Akron parks showcase autumn's beauty

Pamela Barnes, an educational specialist for the Cuyahoga Valley National Forest, recalls the fall season during her college days.

It helps you clear your mind. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a student but I can remember the stress, Barnes said.

In the next couple of weeks, the autumn season will begin to fade away, and nearly all of the colorful leaves will fall to the ground.

With midterms right around the corner and winter well on its way, it seems there isn’t a better time to experience the fall season than right now, during the peak of the fall colors. There are three local parks which offer a natural fall landscape within fifteen miles of The University of Akron.

Brandywine Falls is north of campus and provides scenery for anyone seeking an aquatic landscape. After descending down the V-shaped ravine, the Cuyahoga River can be seen crashing over the edge of a 60-foot cliff and down into the river basin below.

Any place where there’s water you’re going to get some beautiful reflections from the colors off the water, Barnes said.

Casey Burdick, the fall color expert for the Ohio Division of Natural Resources said, My favorite thing – especially after a hot summer like we had this year – I like that it cools off and we can actually get out and enjoy the outdoors.

The Towpath Trail at Memorial Parkway Trailhead is just a few miles northeast of UA. The towpath provides fall foliage for anyone who wouldn’t want to venture too far from campus. Barnes suggested taking a bike ride along this historic route that borders the canal.

Virginia Kendall Park offers a variety of natural landscapes ranging from the icebox cave to a 1.8-mile trail to the ledges overlook, a western-facing cliff ascending high above the treetops. Looking out from the overlook, the colors of fall seem to clash together out in the vast Cuyahoga Valley below.

When you go to the overlook [at Virginia Kendall] you can appreciate the work that people went through to create this National Park. A lot of people had to work very hard to keep that view preserved, Barnes said.

There are plenty of parks in the surrounding UA area that can enhance the fall season. It’s a great time to get outdoors and experience the beauty of the season, as there’s only a short time left before the leaves will be gone and the snow starts to fall.

For more information about parks in the surrounding area, visit www.summitmetroparks.org and www.nps.gov/cuva.