Last updated: August 30, 2022
Leaf peeping fans, here are our tips on where to look for the best fall colors in Cuyahoga Valley. Peak color is usually during the third week of October. The timing is mostly tied to the decrease in daylight hours as winter nears. This makes it fairly consistent year to year. Weather is a factor too. Trees under stress from severe drought or other issues will shed their leaves early. Colors are most vivid when we have warm, sunny days and cool, frost-free nights. Cloudy days and too much rain can dull them. Different broad-leaf trees peak at different times, so it is possible to experience splendid autumn foliage the entire month.
The sugar and red maples are usually the first to display spectacular reds, yellows, and oranges. They are followed by the white and pin oak becoming a brownish red. Black gum, dogwood, and northern red oak turn various shades of red. Tulip tree, bigtooth aspen, silver maple, and black maple change to yellow.
Walk the inner loop of the Oak Hill Trail. There you can see the magnificent reds of the maple, glowing oranges of the sassafras, and striking yellows of the white ash and big tooth aspen. This trail is especially scenic in the early morning when the large trees in the open fields and by Sylvan Pond become sunlit.
Experience the full autumn spectrum at Brandywine Falls and along the Brandywine Gorge Trail. Colors range from the brilliant reds of the sugar maples to the deep browns of the white oaks. This area is ideal for photography in the late afternoon.
Head to the Ledges area trails in Virginia Kendall. These are great places to experience the late turning oaks. Also look for the yellows of hazelnut and witch hazel. Both trees peak late because they grow low in the dense forest. Ledges Overlook offers a view of the changing colors across the Cuyahoga Valley.
Other popular places to view and photograph fall colors are Everett Covered Bridge, Hale Farm & Village, Horseshoe Pond, Kendall Lake, Kendall Hills, and Blue Hen Falls.
Leashed pets are permitted on most park trails. Leashes must be 6 feet long or less. See our Pets page for more information.
We are highlighting October, when we typically see the most dramatic fall colors in northeast Ohio.
Morning and late afternoon can be the best times to photograph fall colors.
If you have limited mobility, here are our top tips. Photograph Kendall Hills from Pine Hollow Trailhead and Hale Farm & Village from the entrance drive. View Horseshoe Pond and Kendall Lake from their fishing piers; each one is near the trailhead. The upper boardwalk at Brandywine Falls and the Everett Covered Bridge are both wheelchair accessible. See Short Towpath Trail Walks for information about the Beaver Marsh, and Station Road Bridge areas. For other trail information, visit the linked Places pages. Service animals and leashed comfort animals are always welcome.