Cuyahoga Valley National Park–Station Road Towpath Trail (Summit County)

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Please note that the Cuyahoga/Summit county line is in the middle of the Cuyahoga River in this area.
+ The parking area and train station and trails along the railroad on the west side of the river are in Cuyahoga County.
+ When you cross the Cuyahoga River, the Towpath Trail on the east side of the river is in Summit County.

Summit County

Cuyahoga Valley NP–Station Rd. Towpath Trail (Summit Co.)
Coordinates: 41.3193556, -81.5873361
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Cuyahoga County

Cuyahoga Valley NP–Station Rd. Railroad (Cuyahoga Co.)
Coordinates: 41.3177439, -81.5880132
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Photos by Susan Carpenter

Ohio Birding Day Hike

Station Road Trails
Hikes of 2-4 miles are possible going north or south on both sides of the river.

The easiest hiking is in Summit County on the Towpath Trail. You can walk in either direction as far as you desire, remembering that you will need to walk back the same distance.

It is more challenging to walk along the railroad tracks in Cuyahoga County. There is a heron rookery and Bald Eagle nest north on this side of the river. Sometimes the area around the nesting areas is closed to entry. You can also follow the river south along the railroad. Use care as the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs on these tracks.

Also, see Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail

Tips for birding Station Road
For birders who maintain county lists, please note that the Station Road area is in both Cuyahoga and Summit Counties. The Cuyahoga River, which runs north/south here, is the boundary line between counties. West of the river–including the parking lot, train tracks, and marshy area south–is Cuyahoga County. East of the river–after crossing the white iron bridge (see photo)–is Summit County.

Regarded as one of the top birding locations in northern Ohio, the Station Road Bridge trailhead is shared by Cleveland Metroparks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The canal and the Cuyahoga River wind along the riparian valley, as does the scenic railroad.

The main all-purpose Towpath Trail running along the east side of the river is by far the easiest access through the park. Enormous Eastern Sycamores and cottonwoods line the river, and a steep wooded hillside meets the Towpath Trail in a marshy riparian lowland along the canal.

White-tailed Deer, Fox and Eastern Gray Squirrels, raccoon, Muskrat, Beaver, and Mink can be found along the Hike and Bike trail. Snapping and Eastern Painted Turtles are abundant, as are Green and Bullfrogs, Gray Treefrogs, Spring Peepers, and Northern Water Snakes.
From Birding Station Road from the Ohio & Erie Canal website

Birds of Interest
Nesting Great Horned and Screech Owls, Cerulean and other migrant warblers, plus most species of woodpeckers, including Red-headed.

Bald Eagles, Blue Herons and so much more. A large swamp, north of the main parking area and the OH-82 bridge, are home to nesting Bald Eagle and a Great Blue Heron rookery. This area is closed during the eagle nesting season. When open, the marsh can be accessed — with a park ranger’s help — by carefully walking alongside the railroad tracks. The large wooded swamp also is home to uncommon Red-headed Woodpeckers and Prothonotary Warblers, as well as nesting Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser. Another large marsh can be accessed by carefully walking south along the scenic railroad tracks – again with a ranger’s direction. Here, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Virginia Rail, Sora, Hooded Merganser, Swamp Sparrow, and Common Yellowthroat nest.

During Spring migration, upwards of 21 species of warblers have been recorded along the trail and railroad in a single day, along with hordes of thrushes, vireos, flycatchers, kinglets, sparrows, and more.

Celebrity nesting birds include the rare Cerulean, Prothonotary and Yellow-throated Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-headed and Yellow-throated Vireos, and Brown Creeper.

From Spring to Fall, Station Road is alive with color and song of Baltimore Oriole, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Belted Kingfisher, and Indigo Bunting. Pileated, Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are common, as are Northern Flickers.

Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Broad-winged Hawks are local nesters and can be seen soaring over the river and marsh on calm days. A pair of Peregrine Falcons has recently begun nesting on the OH-82 bridge that crosses high over the trail.

About Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
From Cuyahoga Valley National Park website

Warning: All areas of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are prone to deer ticks from the early spring until late fall, so prepare accordingly before birding.

Restrooms on site. Restrooms at locations identified on Cuyahoga Valley National Park map. Most areas have non-flush toilets; there are flush toilets available at the Pine Hollow parking lot on Quick Road and the Virginia Kendall Lake lodge building.