How would you like to hike 115 miles?
As a beginner hiker, this may seem impossible.
But what if you split it up over four months? Way more doable!
This is the premise of the Full on CVNP2 Challenge that I completed last year. I’ve reviewed each trail in the challenge to give you some different routes throughout the national park. I credit this trail challenge as completing it created the momentum for me to start this blog and kick-started my love of Ohio trails.
Why is Cuyahoga Valley National Park Great?
Let’s start with the location. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the lesser-known national parks but it’s an amazing place to visit. Most of the trails I visited were 30 minutes or less from downtown Cleveland. The park has over 125 miles of hiking trails. These trails are truly amazing in all seasons – yes, even when it’s below freezing. Anyone from beginner hikers to more advanced trail veterans can find a hike that meets their needs. I love that the challenge introduced me to so many trails I likely would not have discovered myself.
One of the best things about CVNP is that, unlike most west coast national parks, CVNP is dog-friendly! This is perfect for tiring out my high-energy dog. He also completed 115 miles of hikes during the challenge. Cuyahoga Valley National park is only about 30-40 minutes from the Cleveland metro area. All of the trails I went to were a quick drive away from my house!
About Full on CVNP
Full on CVNP2 is a 115 mile, 24 trail virtual challenge located in CVNP. Participants can choose the “hike” or “run” version upon signing up. Each participant receives a packet with information about each of the 24 trails with a map, route guides, and history and lore of each route. Maps can also be accessed via AllTrails which was incredibly helpful for map-challenged humans like me. The race organizers also give you the ability to upload your routes via Garmin or other map programs or simply log your mileage and time and submit them on the results page. Participants who complete receive a medal and (more importantly) bragging rights.
I initially balked at the registration fee ($50 for walking in the woods?!) but it was 100% worth it. I was between jobs for two weeks and normally would use that time to travel and visit family but the pandemic was in full swing and I didn’t want to put my family at risk. Full on CVNP gave me a reason to get off the couch and it’s been super fun to see the miles tick away. Also, 10% of the registration fee is donated to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with a request to earmark the funds for trail maintenance. This is super important, especially now that people are looking to get outside more than ever, causing more trail use.
My friend who told me about the challenge created a Google spreadsheet to track her progress. I love spreadsheets so I created my own with formulas to determine how far I’d gone and how many miles were left. Very satisfying. She’s a local and her spreadsheet was filled with helpful tips about terrain (towpath, trail, or combo) and what trailhead to park at. Check mine out in the link and feel free to make a copy if you decide to take on the challenge on your own.
While the Full on CVNP 2 Challenge was only for 2021, the organizers created a new challenge for 2022! It’s called the Green Jewel Challenge. Instead of just trails in CVNP, they are also including trails in the Rocky River and Chagrin River area as well.
The Trails of Full on CVNP 2 Challenge
(In Alphabetical Order)
Check back on this post for links to each hike review!