An Everyday Akron neighbor recently reached out to me for park recommendations to enjoy on nice days. More specifically, they were looking for date ideas that are wheelchair friendly. I listed some ideas off the top of my head and did a little more digging. After I sent them the list, I figured the rest of the Akron community might benefit from it, whether they use a wheelchair, push kids in strollers, want a flat surface for running, or just want to leisurely enjoy the outdoors.
These suggestions are in Cuyahoga Valley National Park—a favorite park system of the Everyday Akron community. Northeast Ohio’s national park has various resources to make the park system more accessible for everyone. CVNP offers information on their website for those with physical or mobility needs, deafness or hearing loss, blindness or low vision, and cognitive disabilities.
Looking for accessible parks and trails in Summit Metro Parks? Visit the other blog post.
Located a quarter mile north of the Ira Trailhead, the Beaver Marsh is a fantastic area to watch wildlife. From green herons to great blue herons, and beavers to turtles, you’ll feel like you’re in a National Geographic documentary.
The trail to the Beaver Marsh is crushed limestone. Once you get there, wooden decks extend off the towpath to safely look around without being in the way of those using the trail. There are also benches to hang out on.
Where to park: Ira Trailhead, 3801 Riverview Road, Cuyahoga Falls 44264
Learn more: Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Beaver Marsh
Everett Covered Bridge
This highly photographed spot is Summit County’s only remaining covered bridge. It stretches across Furnace Run, which stems from the Cuyahoga River.
Where to park: 2370 Everett Road, Peninsula 44264
One of the most iconic waterfalls in Northeast Ohio, Brandywine Falls is a beautiful spot during any season. The upper part is partially accessible by their boardwalk.
Where to park: 8176 Brandywine Road, Sagamore Hills 44067
Learn more: Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Brandywine Falls
Bath Road Heronry
This is one of my all time favorite places. I’m obsessed with great blue herons. You can simply park and watch these incredible birds from your car, get out and watch from the paved pullout or cross to the other side of Bath Road.
Where to park: In the pullout on Bath Road between Akron Peninsula and Riverview roads
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
This trail extends 87 miles from Cleveland to New Philadelphia. With more than 50 trailheads, there is probably one close to you. The surface is level and mostly ADA accessible. The section of trail in northern Cuyahoga County is paved; the section running through the national park and Stark County is hard-packed crushed limestone; and the section in Tuscarawas County is hard-packed earth.
The trail is managed by Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Summit Metro Parks, Stark Parks, and Tuscarawas County Park District.
Where to park: At a designated trailhead
Learn more: Ohio & Erie Canalway
Have more ideas? Leave a comment below or tweet @everydayakron.
Note: With the ongoing pandemic, as well as Ohio weather, please check related websites for park and trail alerts.
All photos by Rachel Whinnery