Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH

A Midwestern Autumn: oranges that leap off the trees, reds that put you in a trance, and yellows that tell the stories of the millions of trees arching above your head

- Oliver Ambros


You never really know what you are in for until you experience it. Months of planning, training, and expectations can be thrown out the window in a matter of seconds, and while this particular trip simply required an easy 3 hour drive and some packing, we still emerged from Cuyahoga Valley National Park entirely different than we had entered. We came for the falls and stayed for the colors that Fall brought

Cuyahoga’s main attraction, Brandywine Falls, leaves the gorge moist and vibrant with plants and trees lining the boardwalk that guides you to the heart of the 70 foot waterfall. However, the best view of the cascades is from down below, a place off limits to the public, yet as we climbed down we were clearly not the first to think of making the bold descent, as man-made rock formations stood on the shale near the edge of the falls. From down below you could see the true power of the falls, despite being only 70 feet tall. Moss covered the rocks in front of us, and a light mist searching for a landing spot found safe haven on our faces and necks.

As the sun started to set we hit the towpath and when the feeling was right, left the trail and headed up the hill to the East to setup camp. The golden crisp sun guided us as we raised our tent, illuminating the red, orange, yellow autumn leaves above our heads. Once the sun set and we one by one went to hit the hay, “good find, very good find” greeted us as our eyelids slowly closed.

Tip from Basecamp:

The park in itself is rather misleading, as only 5 common camp sites are available year round. Luckily for us, primitive camping off the towpath let us setup our tent and while we had expected an entirely different experience from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, seeing Brandywine Falls from down below made the trip well worth it. In the end, it was all about the adventure anyways. A trip to the falls is highly recommended if you live within driving distance or are passing through on your way to a different destination.

Oliver Ambros