Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

This Peninsula, Ohio, excursion train travels through the heart of the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (photo by Michelle Peters)

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has more than 125 miles of hiking trails to explore, but some of the best autumn and winter views can be found without ever lacing up your boots. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs through the heart of Ohio’s only national park and offers relaxing and fun rides that showcase the natural beauty contained within these 33,000 acres between Cleveland and Akron.

There are four Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train stations from which to start your trip, but one of the most popular is in the village of Peninsula. Grab a bite at the family-friendly Winking Lizard Tavern and browse the handful of small shops and galleries (including the Trail Mix store operated by the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park) before hopping on the train for a ride north toward Independence or south toward Akron. (Be sure to consult the railroad’s schedule to find a time and depot location that works best for what you want to see and do during your visit.)

For the best autumn views, splurge for a seat in the glass-covered Upper Dome car, which offers a great vantage point for spotting blue heron nests in the treetops and taking in the park’s brilliant fall foliage. Special offerings include the adult-focused Ales on Rails, Cocktails on Rails and Grape Escape themed trips, as well as murder mystery train rides where passengers find clues and solve a crime during an evening of adventure and fun.

1630 Mill St., Peninsula, Ohio, 330/439-5708,