In between a highway on-ramp and the Sheraton Suites is a beautiful section of the Cuyahoga River. There, a waterfall known as “The Little Falls” and the surrounding gorge are often overlooked by residents and visitors.
The Little Falls and Big Falls, one mile south in Gorge Metro park, are important to the health of the Cuyahoga River. Like many rivers in industrial areas, dams were installed in the early 1900s to control flooding and to power factories and mills. As a result, the waterfalls disappeared beneath human-made barriers.
In 2013, two dams with 35 feet of concrete were removed from this section of river. Other dams in cities downstream were demolished, creating natural whitewater rapids and revealing the Little Falls.
Today, this section of river has attracted professional whitewater kayakers who test their skills against the might of the Cuyahoga. An annual kayak race features the Class III waterfall “Little Falls,” Class II rapids, and a Class V rapid.
Wildlife has returned to the same river that caught fire 50 years earlier including muskrat, mink, otter, and numerous native fish species.
Know Before You Go
Originally built in 1989, the Sheraton Suites takes advantage of its scenic location. Lower level rooms offer private balconies and multiple conference rooms feature sweeping views of the gorge. A restaurant and bar hang over the cliffs of the gorge which offers some of the best views and the roar of whitewater.
Outdoor access to The Little Falls is limited. The upper section can be viewed seasonally at The Jetty. To get closer to the water, enter the Sheraton hotel lobby and take a right towards the swimming pool. With a room key, enter the swimming pool and exit towards an upper outdoor balcony. Without a room key, take the Rock Elevator which offers views on the way down to a natural rock ledge and walkway.