Cuyahoga Valley National Park vs. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Feel Free To Share:

If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Overview

Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Overview

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park. Plan your visit today!

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Hiking Trails

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a beautiful place to go hiking with many different trails to choose from. The easiest trail is the Towpath Trail which is level and paved making it great for those who are looking for an easy hike or for those with strollers or wheelchairs. The most difficult trail is the Ledges Trail which has a few steep areas and is mostly rocky. Whichever trail you choose, you are sure to have a great time exploring Cuyahoga Valley National Park!

Best Hikes At Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Pine Grove Trail 27.7368 1 loop 4
Buckeye Trail and Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Loop 101.8032 3 loop 4
Oak Hill Trail 28.956 1 loop 4
Ledges Trail and Pine Grove Trail Loop 83.82 3 loop 4.5
Boston to Red Lock Loop via Buckeye Trail and Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath 235.9152 3 loop 4
Wetmore Outer Loop 243.84 3 loop 4.5
Tree Farm Trail 44.8056 1 loop 3.5
Riding Run Trail Loop 130.7592 3 loop 4.5
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath: Peninsula to Boston Mills 25.908 1 out and back 4.5
Perkins Trail and Riding Run Loop 164.8968 3 loop 4.5

Hiking Overview at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best places to hike in the United States. The park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy to difficult. For hikers who are looking for an easy hike, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a great option. This 5-mile roundtrip hike winds through a beautiful forest and is mostly flat. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the 210-mile Appalachian Trail runs through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This hike is not for the faint of heart, but those who complete it are rewarded with stunning views of the mountains. No matter what your hiking level, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a trail for you.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Jakes Creek Trail to Avent Cabin 146.9136 1 out and back 4.5
Mount Le Conte 993.9528 5 out and back 5
Gregory Bald via Twentymile 1145.7432 7 loop 4.5
Smokemont Loop Trail 428.8536 3 loop 4
Chestnut Branch Trail to Mount Cammerer 1005.84 5 out and back 4.5
Silers Bald and Forney Creek Loop Trail 1589.8368 7 loop 4.5
Cataloochee Divide Trail 850.6968 5 out and back 4.5
Chestnut Top Trail to Whiteoak Sink 602.8944 3 out and back 4
Brushy Mountain 528.828 5 out and back 4
Noland Divide Trail 1457.8584 5 point to point 4

Wildlife at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and opossums. The park also has a large population of songbirds, such as robins, cardinals, and blue jays. In addition, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is home to numerous amphibians and reptiles, including frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, and snakes. Visitors to the park should be aware that Cuyahoga Valley National Park is also home to black bears. While bear sightings are rare, it is important to know what to do if you encounter one. For more information on Cuyahoga Valley National Park wildlife, please visit the park’s website or speak with a ranger during your visit.

Wildlife at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. Over 10,000 species of plants and animals can be found throughout the park, making it one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. Among the most popular animals in the park are black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, coyotes, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park bees. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also home to a wide variety of bird species, including sandpipers, herons, woodpeckers, and red-tailed hawks. In addition to its abundance of wildlife, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also home to some of the tallest trees in the eastern United States. The park’s forests are dominated by fir and hemlock trees, but you can also find maple, oak, and poplar trees throughout the park. No matter what time of year you visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there’s sure to be something new and exciting to see.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Weather Considerations

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in Ohio and experiences a variety of weather conditions throughout the year. The best time to visit the park is during the spring or fall when the temperatures are mild and there is less chance of rain. The worst time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park is during the summer when the temperatures can be hot and humid, and there is a greater chance of thunderstorms. However, no matter what time of year you visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park, be sure to dress appropriately for the weather conditions and pack plenty of water.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Weather Considerations

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a beautiful place to visit any time of year. However, the weather can vary significantly depending on the season. In the winter, the temperatures can dip well below freezing, and the roads may be covered in ice and snow. Spring is a great time to visit, as the temperatures are milder and the flowers are in bloom. However, visitors should be aware that thunderstorms are common in the spring. Summer is the busiest time of year at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as the weather is warm and sunny. However, visitors should be prepared for occasional afternoon showers. Fall is another great time to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as the leaves change color and the crowds thin out. However, visitors should be aware that cold weather can arrive early in the fall, so it’s important to pack a jacket.