Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ledges Trail at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Photos by OHventures

The Ledges Area Trails
701 Truxell Road
Peninsula, OH 44264

Visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park can be overwhelming if you don’t head up with a game plan! As Ohio’s one and only National Park, CVNP is a behemoth with so much to uncover, and a diverse array of scenery and activities. It’s best to break up the park into “sections” and tackle each of these areas over a series of days, or over the course of several separate visits to the area.

Previously, we dished on the details of two popular portions of the park, Kendall Lake and the Lock 29 Trailhead. Recently, we visited another section of the park, the Ledges Area Trails, where we hiked the Ledges Trail, located just off of Truxell Road/Kendall Park Road on the south end, and just off of State Route 303 on the north end.

The Ledges Trail itself is a 1.8 mile loop that circles the Ritchie Ledges. The ledges are at some points as high as 100 feet, and so it is incredibly important to use caution when hiking or standing near the edge. The rocky terrain and slight change in elevation ranks this trail as moderate in difficulty.

The primary reason you should take a visit to The Ledges Trail is so that you can catch a gorgeous glimpse from what is known as The Overlook. As the most popular overlook in the park, this rock outcropping gives an unbeatable view of the Cuyahoga Valley (it kind of reminds me of Pride Rock in The Lion King). Since it faces west, it is the ideal spot for beautiful sunset views, and the perfect setting for a picnic. So, pack your food and be sure to plan your dinner around a visit to The Overlook!

The Ice Box Cave is also located along The Ledges Trail, but is currently closed for bat protection. In the center of the large Ledges Trail loop is the Ledges Shelter House, along with a large, open field – a popular spot for camping. Consider bringing along a tent and camping supplies for an overnight stay in the area. While we did not opt to camp on our most recent visit, there were plenty of tents pitched in the field, with a fire pit for roasting marshmallows, and a telescope for stargazing nearby.

Also in the Ledges Area are three smaller and easier trails to hike: Pine Grove Trail (1.5 miles), Forest Point Trail (0.5 miles), and Haskell Run Trail (0.5 miles). If you obtain a map on site, you can find trail connectors that can guide you to each of these small loops in the area. My suggestion is to definitely try the Haskell Run Trail, as it is connected to The Ledges Trail by a tall set of concrete steps that are a sight to see!

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, and you happen to have more time on hand, you should be sure to hike the Pine Grove Trail, and afterwards take the trail connector at the southern end of the loop to cross Truxell Road and head to the Lake Trail & Kendall Shelter. You can read all about the Lake Trail in our previous write-up.

Once you’ve conquered The Ledges Trail, you will be primed for even more exploring in the vast Cuyahoga Valley National Park!

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