Have you ever heard of the ledges before? A unique landmark scattered throughout northeast Ohio, these rocks are remnants from millions of years ago when Ohio was an ancient ocean. The formations were carved and broken when fast-moving waters cut through the sandstone as they emptied into the inland sea that was once Ohio. Pretty cool, right? Add these ledges to your bucket list of adventures this year and explore the ledges of northeast Ohio!
The Ritchie Ledges
Likely the most notable and popular due to its location within Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this area feels otherworldly. The trail around The Ledges is 1.8 miles and connects to a larger network of trails in the area. I love doing this hike in the evening, and ending my hike watching a stunning sunset at the ledges overlook.
A park of Hinckley Reservation, Whipps Ledges offers similar views to that of Ritchie Ledges. This is easily one of my favorite places to visit during the fall. I park at the Top O’ Ledges picnic area and create a loop which about a mile long. There are also opportunities to rock climb here with a permit. It’s always fun to watch when the climbers are there!
Just like the Whipps Ledges, Worden’s Ledges are also a part of Hinckley Reservation, so if you’re making the trip I’d highly suggest seeing both in the same visit. Worden’s Ledges is truly a unique treasure with the incredibly carvings in the rock formations. This hike is a little less than a mile and considered easy. I definitely took my time hiking through here trying to find all of the carvings I could.
Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park
This state park offers so much including cliffs, waterfalls, and a beautiful natural landscape. If you’re up for the challenge, there are even a few spots while you’re hiking you’ll need to get on your hands and knees to crawl through some small spaces like the Devil’s Icebox. Each trail is less than a mile along, so I like to string a few together to make the most of it. My favorite is the Red Trail, which is considered difficult. This area tends to be pretty muddy, so make sure you have appropriate footwear on.
Thompson Ledges Township Park
Quite possibly one of my favorite hidden gems in the region, I first hiked here this past summer and was blown away by the quiet and beauty. Make sure you’re paying attention when driving, I almost drove by the entrance of this park and it appears quite suddenly. While the parking lot is unexciting, make your way toward the stairs and descend down into this magical little wonderland. The trail is a short out and back and you’ll know when to turn around as you’ll hit a dead end once you reach the sand quarry. If you go here in the summer be sure to bring repellent as there was a decent amount of bugs when I hiked it.
Princess Ledges Nature Preserve
The Princess Ledges is a little over a mile loop hike. Out of all the ledges, I would consider this one the most “underwhelming” as there are only a few rock formations scattered around, and they don’t boast nearly the same height as some of the other formations throughout the region. This nature preserve is a quiet little slice of nature though and I would still recommend going and enjoying the hike. These are close enough to both Worden’s and Whipps that you could easily do all three in one day.
Gorge Metro Park
The only park in the Akron area with the rock formations, this park is a must see! The Gorge trail provides access to this beautiful, massive cave and is an easy half-mile walk from the parking lot. The trail does becomes more rugged as it passes through the rock formations.
There you have it. Beautiful rock formations known as the “ledges” definitely make you feel like you’re not in Ohio. Explore the ledges of northeast Ohio and you won’t be disappointed. It’s the perfect bucket list to start chipping away at. Happy hiking!