• Image of bluebells in the spring

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Valley Bridle Trail Partial Closure

    A section of the Valley Bridle Trail is closed across from the Brandywine Golf Course. There is no estimate of when this section will be open. Please observe all trail closures. More »

  • Plateau Trail Partial Closure

    The outer loop of the Plateau Trail is closed at the Valley Picnic Area junction for bridge repair. The bridge is now unsafe for pedestrian traffice due to accelerated erosion around the base. More »

  • Bald Eagle Closure in Effect Until July 31, 2014

    Returning bald eagles are actively tending to last year's nest within the Pinery Narrows area in CVNP. To protect the eagles from human disturbance, the area surrounding the nest tree will be closed until July 31, 2014. More »

  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) Bridge Construction Closures

    Rockside and Canal Visitor Center boarding sites will be closed through Apr 27. From Jan 18 - Mar 16, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Brecksville stations. From Mar 22 - Apr, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Peninsula. More »

  • Do Not Feed the Waterfowl and Birds!

    Many people enjoy feeding waterfowl and birds, but the effects of this seemingly generous act can be harmful. Regular feeding can cause: unatural behavior, pollution, overcrowding, delayed migration, and poor nutrition and disease.

  • Closure on Fishing Will Remain in Effect for Virginia Kendall Lake

    Due to the government shutdown, we were unable to survey the fish community in VK Lake as scheduled. Our survey partners (ODNR) will not be able to get into the lake until early spring of 2014. Therefore, the closure on fishing will remain in effect. More »

Brandywine Falls

CVNP Brandywine Falls_ 285w_Tom Jones

Brandywine Falls

©TOM JONES


Brandywine Falls is Among the Most Popular Attractions in Cuyahoga Valley National Park


Geological and Natural History
Carved by Brandywine Creek, the 65-foot falls demonstrates classic geological features of waterfalls. A layer of hard rock caps the waterfall, protecting softer layers of rock below. In this case, the top layer is Berea Sandstone. The softer layers include Bedford and Cleveland shales, soft rocks formed from mud found on the sea floor that covered this area 350-400 million years ago. Shale is thinly chunked, giving water a bridal veil appearance as it cascades down the falls.

A combination of boardwalk and steps brings you into the waterfall's gorge and lets you view the waterfall head-on (a boardwalk option without stairs is also available). The boardwalk also provides a close look at Berea Sandstone. Careful inspection will reveal the individual grains of sand that accumulated in a sea 320 million years ago. Berea Sandstone is high quality sandstone found commonly throughout this area, both in nature and as a construction material used in buildings and canal locks.

The moistness of the gorge is evident as you walk along boardwalk. The moisture invites moss to grow on the sandstone and eastern hemlocks, an evergreen tree, to grow along the gorge. The hemlocks contrast with the abundant red maple trees in the area, which flame with color in the fall.

Cultural History
Early settlers in the valley saw the falls not just as an object of beauty, but as something to be used for its water power. In 1814, George Wallace built a saw mill at the top of the falls. Grist and woolen mills followed. The Village of Brandywine grew around the mills and became one of the earliest communities to emerge in the Cuyahoga Valley. Much of the village is now mostly gone, lost to the construction of nearby Interstate 271. However, the James Wallace house, built by George's son, remains and is a bed & breakfast, the Inn at Brandywine Falls.

Hiking the Trail
The 1.5-mile Brandywine Gorge Trail lets you explore beyond the waterfall. It starts near the bed & breakfast and follows the edge of the gorge, eventually taking you down to creek level. The trail is worth revisiting in the spring to view vernal pools that temporarily fill with water, attracting breeding salamanders. The views of the creek and the layers of rock it has exposed are also worth the walk.

 
Brandywine Falls in autumn

Brandywine Falls in Autumn

©TOM JONES

Seasonal Changes
Brandywine Falls is a place to return to time and time again-to watch the changing seasons such as seen in fall colors and spring vernal pools. It is also a place to watch the moods of the waterfall. With less water, the bridal-veil pattern becomes more pronounced. In winter, ice becomes the attraction. Immediately after storms, water torrents over the falls, often in higher volumes than would have occurred historically, because run-off from upstream paved surfaces has increased water flow.

Visiting
Brandywine Falls is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Brandywine Falls is located at 8176 Brandywine Road in Sagamore Hills Township.

 

Did You Know?

Photo of Bald Eagle taken in Cuyahoga Valley National Park where an eagle pair built their first nest in 2006. Photo by Martin Trimmer.

November is the time to be on the lookout for bald eagles performing aerial courtship displays. Once eagles have selected each other, they plunge through the air in very high dives, locking their talons and breaking apart just when it looks as though they will crash to the ground.