Hike to Brandywine Falls

Towpath Trail

You can start this 4.5 mile loop from a backcountry, primitive campsite. Hike along gorgeous woodland trails to incredible views of one of Ohio's most beautiful waterfalls.

CVNP only has one designated camping area with five sites, located behind the Stanford House. The Conservancy for CVNP runs the reservations, and they fill up quickly so plan ahead (I made my reservation about 2 months in advance, and it was the earliest I could get in). There is a parking lot at the Stanford House, but backcountry campers can't leave their cars there overnight, so you can park at the Boston Store trailhead and hike up the Towpath Trail about a half mile with your gear.

From the Towpath Trail, you will see signs for the Stanford House and camping; there is a short connector trail that takes you right to the house. Once there, follow signs for camping to the meadows behind the house. The campsite is a small circle surrounded by fields, close to the trees but open to the sky. They have bear poles for food and there is a portable toilet, but you have to pack out all trash.

The campsites are located right on the Stanford Trail, so once your site is settled, get your trail shoes on and get going! You will hike a gradual uphill, well-marked trail through fields and then beautiful forests for about a mile and a half. This trail is one of the most scenic in the park, and it was very quiet even on a Saturday.

The Stanford Trail runs right into the Brandywine Gorge Trail - you'll see a sign indicating that the Falls are 1/4 mile away if you stay on the Stanford Trail, or 1 mile away if you take the Gorge Trail - take it!!! It's a tougher hike but so worth it. You'll start in the woods and need to cross a stream. The bridge was out when I went, but the stream is relatively easy to cross between the rocks and fallen trees. Once you are on the other side of the stream, you will begin an immediate, steep ascent for about a half mile. Enjoy the sound of the waterfall as you hike!

When you get to the top of the Falls, you'll see a paved walking and biking path with a boardwalk leading off to the right. Take the boardwalk down LOTS of steps for an absolutely magical view of the waterfall, and enjoy the moment!

Return up the boardwalk to the paved trail, and follow it as it winds around the other side of the Falls. You'll meet up with the Stanford Trail again, which will take you back into the woods and home sweet campsite :).

Pack List

  • Bug spray!!!
  • Backpack with tent and everything else you need for camping
  • Sturdy trail shoes or boots, especially if you need to cross the stream
  • Camera
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RT Distance 4.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 300 Feet
Activities Running, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Brandywine falls3/3/18

Falls were really flowing! Good hike! Beautiful day!

Best Waterfall in Ohio

I’ll echo all of the sentiments in the reviews. This is a beautiful waterfall with some great photo opportunities. We hiked from the Stanford House to Brandywine Falls via the Stanford Trail which connects to the Brandywine Gorge Loop Trail, total of about 4 miles. Overall this was a really nice and easy hike (a few short sections of incline) through some grassy fields and woods. If you are pressed for time there is a parking lot near the falls with a short 0.1 mile walk on the boardwalk to the waterfall viewing area.

Nice Viewing Boardwalk

Nicely sized waterfall and the rocky surface make for nice photos. The boardwalk also allows for safe viewing. I don't know if there are trails to the bottom, but you don't get much photo variety from the boardwalk. Still, worth stopping to see if you're pressed for time and want to see something in the park.


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