Hike to Brandywine Falls

Ohio Towpath Trail

  • Activities:

    Running, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    4.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    300 Feet

Bathrooms
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall

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
Read More

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

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.

8 days ago
8 days ago

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.

25 days ago
25 days ago

Definitely the most well-known and spectacular waterfall in Ohio. Its especially beautiful in the fall when the colors have changed. If you visit Cuyahoga Valley, this definitely needs to be on the list to visit.

12 months ago
12 months ago

This was one of the more enjoyable hikes I did in Ohio. Very fun and easy, the falls were GORGEOUS. You gotta go.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Awesome hike. The falls were well worth the 2+ Mile hike in. Be sure to do the full circle over and around the other side of the falls. It takes you on a great trail down by the river.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

This was perhaps one of my favorite waterfalls to see. The wooden structures leading you through the forest was one of my favorite parts. The whole scene was awesome. I discovered this adventure spot because of this post, so thank you!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Brandywine has easy parking and a great walkway to the falls. Along with the amazing views of the falls, there are information boards in multiple locations where you can learn more about the falls and surrounding area. I highly recommend visiting Brandywine Falls!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

One of my favorite places in the CVNP!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Easily the best waterfall in Ohio. It's hard to get a great photo because of the surrounding structures but using the wooden walkway in your composition lends to more interesting images.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Rachel Miller

hiker, camper, runner, traveler, adventurer and lover of all things outside :)

Nearby Adventures

Hike to the Elusive Corkscrew Falls

Ohio / Route 664 and Zwinkle Rd

I like to describe this waterfall as the "elusive" corkscrew falls. A couple years ago, only one or two people had blogged on the internet about these falls.

127 Saves

Hike to Contour Falls

Ohio / Station Road Bridge Trailhead

This hike begins at the trail-head of Cuyahoga National Park. Once arrived, you will cross a bridge overlooking the Cuyahoga River.

27 Saves

Hike the Pew Island Trail, Indian Lake

Ohio / Pew Island Trailhead

I hiked this trail on a very cold, blustery day. A winter storm was blowing in across the ice and temperatures were downright frigid.

9 Saves