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A Scenic Road Trip to Ohio's National Park

Story & Photos by Matt Bayman




Established in 2000, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located about 200 miles from Miami County, is one of the newest national parks in the United States, and the only one in Ohio.
While most parks are known for their seclusion, Cuyahoga Valley is located in the middle of the Greater Cleveland and Akron area. However, this does nothing to take away from its natural charm.
The park is a mix of forests, rolling hills, and small villages, most of which sit on the banks of the meandering Cuyahoga River. It contains rugged hiking trails, relaxing campgrounds, some of the best cycling in Ohio, great museums and history, working farms (including Hale Farm & Village), two ski resorts, and a variety of unique restaurants, shops and bed and breakfasts.
The geology of the region helped carve out Brandywine Falls, which, at 65-feet-tall, is the highest waterfall in Ohio, and Mill Creek Falls, which drops 45-feet, not to mention the ancient rock formations at The Ledges. Hiking trails at each of these locations showcase the wild side of the park.
Another great - and flat - trail is the paved, 21-mile-long Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath, which, as its name indicates, follows the historic canal towpath, as well as the Cuyahoga River, and spans almost the entire length of the park.
Along the way, trail users can explore a variety of attractions, including canal relics and locks, farm markets, nature preserves, historical landmarks and much more. Drivers can use Riverview Road to travel the same route and visit the same attractions. However, there’s also a third option – traveling by train. For a fee, and from June through October only, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers rides through the park. Click HERE for details on the train rides and 
HERE to learn more about the park, camping and other information.
While there’s plenty to see and do at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, even more adventure can be had by taking the scenic way there.
The following road trip does not use any highways to reach the national park, and it largely follows Ohio Route 47 and Ohio Route 3, among other rural routes. It takes less than five hours to drive and passes a number of other great attractions, including Mohican State Park (known as the best place in Ohio to canoe), Zane Shawnee Caverns, Myeerah Nature Preserve, and numerous small and mid-size towns that have their own spread of shops, ma and pa restaurants and roadside attractions, including Bellefontaine, Mt. Vernon, Loudonville, and Wooster.
Other things you can see and experience on this trip include:

  • The highest point in Ohio 

  • Mohican Adventures Canoe Livery and Family Fun Center, plus cabins and campground

  • The Haunted Hoorah 

  • The Six Hundred Downtown (restaurant) 

  • The oldest concrete street in America

  • A nearby Amish community

  • The A&E Camping Resort

  • Delaware State Park

  • Historic downtown Mt. Vernon, including colonial architecture 

  • The Wolf Creek Gristl Mill

  • The Holland Theatre

  • The Big Four Bridge in Sidney

  • The Marengo Flea Mark

  • And more... Enjoy!

Brandywine Falls 2.jpg

Between Cuyahoga Valley National Park (pictured above at Brandywine Falls) and Mohican State Park (pictured below at Mohican Adventures Canoe Livery & Fun Center), this road trip offers plenty of fun recreation.

Cuyahoga Map copy.jpg

Click on the map above to view the directions on Google Maps, as well as to send them to your smartphone for navigation. The route starts in downtown Troy, but can be picked up anywhere along the way.


& Points of Interest

From Troy to Cuyahoga National Park, this road trip is roughly 207 miles, one way. Directions are listed below in black and can be found online by clicking the map above. Listed below, mileage for each leg of the trip is in red and Points of Interest are blue. Points of Interest are located directly along the route and are listed in the order in which they appear while driving the route. The underlined Points of Interest are linked for more information. 

Troy to Sidney Via River Road
(25 miles)
From Troy Community Park, take Troy-Sidney Road north to River Road. At the dead-end, turn left on Sulphur Heights Hill and another immediate left on Main Ave. in Sidney

Points of Interest
- Scenic River Road, which follows the Great Miami River into downtown Sidney (learn more about this road and what can be seen during a quick visit to downtown Sidney HERE)
- The Big Four Bridge in Sidney
- The Spot restaurant in downtown Sidney 

Downtown Sidney to Bellefontaine (26 miles)
From the courthouse square in downtown Sidney, take Ohio Route 47 East until reaching Bellefontaine

Points of Interest 
- Tawawa Park in Sidney
- 47 Bar & Grill and Hussey’s restaurant in Port Jefferson
In Bellefontaine 
- Oldest concrete street in America  
- Antique, boutique and specialty shopping 
- Holland Theatre
- Six Hundred Downtown, a restaurant
- 2 G’s Barbecue

Bellefontaine to Zane Shawnee Caverns

(7 miles)
From the downtown, take Ohio Route 540 East. Watch for signs to Zane Shawnee Caverns

Points of Interest
- Ohio Hi-Point Career Center (not public, but it's the highest point in Ohio and can be seen from the road)
- A&E Camping Resort
- Zane Shawnee Caverns and Southwind Park

Zane Shawnee Caverns to Waldo (33 miles)
Continue east on Ohio Route 540 for 3 miles. When 540 dead ends, turn left on Ohio Route 292, then right on C-8. Follow C-8 back to Ohio Route 47 until you reach Waldo

Points of Interest 
- Camp Myeerah Nature Center
- Pastimes Ice Cream & viewing the Scioto River in the Village of Prospect
- Waldo Sports Bar & Grill

Waldo to Mohican State Park (55 miles)
From the dead-end of Ohio Route 47 near Waldo, turn right on Waldo-Delaware Road then left on Ohio Route 229. Follow this road east until you reach Mt. Vernon, where you’ll head north of Ohio Route 3. Mohican State Park is located off of Route 3

Points of Interest
Delaware State Park North Tip Trail
- The Haunted Hoorah (haunted house in Sept. & Oct.) in Ashley
- Rusted Nail restaurant and bar in Ashley
- The Marengo Flea Market
- Historic downtown Mt. Vernon
- Amity Country Antiques & Gifts
- Wolf Creek Grist Mill
- Mohican State Park
- River Run Family Campground
- Mohican Adventures Canoe Livery & Fun Center
- Mohican Adventures Campground & Cabins

Mohican State Park to Cuyahoga Valley National Park (61 miles)
Continue north of Ohio Route 3 until this road turns into Ohio Route 585 in Wooster. Follow it for 17.3 miles to Doylestown, where you’ll take a slight left on Gates Street, followed by a quick right turn on Eastern Road and a left on Medina Line Road. Follow Medina Line for 12.4 miles and then turn right on Bath Road. This road will lead into Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

Enjoy the park!

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