Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park


If you have to select just one place to see in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, it probably should be Brandywine Falls.  It’s one of the park’s most visited attractions, and certainly one of its most beautiful spots.

Brandywine Falls is a 60-foot cascade that tumbles over layers of sandstone (at the top) and shale (behind most of the falls, giving it a bridal veil look).  By the time I arrived in late afternoon, the falls was already in the shade.  An earlier visit might provide better light for photography.

It only takes a short walk to get to this viewpoint.  During my visit, a temporary parking lot was being used on the north side of the falls.  From there, I walked across the bridge that spans Brandywine Creek (you can see it in the photo, just above the falls)…

… where I found this view, just behind the brink of the falls.  The trail continues as a boardwalk, going down, then up, then down again…

… and twisting past the old ruins of the Champion Electric Company, a generating station that also produced appliances for restaurants until it was struck by lightning and destroyed in 1937.  Before that, the site was the location of an old grist mill — one of several mills that used the power of the falling water.

In the 1800’s, an entire village built up around the mills at Brandywine Falls. Aside from the Inn at Brandywine Falls (the old house of James Wallace, son of the man who built the first mill here), very little remains of the old village. Much of it was lost during construction of Interstate 271.

Here, you can get a look down at the falls, while standing almost directly over the brink.

To get to the best viewpoint, you’ll need to descend some more stairs.

If time allows, you can continue down the Brandywine Gorge Trail, eventually reaching the water’s edge. I’ve heard that it’s an especially beautiful walk to take in Autumn, as the leaves change.
Brandywine Falls is located northeast of Boston Store. To get there, take Hines Hill Road to Brandywine Road. Or, from further up Riverview Road, take Vaughn Road/Highland Road to Brandywine Road.

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