Plan a Safe Visit

A ranger talks to a child with a bike.
Rangers patrol by car, bike, and boat to help keep you safe.

NPS / Ted Toth

In Case of Emergency Dial 911 or 440-546-5945.

Before you visit the national park, take some time to think about safety. This page includes our rangers’ top safety tips and links to more information on safe practices. Remember to be aware of your surroundings whether on a trail, paddling the river, or walking in a parking lot.

Top Safety Tips

Check Conditions Before Visiting

  • Check the weather before going for a hike, bike ride, or paddle to be prepared for any storms or extreme weather.
  • Check the river conditions before kayaking to make sure it’s safe and you bring the proper gear.
  • Visit the Current Conditions page on our website to check for any closures.
  • Learn more about trip planning for your next national park visit.

Add Park Dispatch to Your Contacts

  • Save the CVNP Communications Center number, 440-546-5945, in your mobile phone. Call in case of an emergency or to report a hazard or suspicious activity.

Recreate Responsibly

  • Paddling: Always wear your lifejacket. Ensure it is properly fitted and secured. Never paddle alone and leave a float plan with a friend. Paddle within your ability. Dress for the water temperature. Spring paddling means cold water and risk of hypothermia.
  • Hiking: Tell someone where you are going. Use a trail map. During wet conditions, wear waterproof boots with a heavy tread and step carefully. Don't become distracted. Keep pets on a six-foot leash and hold them closer when others are near. If hiking late in the day, use extra caution and bring a flashlight.
  • Biking: Stay to the right and give a timely, audible signal before passing on the left. People, pets, and wildlife can move unexpectedly. Allow enough room and time to respond. Don't risk a head injury. Always wear a helmet when cycling.
  • Share the Trail: Respect other trail users. Use extra caution in congested areas. When on horse trails, yield to horses and keep small children and dogs calm as horses pass.
  • Leave No Trace: Collect memories, not park resources. Enjoy wildlife from a distance. Do not feed the animals. Eating human food threatens the health and survival of wildlife. It can cause wild animals to lose their fear of humans, increasing the likelihood of bites or attacks. Pick up and dispose of pet waste properly. Keep your trash until you can properly dispose of it.

Pack with Safety in Mind

  • Not all trailheads have drinking water, so remember to bring water with you.
  • Bring bug spray and sunscreen to protect your skin.
  • Have a first aid kit in your bag.
  • Leave valuables at home when possible.
  • Wear or bring sturdy hiking shoes when going on a trail.
The inside of a car with glass smashed from the passenger window.
Car break-ins do occur. Follow the tips to help prevent an incident and report suspicious activity.


Be Aware in Parking Lots

  • Do not park in unmarked parking spaces. This will help avoid crashes.
  • Leave your valuables at home whenever possible. If you must bring them, it's best to take them with you while enjoying the park. As a last resort, lock them in your trunk or other lockable compartment before arriving at the parking lot. Thieves watch what people do as they exit their vehicles.

  • Thieves target items such as credit and bank cards, driver licenses, Social Security cards, checkbooks, and cash.

Report Suspicious Activity

  • If you notice a suspicious object or person, trust your instincts and get help.
  • Immediately contact the Communications Center at 440-546-5945. Report the facts: location; your name; the time; and a description of the person, vehicle, or package.
  • Move away from the area and don't get involved. Your job is done.

Additional Safety Topics

Always take insect stings seriously and monitor the victim's reaction. Call 911 or 440-546-5945 if the person experiences severe symptoms or has a history of them. Don't hang up the phone until instructed by the dispatcher.

Prevent insect and tick bites by taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid wooded or weedy areas on trails. Ticks can be found in tall grasses, on ground cover, and near structures and woodpiles. They cannot jump, fly, or fall from trees but will attach to pets and people as they walk by.
  • Ticks are most active from early spring until late fall.
  • Consider purchasing tick prevention products for your pets such as tick collars, sprays, and gels. Talk to your veterinarian for more guidance.
  • Tuck pants into socks or boots.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to easily find ticks.
  • Use repellents and follow label instructions.
  • Check children and pets for ticks after hiking or playing outside.
  • If you are bitten by a tick, do not panic. Carefully remove the tick, including its mouth parts, from your skin using tweezers. Monitor your health the following days.

  • Do not climb the waterfall or the nearby fences and rocks. Accidents at this location have led to serious injury and death.
  • Stay back 50 feet from the edge and base of the falls.
  • Use extra caution if it has rained or snowed recently. Walkways, boardwalks, and stairs can be especially slippery.
  • For your safety, park staff will close access to the lower platform during severe weather.

  • Stay back from the edge. Footing is hazardous.
  • Use extra caution if it has rained or snowed recently.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid snow-covered bumps, ruts, branches, icy patches, and other hazards.
  • If someone has built a ramp, report it to a park ranger or volunteer. Ramps can cause serious accidents.
  • When returning up the hill, stay away from downhill riders.
  • If you become too cold, warm up at the campfire or return to your vehicle.

Last updated: May 26, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141


440 717-3890

Contact Us