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The Best Time to Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Best Time to Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park

What's the best time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park?

Spring (April or May) and fall (September or October) are the best times to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park, offering pleasant temperatures and unique seasonal landscapes.

In spring, enjoy blooming wildflowers and waterfalls, while fall provides spectacular views of autumn foliage. These seasons offer ideal hiking conditions and fewer crowds, although spring has more rainfall, enhancing the park’s natural beauty.

Drawing in more than 2.2 million visitors each year, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is arguably one of the most popular national parks in the entire country.

No wonder, as any trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park is bound to be spectacular, regardless of when you decide to visit.

That said, if you’re looking to have a particular experience, such as soaking in the fall foliage or avoiding the large crowds, there are better times to head there than others. But don’t worry — we’ve done the hard work for you.

Follow along to see when the best time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park is based on your individual preferences and travel expectations. Let us be your guide!

The Best Time to Visit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cascading water flowing into the stream below at Brandywine Falls during the best time to visit Cuyahoga Valley

Keri Delaney/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park is either in spring (April or May) or in fall (September or October).

The former offers spectacular wildlife-sighting opportunities, while the latter is all about absorbing scenic fall landscapes. April has average temperatures between a maximum of 57°F and a minimum of 39°F.

May sees similar temperatures, albeit higher, fluctuating between 69°F and 51°F. October visitors should expect average temperatures between a maximum of 61°F during the day and a minimum of 46°F.

The spring months can be an awesome time to enjoy the plethora of wildflowers and majestic waterfalls. Autumn, however, is when heading to the Brandywine Gorge Trail or the Ledges Overlook is a must, as the views are spectacular.

These months provide excellent hiking conditions as well — they lack summer’s intense heat and humidity and winter’s harsh appearance.

That said, note that the spring season sees significant rainfall, so double-check the weather forecast before you make any plans. Otherwise, spring is perfect for wildlife watching, as animals are done hiding from the cold.

Plus, the park’s not as crowded as in summer, so they feel much more comfortable moving around in the environment as opposed to having large crowds around them.

The Cheapest Time to Visit

Neat rock face at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, taken during the overall best time to visit, in the summer


The cheapest time to head to Cuyahoga Valley National Park is in mid to late September. It’s the limbo period when the summer chaos has just ceased, and the fall foliage admirers are yet to arrive.

This time of the year, accommodation rates drop, and flight tickets take a nosedive. If you’re trying to stick to a budget yet enjoy Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this is the time to go.

In September, Cuyahoga Valley National Park welcomes visitors with temperatures going up to 73 °F, as well as chilly but relatively pleasant lows of 57°F.

Your autumn activities will be similar to what we already outlined, but feel free to add the Townpath Trail to your schedule, as the scenery is at its most striking.

Least Busy Time to Visit the Park

Pictured during the least busy time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a late-summer view of the remnants of the Ohio and Erie Canal


The least busy time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park is anytime from November through March.

Winter brings low temperatures, uncertain weather, and often heavy snowfall. In November, temperatures range between highs of 48°F and average lows of 36°F. December has comparable temperatures between 38°F and 28°F.

Then, January and February see temperatures drop all the way to 19°F, with highs barely reaching 35°F. Lastly, in March, the advent of spring brings about a slightly warmer climate, but not entirely, with temperatures going back up to highs of 44°F.

While the temperature overall may look intimidating during this time, winter-based recreational activities, such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, are fair game and allow for a different experience of the park.

Plus, if you hope for a quiet time in Cuyahoga Valley, this is when you’ll have it. Cuyahoga Valley National Park winter’s magic may not work for everyone, but you’ll definitely avoid the peak season crowds and still have a blast.

If you’re traveling with kids, the Ugly Sweater Challenge could spice up your holiday season visit. Add the gingerbread landscape by Kelly McGreal, and you have yourself a creative winter getaway in Ohio.

Finally, if you’re unable to come during the November–March period, try to avoid the crowds by visiting early in the mornings, weekdays, or later in the day.

The Worst Time to Visit

Brandywine Falls in winter during the worst time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Dee Browning/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park is in the summer, from June through August. The park gets a huge influx of visitors, and as school’s out and the summer holiday season is in, many travel with kids, making the park much more hectic and louder than what’s needed to properly enjoy it.

However, June, July, and August see pleasant summer climates, with average temperatures hovering around 80°F during the day and a minimum of 58°F at night.

That said, summers in Ohio may get too humid, thanks to the various lakes in the region. To avoid the heat and humidity, head to CVNP early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

That said, even if you do end up going in the middle of the day, you can find refuge and shade under the myriad of maples, oaks, and pines throughout the park. Also, summers get pretty dynamic thanks to the Burning River Endurance Run and Relay event.

Organized annually for almost two decades, the Burning River Endurance Run and Relay takes candidates through CVNP and the Summit Metro Parks.

Then, there’s the Boston Mills Art Festival, held for 2 weekends in July, at a ski area adjacent to the park. From rides, flea markets, and fun activities to contests and guest speakers, the festival has something for everyone’s taste.

What’s the Best Time to Visit Cuyahoga?

Historic white church at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

Zack Frank/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park is either in April and May or in September and October. The weather’s usually pleasant, the park’s at its peak, and the activities run full steam, weather permitting.

On the whole, the best time to visit depends on the adventure you’re pursuing, but one thing’s certain — whenever you go and whatever you do once there, you’ll quickly realize why paying Cuyahoga Valley a visit is absolutely worth it. Happy travels!