Hubby planned a surprise roadtrip to a tunnel waterfall

E and I send each other a ton of reels on Instagram.

Sometimes they are funny cat videos. Other times, they are about heartwarmingly adorable interspecies friendships. And once in a while, the reels are of places we’d like to visit someday in our travels together.

When hubby recently sent me a video of a beautiful Ohio waterfall in the Cleveland area that you get to via a mysterious tunnel, I “hearted” it but didn’t think too much more about it.

That tunnel waterfall – the Great Falls of Tinker’s Creek in the Bedford Reservation – was already on my travel bucket list. Since it’s almost two hours from where we live, I figured our visit wouldn’t happen anytime soon.

Never did I dream that hubby would load us all into his Hellcat and head up north to that exact waterfall that same weekend, but that’s exactly what he did! And best of all, he made it a surprise; he told us to get in the car and be ready for a drive, but he didn’t tell us where we were headed.

I do know from experience that anytime E plans a surprise for us, it’s going to be epic. After all, that’s how our 2018 trip to Europe happened!

True to his reputation, this Labor Day family road trip wouldn’t be just a drive to our local lake or a nearby park. He headed north so I wondered if Cleveland could be our destination, but I didn’t say anything. Sometimes it’s more fun to let the anticipation build.

After a quick lunch break at Culver’s in Macedonia, we hopped back in the car and continued on our journey. E always plays the best music on road trips and we were all singing and bopping along. It was truly an awesome family day.

We got to a park entrance and I took a photo of the sign: Viaduct Park at Cleveland Metroparks. It wasn’t ringing any bells at first; I thought it sounded a little familiar but couldn’t recall why. Then, we started walking down a long, wooded incline and heard the sound of rushing water. That’s when I knew we were going to see a BIG waterfall!

I started hopping around, all excited. Z still had no clue where we were, but the sound of a large, majestic waterfall is unmistakable to me at this point. I knew we were in for a special treat.

We got to a set of stone steps down to an odd, old-looking, low stone tunnel. I gasped – I was pretty sure this was THE tunnel waterfall I had seen on Instagram!

I had read in the comments that you have to bend over to get through the low viaduct, and boy do you – I actually bumped my head at one low spot in the middle. Once you get out of that dark tunnel, however, the lush and gorgeous sight right before your eyes makes you forget all about it.

The Great Falls are simply epic! It’s worth noting that there are multiple viewing spots from the overlooks above the falls, so you don’t actually have to stumble through that creepy low viaduct tunnel if you don’t want to. I happened to love the special viewing spot that tunnel led to – and the overall unique experience – so I’m glad we did it.

After the viaduct, you can continue down the slope and then climb down a fairly steep set of stone steps all the way down to the river’s edge. From there, it’s relatively easy to rock-hop over to the pool directly in front of the falls. My favorite kind of waterfalls are the ones where you can get super close to them.

The sight, sounds and cooling mist from a rushing waterfall are a balm for the soul – especially on a hot day. Note that there is no swimming or wading allowed here, although we certainly saw people in the water.

We hung out by the waterfall pool and downstream river for a while, explored the various vantage points and photo spots, and took a ton of photos. Eventually, it was time to hike back up that l-o-n-g incline to get to the car. We got a great leg workout as an added bonus!

The Great Falls at Tinker’s Creek is now officially one of my top three favorite waterfalls in Ohio. It’s truly splendid – and it hasn’t even rained much recently. I can only imagine how this baby must cascade in the spring after some good rains.

Do you have a favorite waterfall in Ohio? See if it’s on my Ohio waterfall trail list – and if not, be sure to drop me a note in the comments below or over on Facebook. We’re always looking for ideas for our next waterfalling road trip!

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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