half a mile roundtrip, so it would be a great place to explore with kids who are just beginning to learn about hiking.

A secluded stream gently flows over a rocky bed forming Bridal Veil Falls, nestled in the autumn woodland of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

6. Linda Falls (aka Alexander Falls)

Another of the lesser-known area waterfalls, Linda Falls is beautiful but temperamental. Consider yourself lucky if you catch this one flowing full throttle.

Located in the Walton Hills area, it’s said to only be flowing for about one month in total per year. When there is no water flowing, the area almost looks like a cavern.

The actual entrance to this trail is located in the Summit Metroparks’ Bedford Reservation near the Alexander Road trailhead of the Summit Bike & Hike Trail.

This waterfall can be found fairly easily by hiking the Buckeye Trail from the bike path. There is a small sign pointing you in the right direction. The hike to the falls is about 0.75 miles.

We wouldn’t recommend bothering to seek this one out unless Mother Nature decides to let it rain!

7. Great Falls of Tinker’s Creek

At the edge of the Bedford Reservation, actually located in Viaduct Park, these falls are underrated and lesser known. With the water dropping nearly 20 feet, this is also one of the widest waterfalls in Ohio!

You’ll follow a paved path down to view the falls and the surrounding area. This area is full of history with an old tunnel, viaduct, and old mill ruins to explore.

If you have a little extra time in the area, this is definitely one to put on your list.

Great Falls of Tinker's Creek in early autumn, with water forcefully cascading down two levels of rock formations, surrounded by a forest with hints of fall colors.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Waterfalls Bonus #2: Urban Waterfalls

If sleeping in tents or Airbnb accommodations is not your thing, a couple of nearby towns boast their own waterfall attractions. They’re also great towns to use as a home base when exploring CVNP. Check out these urban waterfalls during your visit!

8. Little Falls

The Ohio town of Cuyahoga Falls is located at the southern end of the National Park on the Cuyahoga River, and it is home to its own waterfall.

Though changes to the river have been made over the years, unfortunately changing the views, some views do still remain!

If you want to rest your head near a waterfall but get a comfortable night’s sleep in a real bed, stay at the Sheraton hotel located in the town of Cuyahoga Falls. Situated right on the bank of the Cuyahoga River, the hotel restaurant has an outdoor patio overlooking the Little Falls.

Make a reservation at Beau’s on the River. We’d recommend eating here during daylight hours, so you can actually enjoy views of the river. Brunch would be a great idea!

The area used to be home to two waterfalls, Big Falls and Little Falls (creative naming, right?). A dam was built in the river, changing the landscape of Big Falls, but Little Falls remains!

9. Chagrin Falls

A little to the northeast, about 30 minutes from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, you’ll find the town of Chagrin Falls.

Once centered around harnessing the power of the river to operate its many mills and factories, Chagrin Falls now has a more upscale feel, but the nearby falls haven’t changed.

Chagrin Falls, a captivating urban waterfall, flows smoothly over layered rock shelves in the heart of a charming town, surrounded by greenery and a quaint bridge overhead, against the backdrop of local red brick architecture.

Easily accessible from the center of town, the Chagrin Falls are impressive, especially for their more urban setting.

Chagrin Falls has some higher-end restaurants. M Italian and the Paris Room are both great! If those aren’t your speed, just make the quick detour and spend a little time wandering the streets of the town, window shopping at the boutique stores, and enjoying the waterfall.

With lots of variety, from nearly hidden to urban, Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the surrounding areas are home to 100+ waterfalls.

However, we don’t recommend attempting to find all of them. Some are on private land or are dangerous to access. There are plenty of waterfalls here that are worth the hike and very accessible!

We hope you find at least one or two of these Cuyahoga Valley National Park waterfalls on your next northeast Ohio adventure.

Smaller and lesser known, Blue Hen Falls is still a beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park waterfall

Want to check out all of Ohio’s national parks? We’ve got you covered! Ohio is full of great history, outdoor beauty, and adventure!