Cuyahoga Valley National Park vs Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve

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Explore the stark contrast between Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio and Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve in Alaska. While Cuyahoga Valley boasts rolling hills, scenic waterfalls, and historic sites, Gates of the Arctic offers a rugged wilderness full of glaciers and pristine peaks. These two parks offer vastly different experiences, but both are perfect for nature lovers seeking adventure. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike or a challenging expedition, these parks have something for everyone. So, buckle up and get ready for a journey that will take you from the heartland to the Arctic, as we compare and contrast these two amazing national parks.

Hiking Trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve

Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio and Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve in Alaska offer vastly different hiking experiences. Cuyahoga Valley has well-established trails like the 20-mile Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, an easy and scenic path along a historic canal. The Ledges Trail, on the other hand, offers a more strenuous hike with views of rugged cliffs and rock formations. In contrast, Gates of the Arctic is a true wilderness destination with no established trails, requiring visitors to navigate through remote and rugged terrain. Hikes in Gates of the Arctic can range from challenging, such as climbing peaks in the Brooks Range or exploring valleys of the Koyukuk River, to a unique and immersive experience in the Alaskan wilderness.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Ledges Trail 2.59 mi 154.16 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Brandywine Gorge Trail 1.70 mi 216.48 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Stanford House to Brandywine Falls Trail 3.79 mi 534.64 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Blue Hen Falls Trail 0.50 mi 78.72 ft out and back Moderate 4/5
Salt Run Trail 4.19 mi 406.72 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Plateau Trail 4.39 mi 318.16 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Pine Grove Trail and Ledges Trail Loop from Kendall Lake 3.79 mi 324.72 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Buckeye Trail to Valley Bridle Trail Loop 3.39 mi 393.60 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Wetmore Bridle Trail 4.69 mi 557.60 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail: Brecksville Station 4.39 mi 68.88 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
0.00 mi 0.00 ft /5

Wildlife in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve

Cuyahoga Valley NP in OH has diverse wildlife such as deer, raccoons, foxes, beavers, and otters. Birders may see bald eagles, herons, and songbirds. Wildflowers like trillium and bloodroot can be seen in spring/summer. Gates of the Arctic NP&P in AK is a wilderness area with exotic wildlife like caribou, moose, grizzly bears, and wolves. It’s a birder’s paradise with species like Arctic tern, gyrfalcon, and rock ptarmigan. The tundra landscape has wildflowers, mosses, lichens, and dwarf shrubs like willow and birch.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow Hermit Thrush
Great Blue Heron American Kestrel
Hermit Thrush Bald Eagle
American Kestrel Northern Pintail
Bald Eagle American Wigeon
Song Sparrow Green-Winged Teal
European Starling American Pipit
Northern Pintail Swainson’s Thrush
American Wigeon Hairy Woodpecker
Green-Winged Teal Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Mammals

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Muskrat
Big Brown Bat Black Bear
Bobcat Porcupine
Striped Skunk Red Fox
Little Brown Bat Mink
Deer Mouse Wolf
Raccoon Short-Tailed Weasel
Silver-Haired Bat Varying Hare
Hoary Bat River Otter
Red Fox Common Shrew
Long-Tailed Weasel Red Squirrel
House Mouse Montane Shrew
Mink Lynx
Gray Fox Wolverine
Badger American Marten
Masked Shrew Grizzly Bear
Red Squirrel Meadow Vole
White-Tailed Deer Moose
Virginia Opossum Least Weasel
Meadow Vole Pygmy Shrew
Red Bat Northern Bog Lemming
White-Footed Mouse
Norway Rat

Amphibians

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve
Northern Leopard Frog Wood Frog
Eastern Tiger Salamander
Bullfrog
Wood Frog

Fish

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve
Northern Largemouth Bass Longnose Sucker
Green Sunfish Lake Trout
Northern Bluegill Sunfish Northern Pike
Northern Fathead Minnow Eelpout
Golden Shiner King Salmon
European Carp Slimy Sculpin
Northern Pike Chum Salmon
Eastern Burbot Dolly Varden
Central Mottled Sculpin Arctic Grayling
Graceful Catfish
Black Crappie
Creek Chub
Goldfish

Beautiful Landscapes in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve

Cuyahoga Valley NP features Ledges Overlook, Brandywine Falls (65ft), Cuyahoga River, Towpath Trail. Gates Of The Arctic NP boasts Brooks Range, Anaktuvuk Pass, Noatak River, Arrigetch Peaks.

Things To-Do and Activities in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve

Cuyahoga Valley NP offers scenic train rides, hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking/canoeing, and fishing. Gates Of The Arctic NP is more focused on backpacking, wilderness camping, river rafting, and challenging hiking with stunning glacier/alpine views, as well as wildlife viewing opportunities.

Best Time to Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve

Cuyahoga Valley NP in Ohio has a temperate climate with hot summers (60-80°F) and cold winters with snowfall. Best time to visit is May-Oct.
Gates of the Arctic NP & Preserve in Alaska has a subarctic climate, with harsh winters, short cool summers (40-60°F) and is only accessible by air or foot. Best time to visit is late Jun-early Sep. Weather can be unpredictable.

Family Friendliness of Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is more family-friendly than Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. CVNP offers many kid-friendly activities such as hiking, fishing, canoeing, and scenic train rides. In contrast, Gates of the Arctic is a wilderness park with limited infrastructure and no designated trails, making it less accessible for families with young children. CVNP also has multiple campgrounds, picnic areas, and education centers, while Gates of the Arctic has limited camping options and no visitor services.

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