Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a surprise for many visitors, as most people do not expect such an array of natural features so close to the city. Twenty-two miles of the Cuyahoga River, fed by more than 190 miles of perennial (permanent) and ephemeral (temporary) streams, flow through the park. The Beaver Marsh and other wetlands, many lined with cattails and thick with duckweed, provide a home for many of the park's reptiles and amphibians and help filter pollutants from the water.
Bounding many of the rivers and streams are steep valley walls topped by deciduous forests and open meadows. Several waterfalls are tucked away in the midst of the forests, hidden from view until you round a bend. Brandywine Falls is the largest, with water rushing over the 65-foot falls to meet the boulders below. Water formed another of the park's outstanding geologic features;the Ritchie Ledges. Here, visitors wind along the base of a towering sandstone rock formation, eventually arriving at an overlook that provides a remarkable sunset view of the Cuyahoga Valley and its striking natural features.