Independence to Peninsula
2-day hike (extra night and hike in Peninsula)
This is an ideal hike for locals who are looking for a “staycation” that involves the outdoors and physical exercise. It is also perfect for out of town visitors. Hop on a free shuttle from Cleveland Hopkins airport to the Holiday Inn in Independence. We recommend staying there for the night before starting the hike – ExploreAFoot will take care of transporting your luggage to Peninsula. In the morning, ask the concierge for a hotel shuttle (this is based on availability) for a ride to the trailhead. Alternatively, there is a 1.5 mi walk on sidewalks connecting directly to the towpath that is your entrance to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Day 1. Independence to Peninsula (same as Day 1 in Featured Hike 1)
Start this hike at the northern most portion of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. From this point, you will be walking in a southerly direction along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath. Today’s hike consists of five stages – a total of 13 miles.
Lock 39 Trailhead to Frazee House Trailhead (3.75 miles)
Frazee House Trailhead to Station Road Bridge Trailhead (2.5 miles)*
Station Road Bridge Trailhead to Red Lock Trailhead (2.5miles)
Red Lock Trailhead to Boston Store Visitor Center (1.75 miles)
Boston Store Trailhead to Lock 29 Trailhead (2.5 miles) in Peninsula where you will overnight.
*We highly recommend you take a break when you get to the Station Bridge Trailhead. Take the time to meet locals, rest and recharge at Dante’s County Line Saloon. Cross over the river along the pedestrian bridge (you are heading in a westerly direction), walk slightly to the left (around the train station) and on to Riverview Road. Make a right, walk up a short hill (heading north) and when you get to Chippewa Road, you will see the Dante's County Line Saloon. This is an ideal place to get a bite to eat and have a refreshing drink. (Mondays it is closed for lunch) After your meal, consider a short siesta under a shady tree.
After your meal, or siesta head back to the Ohio Towpath – you have 6.75 miles to walk before you reach the village of Peninsula. You will pass through Boston Mills. Here you can stop for an ice cream or visit an art gallery at the renovated MD Garage. Alternatively, sit in an Adirondack chair and enjoy the scenery in this a quaint village, or visit the Trail Mix store run by the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The stage from Boston Mills to Peninsula is beautiful. You cross under two towering freeways, through meadows and past “Stumpy Basin” with its extensive wooden boardwalk. If you leave Independence at 9 AM, you should get to Peninsula by about 3 or 4 PM (depending on your stops at the Dante's County Line Saloon and Boston Mills). For those not up to walking 13 miles in a day, we should point out that you could “cheat a little” and hop on a train from Brecksville to either Boston Mills or Peninsula. However, you will be surprised by your ability to walk 13 miles if you simply relax and enjoy the surroundings as you walk along the Towpath. After your meal consider a short siesta under a shady tree.
In Peninsula, you will make your way to the Silver Fern Bed and Breakfast. Relax before heading out for dinner at one of the local restaurants.
Day2. Peninsula to Brandywine Falls Loop (9.5 miles)
After a well-earned night’s sleep, you will awaken to a home cooked breakfast at the Silver Fern. The time of this is somewhat flexible, but we recommend eating at about 8 AM. This will give you enough time to eat, place your bags in the hallway for ExploreAFoot to collect, and be on the road by 9 AM. Gary (the innkeeper) can prepare a packed lunch for you, or alternatively you should purchase lunch in the Akron’s Merriman Valley. There are no obvious restaurant spots along the trail until this point, so snacks and liquids are very important to keep your energy and hydration levels up.
Section 1: Hiking to Brandywine Falls. The trail begins on N. Locust Lane which then connects with a lightly overgrown path where the road meets a little stream. From this point, you will be heading in a northeasterly direction along a path with fairly steep elevation. Once you reach the Spicy Lamb Farm, the route follows the Akron Peninsula Road, a quiet road that will take you to the Bike and Hike Trail. Hikers can expect little or no elevation here! Once you reach the Brandy Wine Falls, and have taken in the sites, take time to rest. Choose a table under the trees for a picnic at the beginning of the Stanford Trail.
Section 2: The Stanford Trail that includes some change in elevation (downhill!) is shady and cool in summer. It will lead you to the Stanford House and camping site and then onto Boston Mills. Stop for an ice cream or view the artwork on display on weekends at the MD Garage. Take time to sit in the Adirondack chairs or on the open porch at the visitor’s center before making your way back to Peninsula along the Ohio and Erie Towpath trail.