Thing to Do

Hike to Blue Hen Falls from Boston

Water falls from a rim of gray rock, trees in the background; orange leaves dot the rocky hollow.
Blue Hen Falls in autumn.

© Jeffrey Gibson

The scenic overlook at Blue Hen Falls is a popular hiking destination in the Boston area. The 15-foot waterfall is lovely throughout the year. The hike is 3 miles round trip from the Boston Mill Visitor Center on the rugged Buckeye Trail. There is a 580-foot change in elevation. For most people, that's steep! We recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes. If the ground is wet or icy, save this hike for a drier day.

Park at Boston Mill Visitor Center or Boston Trailhead. Limited spaces are also available at the large vehicle lot, across from the main visitor center parking lot. Parking areas tend to fill up on weekends and days with warm weather. Consider doing this hike early or late in the day to avoid the midday crowds.

During operating hours, stop at the visitor center for maps and information. Public restrooms are in the gray building next to the visitor center. Fill up a water bottle here to bring on your hike. There is no drinking water at Blue Hen Falls.

A Hilly Hike

From the big park sign outside the visitor center, follow the curved path to the intersection of Riverview and Boston Mills roads. Carefully cross Riverview Road and find the stone staircase that marks the entrance to the Buckeye Trail. This statewide trail is marked by blue “blazes” painted on trees and posts. To protect the forest habitat, please follow these blazes and stay on the marked trail.

The trail climbs and descends two steep ridges along its route to the falls. The hike begins with an immediate 200-foot climb. This is followed by a 100-foot staircase down to the ravine floor to cross a footbridge. After crossing the creek, the trail climbs a second hill and skirts around a maintenance yard at the top. Carefully cross Boston Mills Road at the top of the hill and stay alert for oncoming traffic. Follow the trail as it zigzags through the forest and down to the waterfall. Return to Boston along the same route.

Alternate Routes

For a longer hike that avoids the busy Boston parking areas, consider starting your hike from elsewhere along the Buckeye Trail. The nearest alternative is the Jaite Trailhead, located near the intersection of Riverview and Vaughn roads. Be sure to consult a map and plan ahead for your hike. Distances and hike times will vary by location. Bring extra water as needed.

Hiking Tips and Reminders

  • Pack water and wear sturdy walking shoes.
  • Do not walk on roads.
  • The Buckeye Trail can be very muddy and is hilly.
  • Use caution when crossing roads.
  • Stay on the main trail to help preserve plants and reduce erosion.
  • Park only in designated areas. Parking along roadways is prohibited. Vehicles parked illegally may be ticketed and towed.
Details

Take as much time as you need for this hike. The roundtrip hike typically takes about 1-2 hours.

Leashed pets are permitted on park trails, but not in park buildings. Leashes must be 6 feet long or less.

Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.

The Buckeye Trail includes steep inclines, switchbacks, and stairs. Mud and ice can greatly impact trail quality during wet or wintry conditions.

Accessibility Information

This section of the Buckeye Trail is not wheelchair accessible. It is hilly with an unpaved surface that is rocky and muddy in places. There are multiple staircases along this hike. Service animals and leashed comfort pets are welcome. Audio description is available for exhibit panels in the visitor center.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Last updated: May 2, 2022