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We Hiked the Ledges Trail, Cuyahoga...Want a Tour?


Come hike with us and discover the Ledges Trail inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  As one of the top three hikes in Cuyahoga Valley, knowing all about the experience will give you the edge for a great adventure.  We can’t wait to hike this trail with you today so Let’s Get Started.  To watch the video version of this post click here or continue reading below





When you first enter Cuyahoga Valley you need to understand how to navigate the park so 


Where is the Ledges Trailhead located?  


Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in suburban Cleveland, Ohio just south of Lake Erie and north of Akron.  The park is long stretching north and south but wider at the southern end. The ledges is south of the Boston Mill visitor center on the east side of the park off of Kendall Park Road.  You will find it near the bottom of the park on the east side.  To guide you in use 701 Truxell Rd Peninsula OH 44264 in your map app.  This is the address of the Ledges Shelter that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and is a good landmark for the parking lot and trailhead.  But the shelter is also good for picnic lunches, restrooms, and water. 


maps from google and the National Park Service


As we continue you may be wondering 


What is the History of the Ledges?  


As most of the area in the Great Lakes these ledges were created and affected by the glaciers as they receded from the area. Over time the freeze thaw of the region through seasons and gravity have caused the weathering, cracks, gaps, and erosion visible during your hike. More recently the land was owned by a farmer named William Ritchie.  But the over 400 acres was purchased by a coal magnate who used it for recreation. But, before he died he made sure the land was donated and used forever as a park. His wish came true first by the state of Ohio in 1929 and then by the city of Akron in 1933. In 1974 the national park service took over and the land officially became part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The area is still named after his wife and is known as the Virginia Kendall unit.  Coming up later we will share whether we think hiking this trail is worth it but, 




What is the Geology of the Ledges?


On the trail you will see a variety of terrain.  Most of the hike is through forest but rock ledges of Sharon Conglomerate make it clear what this trail is known for. The ledges are large masses of sandstone rock that appear next to and beneath the trail. Walking next to the ledges they rise up to 30 feet tall. You can actually walk through these stone features too. You can get lost in the maze of rock as you witness the different textures and shapes that have been in creation for millions of years. 




You may wonder whether this is a difficult hike but first, 



How long does it take to hike the Ledges trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park?


The ledges trail is a 1.8 mile loop. But you can get lost in the ledges. What I mean is there are multiple paths through the ledges and you can take extra time to explore and plan on a little more than an hour to hike the trail. If you want to spend more time exploring the area, extend your commitment to 2 hours.



We’ll continue on in a minute but first, 


Every good hike needs a dad joke:  Why can’t Microsoft lovers enjoy hiking?  Because they are always on Edge. 


Here are dad joke books for great gifts: Dad Jokes Around the Campfire: https://amzn.to/3JinFJ2 600 Funniest Dad Jokes: https://amzn.to/3EPGv7D To view any product mentioned by us in our posts and videos, click this link: https://www.amazon.com/shop/campbrood As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.


ok back to the Ledges and 


What is the Hardest Hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park? 

 

The ledges hike in Cuyahoga is generally considered the hardest hike in the park. But it’s short. In the hike you will find uneven stone steps. There are also a lot of rocks and roots on the trails making the footing more difficult than many of the paved trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  Here you might consider trekking poles and good hiking shoes.





We talk about what else to pack for this hike later but


How Difficult is the Ledges Trail Cuyahoga Valley?


The Ledges Trail is a popular hiking destination within Cuyahoga Valley National Park, offering a moderately challenging loop through diverse terrain. It winds through dense forest and showcases stunning cliffs that have been carved by natural forces over thousands of years.  The trail is well-marked with trail signs and occasional stone steps to aid hikers in navigating steeper sections. But, while it's rated as moderate in difficulty, some parts may be more challenging, especially for novice hikers or those with mobility issues.  If you want an easier route stay on the marked trail and hike in dry weather.  This trail is not wheelchair accessible like Brandywine Falls or the towpath trail. 





