All Aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
By Katie Brewer
Located in Northeast Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) runs through the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The train is your ticket to experience the natural scenery the park has to offer and to learn about the rich history of the railroad. Running along 26 miles of track from Independence to Akron, passengers will see things like eagle nests, a beaver marsh, the Cuyahoga River and more.
The most popular ride is the National Park Scenic excursion, which is a three-and-a-half-hour roundtrip through the park. Passengers can choose from a variety of seating options including coach, table top, first class, upper dome and executive class. With a coach all-day pass, passengers can deboard at our three main stations along the route and walk the trails, visit local shops or grab a bite at the local restaurants. Tickets range from $15 – $35 per person. CVSR members receive complimentary tickets for the National Park Scenic excursion any day of the week.
Passengers can catch the train at any of the three main boarding stations in Independence, Peninsula and Akron. During June through August, the train runs Wednesdays through Sundays at various times throughout the day. Check the train schedule to view departure times.
Take in the sights of Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) by bike along the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail and then ride the train back to your station of origin or vice versa. The unique Bike Aboard program allows cyclists to bring their bikes aboard the train, making for a fun day of exploring.
The train can be flagged down at any of the boarding stations by waving both arms over your head. Bike Aboard is $5 per person and is paid upon boarding (ages three and older). For frequent riders, an annual Bike Aboard pass is available for $35 per person and allows cyclists to ride as many times as they wish. To check the mileage between stations and learn more, visit cvsr.org/bike-aboard.
Kayakers can also ride down the Cuyahoga River and take the train back to where they started. A single kayak is $10, and a double kayak is $15. Be sure to check with CVNP about any alerts they may have for the water trail.
Visit Hale Farm & Village, a living history museum, aboard the Hale Farm Explorer. Here, guests will experience daily mid-19th century life depicted through dozens of historic structures, farm animals, heritage gardens, cooking presentations, and demonstrations of early American craft and trades. Passengers board the train at either Rockside or Akron stations and ride the train to Indigo Lake, then a tram meets guests at Indigo Lake station to take them to Hale Farm & Village. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children.
Spend the day with the family aboard one of CVSR’s family friendly rides. These train rides are designed specifically with kids in mind to keep them entertained and provide educational experiences. Events include: CVNP Rail Roving, Bingo on the Train, Disney Pixar Trivia, Board Games, Superheroes on the Train, Royalty on the Rails, stuffed animal workshops and more. Tickets range from $15 – $35 per person.
In addition, families can climb aboard for Read Aboard throughout the week. On this hour-and-a-half trip, children will listen to a short story read by a local librarian and participate in a hands-on craft. Tickets for Read Aboard are $10 for adults and $8 for children.
CVSR also offers dining excursions including Breakfast Along the Cuyahoga and Dinner on the Train. Families can climb aboard on Saturday mornings at Peninsula Depot and watch the passing scenery as they’re served a three-course breakfast (menu changes monthly). Tickets for Breakfast Along the Cuyahoga are $40 per person and $27 for children.
Looking for a nice night out? Dinner on the Train is a weekly dinner train that will transport guests back to the golden age of railroading. Every Friday night passengers board the vintage Silver Solarium and Silver Lariat California Zephyr train cars to enjoy four-courses of chef prepared food.
A complimentary bar is available for guests and wine is poured throughout the courses. Tickets are $115 per person for dome seating and $105 per person for first class seating. Dinner on the Train is only for passengers ages 21 and older.
CVSR also offers Friday night event trains like Canvas and Wine on the Rails, Murder Mystery, Trivia and Bingo on the Train, Grape Escape wine tasting, Ales on Rails™ beer tasting, Mixology, Music on the Train and party cars with changing themes. These events can be found at cvsr.org/Friday-night-events.
Tickets for all train rides can be purchased online at www.cvsr.org or by calling 1-800-468-4070. It is recommended that passengers purchase tickets prior to boarding and arrive at the station 30 minutes prior to departure time.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad