Cuyahoga Valley NP: Beaver Marsh

Beaver Marsh has been transformed many times over the last century and a half. It started as a wetland, then during the 1900s it was drained and turned into a dairy farm and then into an auto repair / salvage yard. In 1984, after a group from the Sierra Club cleaned the area up, beavers began returning to the area and turned it back into its natural wetland state. Jess and I really enjoyed visiting the marsh (minus our encounter with a rather large spider). It is the perfect spot to watch wildlife. We saw lots of turtles, geese, ducks, and a few Great Blue Herons, which nest in the park in March and April. However, beavers turned out to be just as elusive as moose, I have yet to see either.

goose and turtles at beaver marsh
mamma goose sitting on her nest full of goslings
heron at beaver marsh
Great Blue Heron
Shawn and Niko on the Towpath Trail, October 2017

In the 1820s a canal was built along the Cuyahoga River. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (or just Towpath Trail) follows the same path the mules used to take when pulling the barges down the canal. 20 miles of the total 84 mile trail runs through the National Park. There are a multitude of places to start the Towpath Trail, the Ira Trailhead, where we parked being one of them.  *Watch for bicyclists and runners on the Towpath Trail. Jess and I saw a family with little kids almost take out a bicyclist that was trying to pass them, because they weren’t paying attention to their surroundings.  It is a .4 mile walk from the Ira Trailhead to Beaver Marsh. On the way you pass Lock 26, which mother nature is in the process of reclaiming.

Shawn says Beaver Marsh was his favorite of all the things we did on our day trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Ira Trailhead Address: 3801 Riverview Road, Peninsula OH 44264