Winter provides special opportunities for enjoying Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP), with cross-country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and sledding. This bulletin provides the best places and ways to experience winter in Ohio’s largest national park.
Winter Sports Center at Kendall Lake
Start by visiting the Winter Sports Center at Kendall Lake Shelter. Cross-country ski trails, downhill ski resorts, sledding, and tubing areas are within easy reach. The center, built from native chestnut and sandstone by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, provides a rustic setting to warm up with a hot drink and relax after a day of outdoor fun. Center staff and volunteers provide visitors with updated weather forecasts, area maps, and a schedule of park events. Snowshoe and cross-country ski equipment rental for adults and children is available. The center will be open when snow is four inches or deeper. It may be open additional days during heavy snowfall. The typical schedule is Saturdays and Sundays in December, January, and February; daily, December 26 through 31; and the holidays of Martin Luther King Day and Presidents’ Day. The hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The center is located on Truxell/Kendall Park Road, 2 miles west of Akron Cleveland Road, Peninsula 44264. For snow conditions, call Boston Store Visitor Center at 330-657-2752.
Over 125 miles of trails are open for hiking year round. The Ledges Trail, on Truxell/Kendall Park Road in Peninsula 44264, is among the most scenic due to the dramatic icicles on the rocks. In winter it is especially important to consider safety while hiking. Always use caution where ice and packed snow make footing hazardous. Obtain trail maps before venturing into unfamiliar areas. Inform family or friends of your intended locations and estimated time of return. Do not climb on the rocks at the Ledges and stay back from the bluff edges. As a courtesy and for the safety of everyone, always yield to skiers and avoid walking in ski tracks.
Snowshoe rental is available at the Winter Sports Center (hours listed above) and Boston Store Visitor Center, 1550 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula 44264, when snow is four inches or deeper. The visitor center is open daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., except on December 25 and January 1. There is a $5 rental fee (cash or check only). A valid driver’s license or credit card is required as a deposit. Snowshoes may be used on nearby trails. When sharing a trail with cross-country ski traffic, yield to skiers and take care not to walk in ski tracks.
Large-mouth bass, crappie, and bluegill are among the fish caught in CVNP lakes and ponds. Ice thickness is not monitored for ice fishing, so be careful when venturing onto the ice. Thin spots can occur causing it to become unstable. Ice fish at your own risk. Catch-and-release fishing is encouraged to maintain the fish populations needed for continued sport fishing. Fishing guidelines follow federal and state regulations. For more information visit nps.gov/cuva/planyourvisit/fishing.htm.
Sledding is available at Kendall Hills on Quick Road in Peninsula, about one mile east of Akron Peninsula Road. Parking is located at Pine Hollow, Crow Foot Gully, and Little Meadow parking lots. Separate areas are designated for sleds and toboggans. Some areas are closed to sledding to prevent conflicts with cross-country ski trails.
Downhill Skiing and Snow Tubing
Boston Mills Ski Resort, 7100 Riverview Road, Peninsula 44264, and Brandywine Ski Resort, 1146 West Highland Road, Sagamore Hills 44067, offer downhill skiing. Polar Blast Snow Tubing Park is next to Brandywine. Equipment rental and instruction are available. For resort information call 330-467-2242.