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Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Sagamore Hills, OH

October 17, 2017

 Brandywine Falls, from the lower observation deck

 

Brandywine Falls is easily accessible from several trails located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Sagamore Hills, OH.  Trailhead parking for the Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail is located at 8176 Brandywine Road, Sagamore Hills, OH.  The parking lot is often full, and many visitors end up parking along Brandywine Road.  Luckily, the lot is also easily accessed from the trail, about 0.5 mile from the on-street parking.  The parking lot includes picnic areas as well as composting toilets.

 

The Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail is a 1.4 mile loop that is rated Class 2/Moderate, although several steeper sections coming up out of the gorge should be considered Class 3/Difficult.  A beautiful trail, it takes you parallel to Brandywine Creek, and offers scenic views of the creek, the surrounding rock formations, and access to the creek in several areas.

 

 Access point to Brandywine Creek, from the Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail - bench overlooking creek

 

Because this trail takes you through the Gorge, you will see many massive rock formations along the trail.  Amateur geologists will enjoy taking some extra time here to view the outcroppings of Berea Sandstone, Bedford Shale, and Cleveland Shale.  At the Falls itself, a large Berea Sandstone formation caps the shale below, and you can see many of the boulders that have calved off the main rock, forming the Falls.

 

 A look at the creek below Brandywine Falls

 

The Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail is an exceptionally beautiful trail, but if you are not used to steep ascents and descents, you may want to stay close to the boardwalk and the Falls.  The trail traverses ridgeline sections, which are easy to moderate hiking, along the southern section of the trail, and as you loop to the northern sections, you will begin the climbs up and down the gorge.  The trail on the northern section of the loop is rocky and steep, but wide, and with amazing views of the gorge, you can feel comfortable taking a few minutes to rest along the way and take in the scenery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail, steep ascent  

 

We encourage to take a hike on this trail, and check out the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, as well as areas of the Cleveland MetroParks.  This system of islands of green space and hiking trails in Northeast Ohio is a testament to the conservation-minded attitude of the area.

 

For more information on the CVNP: https://www.nps.gov/cuva/learn/historyculture/brandywine-falls.htm

 

For a map of the park and hiking trails: https://www.nps.gov/cuva/learn/historyculture/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=3157140  

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