The winter months shouldn’t keep you indoors when the Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers so many wonderful winter activities including hiking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snow tubing, snowshoeing, sledding, and ice fishing.
Best of all, you can enjoy an “après ski” (sled, or snowshoe!) at the Winter Sports Center at Kendall Lake Shelter. The center was built from native chestnut and sandstone by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and provides a rustic setting to warm up with a hot drink after a day of outdoor fun. Center staff and volunteers provide visitors with updated weather forecasts, area maps, and schedules of park events.
Here is our list of the top winter activities at Cuyahoga Park:
Many of the park’s 125 miles of trails are trails are especially scenic in winter, especially the Ledges Trail which is a popular winter hike due to the dramatic icicles that form on the rock edges. Winter hikers at Cuyahoga Park should take care not to climb on the rocks or ledges, and stay away from bluff edges. As a courtesy and for the safety of everyone, always yield to skiers and avoid walking in ski tracks, obtain trail maps before venturing into unfamiliar areas, and inform family or friends of your intended locations and estimated time of return.
When snow depth is four inches or greater, snowshoe rental is available at the Winter Sports Center and Boston Store Visitor Center for a $5 rental fee. Snowshoeing is recommended for almost all park trails with exception of the Ledges and Brandywine Falls trail system; however the most challenging trails in the park often have stairs and drainage steps.
When snow depth is six inches or greater, cross-country ski rental, including a limited number of children’s skis, is available at the Winter Sports Center for $15 per day. Suggested areas and trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing include: Bike & Hike Trail, Boston Run Trail, Cross Country Trail, Ledges Field, Oak Hill Trail, Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath, Trail Pine Grove Trail, and Tree Farm Trail. Ski instruction is available by advanced registration.
Although ice fishing is at-your-own-risk, Cuyahoga Park’s lakes and ponds can offer a great take of large-mouth bass, crappie, and bluegill for the adventurous ice fisherman. Ice thickness is not monitored for ice fishing, so be extra careful when stepping onto the ice. Fishing guidelines follow federal and state regulations.
Sledding, Downhill Skiing, and Snow Tubing
Sledding is available at Kendall Hills, about one mile east of Akron Peninsula Road, with separate areas designated for sleds and toboggans. Brandywine Ski Resort and Boston Mills Ski Resort offer downhill skiing as well as equipment rental and instruction; and Polar Blast Tubing Park, next to Brandywine Ski Resort, offers snow tubing Friday through Sunday.