Brandywine Falls is the crown jewel of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. At times, you can drive to a parking lot located just a few hundred yards from the waterfall overlook. When we visited in the summer of 2022, a 3 mile roundtrip hike along the Stanford Trail was required due to construction. This hike was mostly flat and easy. It wound through the dark forest, but don’t worry, it’s not a spooky dark forest.
The Stanford Trail starts at the Stanford House, which is an inn where you can stay. Just around the corner from the inn, there is a small parking lot that serves as the trailhead for Stanford Trail, and eventually, Brandywine Falls. We picked up a map at the Visitor Center before heading out on this trail. Here is a link if you’d like to hike the way we went. Hopefully, the Brandywine Falls parking lot is open when you visit, so you can enjoy the nice loop trail near the waterfall.
The trail is thick and lush, and very, very green. It climbs slowly, but steadily from the Stanford House. We found it great easy, and we were never out of breath. As you follow along the trail, the underbrush eventually gives way to a more open area. Then the canopy of the trees filters out the light making the forest dark, but open. There were a few cute little bridges, as well as beautiful green forests that made for great photos.
We saw a lot of animals in this area. There were dozens of chipmunks, almost bright orange in this light, that scampered along the trail. Even more interesting were the black squirrels. They were large, pretty “gray” squirrels, but their fur was black as night. We were so surprised to see them, but we really thought they were unique.
Eventually, the trail comes out near the boardwalk for Brandywine Falls. Though there are a few routes to get there, the trail is well signed, and we didn’t have any trouble. The trail splits at the boardwalk, however, and it can be a little confusing. Go down the stairs, though, because that takes you to a large viewing platform right in front of the Brandywine Falls.
Brandywine Falls is definitely worth a stop. The waterfall is large and you can get a good look at it from the viewing platform. Here is information on the Gorge Loop that is located at the Brandywine Falls parking lot, and is generally the popular family hike here in this area.
This was our favorite hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so don’t miss Brandywine Falls. Please visit our Cuyahoga National Park Kids Hikes to read more ideas for hiking in this national park.