Best Waterfall in Ohio: Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls is hands down the BEST waterfall in Ohio and should be on the itinerary for any traveler to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Read on for more information about the falls, how to get there, where to park, and more!

As always, follow the principles of leave no trace when you're out exploring! Pack out all trash, leave wildlife alone, and generally leave it better than you found it - for more information visit the Leave No Trace Center.

Where is Brandywine Falls?

Brandywine Falls is located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is in the Cleveland-Akron metro area. It is the main scenic attraction of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. At 60 feet tall, it is the tallest waterfall in the state of Ohio. Brandywine Falls tumbles into Brandywine Gorge. In the early 1800s, the power of Brandywine Creek was harnessed to drive grist and sawmills to support the surrounding community. For more info about visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park, click here!

View of Brandywine Falls in early September
Looking for another waterfall hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park? Check out Blue Hen Falls or Bridal Veil Falls!

When is the best time to see Brandywine Falls? 

As for the time of day that is best to visit – Brandywine Falls is open from dawn to dusk. Personally, I’d recommend visiting in the morning when it is less crowded. You’ll be more likely to be able to get good pictures without having to wait your turn or deal with crowds. 

Brandywine Falls is amazing to see at any time of year. It might seem crazy to want to see a waterfall when its, well, not water, but the falls are incredible when they’re frozen. While you miss out on the majesty of thundering falls, there’s something amazing about seeing such a powerful waterfall frozen in time. However, in the winter, the boardwalk to see Brandywine falls can be closed due to icy conditions. Make sure to check out the National Park Service website to see if there are closures before your visit.  

Brandywine Falls is majestic when frozen

Brandywine Falls is also amazing in the fall. The waterfall combined with fall foliage has created some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve seen of Ohio. Depending on how you access the falls, the trails can be very muddy in both the fall and spring when it rains. Most people visit the falls in the summer, but it can be very crowded at that time. Read on to learn more about how to beat the crowds at Brandywine Falls!

How to Get to Brandywine Falls, The Best Waterfall In Ohio

Because Brandywine Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Ohio, it can get crowded! I recommend visiting early in the morning before the crowds get there or around sunset for some cool lighting. According to the CVNP website, during nice weather and throughout the summer, the parking lot is generally full between 10 am and 4 pm. They are not kidding! 

There are multiple ways to get to Brandywine Falls. If you need an accessible way to visit Brandywine Falls, you will need to park at the Brandywine Falls trailhead parking lot. Again, don’t count on spots being available during peak season at peak times! There is no overflow parking and you will get ticketed (or worse, towed) if you try to park outside of designated parking areas. If you’re just here to see the falls, it’s a two-minute accessible walk from the parking lot. The boardwalk allows strollers, wheelchairs, and wagons easily. Because of this, Brandywine Falls is very family-friendly! 

If you’d like a short walk along with your view of the falls, the Brandywine Gorge Trail is your best option. It is a 1.4-mile hike from the Brandywine Falls trailhead parking lot. This is not accessible, but pretty easy with an elevation gain of only 164 feet.

In my opinion, the best way to see Brandywine Falls is to have it be the culmination of a longer hike. This makes the falls a “reward” for a long journey while also solving the problem of not getting a parking spot in the designated lot. 

Looking for more trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park? Check out these ones:
Ledges Trail
Wetmore Trail

There are multiple routes for getting to Brandywine Falls as part of a longer hike. 

Stanford Trail to Brandywine Falls Trail is 3.9 miles long. Because it culminates in the falls, it is heavily trafficked. Parking is easier at Stanford House than at the Brandywine Falls trailhead parking lot, but the lot is still small and only fits about a dozen cars. As with all of CVNP, it gets very muddy after rainy days. 

The Full on CVNP 2 Brandywine Falls trail is 5.1 miles. It has 426 ft of elevation gain and starts at the Boston Mills visitor center. The trail is a little confusing and has some sections that are only on roads instead of trails. If you’d prefer to stay on trails and don’t need to follow a map for the whole hike, I’d do an out and back on the second half of the trail and skip the first half entirely. There is a ton of parking at Boston Mills and you can check out the visitor center when you’re there. Learn more about the Full on CVNP 2 Trail Challenge here!

Photo by Jamye Jamison

Is Brandywine Falls Dog Friendly? 

Like all of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Brandywine Falls is dog-friendly. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. For those with a reactive dog (like mine), pick your timing carefully. The boardwalk is not very large and if there is another dog on it, your dog may ruin your time at the falls. Remember to pack out your dog’s poop (and any other garbage from your trip to the falls)!

We crossed this cool bridge on the Full on CVNP 2 Brandywine Falls Route.

Have any questions about your trip to Brandywine Falls? Do you agree that it’s the best waterfall in Ohio? Comment below!

Updated December 4, 2023

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