Frequently Asked Questions
Who Are We?
We, ExploreAFoot’s founders, are transplants from South Africa, now U.S. citizens, and are proud to call Northeast Ohio our home for the last 24 years. After returning from a 70-mile walking holiday in Germany along the Eifelsteig, we were eager to find similar walking holidays closer to home. The Knight Foundation saw merit in our idea of planning walking tours that showcased both the beauty of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Cleveland Metroparks, along with towns like Peninsula and the city of Akron. With the Knight Foundation’s “Cities Challenge Award”, we were able to establish ExploreAFoot, to develop hassle-free hikes in the National Park and beyond. Come and be amazed and challenged by these all-day walking adventures!
Can I find out beforehand where I will be staying each evening?
Yes, the websites of all accommodations (hotels, B&B’s or hostels) are listed.
Why book with ExploreAFoot?
We offer the following:
- Detailed maps on how to navigate the route right up to the front door of your evening accommodation.
- Information on where to buy lunch or have dinner.
- Highlights of the villages or cities along the way, with the activities for that particular day or weekend, including Blossom Music Center, festivals, music and farmer’s markets.
- Cartage for longer trips.
- Tips on how to prepare novice hikers for these lengthy walks.
The ExploreAFoot Advantage
Why book with us?
Unplug, Unwind, Relax, and Reconnect with others. It’s that simple!
What we are proposing is a different kind of walking experience. Make your way on foot through the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley and into the city of Akron and beyond. Each evening, stay over at accommodations close to the trail.
Are you up for to the challenge? Then ExploreAFoot can make it happen! We have walked the trails, checked out the accommodations, connected the dots, and spent many hours investigating the local attractions, all in preparation for your arrival.
What can we do for you?
- Book your accommodations,
- Transport your luggage between destinations (cartage),
- Provide you with door-to door-maps/instructions, highlights of the villages and cities you will pass through, as well as information about the bicycle rentals and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad option for hikers.
- Have a welcome packet ready for you at your first point of contact or accommodation designed to make your walking holiday a resounding success.
Lunch & Dinner
Transfer Luggage to Next Location
How it Works:
Booking with ExploreAFoot is a two-step process. Due to the number of trail options, accommodation choices and availability, and hiker preferences, the process works best if you supply us with basic information by completing the online form or calling us at 216.755-HIKE (4453). We will get back to you within 24 hours with our recommendations or suggestions.
All vacations can be tailored to your needs, from simply booking accommodations and providing maps, to a more personalized vacation, or retreat - even overnight hikes for retreat groups. For those on a budget, ExploreAFoot does not inflate accommodation prices. We do charge a non-refundable booking fee of $25 for 1 night, $35 for 2 nights, and $50 for 3+ nights. Information is free, so complete the quote form, or call us to find out about the hikes we offer.
If I need accommodation the night before I want to start hiking, can that be arranged?
Yes, ExploreAFoot can reserve a room for you close to the trailhead or starting point. The Holiday Inn Independence is an ideal place to start if you are heading south to Akron. The Courtyard by Marriott in Akron is ideal for hikers walking north to Peninsula or south to Barberton.
What do I do if I am traveling with a dog?
While dogs can walk the trails, we regret that they cannot join you for the overnight portion of your trip. We are dog owners and we can make suggestions about suitable dog kennels in the vicinity.
What do I do if I find the trail a little too challenging?
You have the option of walking to the nearest station and taking the train to your next accommodations. You may also meet your Uber driver at the next trailhead.
What kinds of animals live in the park?
Because of the proximity of major roads and human population in villages and developments close to the park, the park is home to few large mammals with the exception of deer. Refer to the information supplied by the park:
Can I get lost on the trail?
It is unlikely, as you will have very specific instructions and trail maps. If for some reason
you stray off course, here are a few suggestions:
(i) look for signs indicating a railway line (it runs north to south and is close to the towpath trail), (ii) ask others on the trails (you will find everyone to be very helpful), and (iii) remember the sun rises in the east and sets in the west!
Can I carry my own luggage?
If you are able to travel light, that would be ideal. If your luggage is more than what is comfortable to carry, cartage, having ExploreAFoot transport your luggage to the next accommodation, is available for a cost of $25.
What should I pack for an overnight adventure?
“He who would travel happily must travel light”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars
If you choose a one night trail, consider packing only the essentials in a light day pack. Toiletries will be available at your destination. A change of clothing, toothbrush and toothpaste, sleepwear, raingear, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a hat, any medications and a refillable water bottle are all you will need. Bring your maps/information supplied by ExploreAFoot and you are set to go!
What is meant by Cartage?
To enable you to leave your car behind for longer trips, and travel on foot in the park or on the Towpath Trail, you may need to have your backpack dropped off at your accommodation. This is particularly true for out-of-state visitors. We will arrange with this drop-off for you.
How can I get food for lunch on the trail?
Each of the trails leads you to different parts of the park. As a result, the lunch arrangements will be different. You may arrange with some innkeepers to provide a packed lunch, or you may choose to pick up light snacks to carry with you for lunch. Impromptu picnics are often fun and are needed when you are walking long distances.
Where can I park my car?
Cars can only be left in designated parking lots in the park. The color and make of the car is given to the Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park; that way you can enjoy your travels and not worry about your car. For more information, see the FAQ on the National Park's website.
Can you tailor a hike that meets our needs?
Contact us and we can discuss a group package, a suitable tour for a company retreat, or a shorter hike for novice walkers.
Do you make reservations in Winter?
We can accommodate hikers any time of year, but winter weather is a limiting factor. The season for walking is from May to the end of October. Late Fall can be pleasant, and walking longer distances is easier when there is a chill in the air.
However, we think that in Northeast Ohio temperatures can be a little taxing after mid-November.
Can we cancel due to rain or inclement weather?
Part of the hiking experience is adapting to the unpredictable. Cooler temperatures are ideal for walking and rain can change the landscape. Yet, for ExploreAFoot to work for everyone, cancellation policies must apply.
The weather and nature don’t consider human plans, and any hiker ready to meet the challenge of long-distance walking will find that inclement weather can raise the stakes, but the sense of achievement is far greater.
What are your cancellation policies?
Our standard cancellation policy is:
- 100% refund if cancellation is made prior to 30 days out from booking (i.e., a booking made for August 4th can be canceled through July 4th and still receive a full refund). The booking fee is not returned.
- 50% refund for cancellations occurring between 29 and 14 days prior (i.e., a booking August 4th can cancel July 5th through July 21st for a 50% refund). The booking fee is not returned.
- No refund for cancellations less than 2 weeks prior to booking date. (i.e., for a booking of August 4th has no refund for cancellations July 22nd through August 4th)
Why do we have such strict cancellation policies?
When ExploreAFoot makes a reservation for you, it means the room is removed and held exclusively for the hiker. It is unlikely that the innkeeper can reserve this room so close to the date in question. For this reason, we ask that you read cancellation policies very carefully.