But let’s get back to the Ledges trail and answer,


What Should You Take With You When Hiking the Ledges Trail?  


We found this hike to be an easier one for us. But you should still carry the essentials.  Make sure you have a good day pack and carry water on every hike.  The next item we will never be without is a first aid kit.  With the varied terrain an ice pack and bandages will come in handy if someone stumbles and falls.  Good hiking shoes are helpful to keep your traction on the roots, rocks, and steps.  If the ground is wet this is more important.  The trail can get a little confusing so bring a map and compass to help guide you along the way.  If you are hiking in the evening make sure you pack a flashlight.  If you get delayed the flashlight will be a lifesaver when the sun goes down.  Food is not required for this small hike but you never know when you might get hungry and having something packed is better than hearing your stomach growl for the remainder of the hike. 



Here are examples of what we use to hike Cuyahoga Valley National Park


Teton Sports Hydration Pack Video Review: https://youtu.be/KEBrYwp8RQk

Amazon Link: 2021 model https://amzn.to/3SnKcGR


Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E hydration backpack Video Review for younger hikers: https://youtu.be/WbRgZr6C20g


Merrell Moab II Men's Hiking Shoes: https://amzn.to/3Ardw8k


The First Aid Kit we carry: https://amzn.to/3Lcvu2h

Tactical Flashlights: https://amzn.to/3QLY25T





Are Dogs allowed on the Ledges Trail?


Cuyahoga Valley National Park welcomes dogs on the trails.  The Ledges trail is dog friendly.  Pets are allowed under control of their owner on a 6 foot leash.  But, with some tight areas on the trail it is best to only take dogs that won’t bark or try to walk up to other hikers or pets.  Consider the trail conditions as well.  The terrain has difficult areas with steps, rocks and roots.  Not all dogs will be able to make it through the Ledges.  Respect the terrain and consider the age and ability of your dog when choosing to take them on any trail.  But, most important is to follow leave no trace principles.  Carry pet waste bags and use them if your k-9 needs them.  Dispose of the waste in trash cans back at the parking lot.  



Do you like this walk and talk format?  We share all of the trails we hike in this format to give you views of as much of the trail as possible.  Subscribe/join today so that when you search for your next hike we show up at the top of your search results.


What can you see on the Ledges Trail in Cuyahoga National Park?


The Ledges Trail is full of forest views for all to enjoy.  The topography changes throughout the trail providing varying views of the forest and sandstone cliffs.  In the forest you will choose to see things up close but then notice you are gazing through the forest at what is next or to be on the lookout for deer, squirrel, other animals and birds.  The forest is open to enjoy the depth of the scenery.  You will even see tall decades old trees growing out of the side of the ledges suspended in the air above you.  As you descend down into the trail the steps are worth reviewing.  Some say they were built by the CCC.  But some of the steps have been proven in existence before the 1930s.  The fallen trees on the forest floor provide more to examine and wonder.  But, 



What are the Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park?


Forest hikes are great but the centerpiece of this trail are the sandstone ledges.  These rock features are plentiful on the trail and made specifically of Sharon Conglomerate.  Be on the lookout for unique rock formations, crevices, varied textures, and views from above and below.  The ledges have been formed over millions of years and some of the rock has fallen and settled in disarray now covered in moss along the trail after years frozen in time.  Watch your step so you don’t stumble on smaller stones within your path.  In the ledges you may find bats.  Please leave no trace and stay on trails as the bats have been battling disease and are fragile. The forest casts shadows on sunny days and the colors and textures of the sandstone come to life through the trees.  Watch your step as you view from above as the cliff is random and losing your footing could mean injury or death.  



Is Hiking the Ledges in Cuyahoga National Park Worth it?


The Ledges trail is great for hikers of all ages and families looking for a fun adventure.  The trail isn’t rigid.  You are welcome to explore next to, inside, and through the ledges.  These features allow kids and adults the ability to choose their own path creating a unique experience for everyone.  Photographers will find many views worth saving.  You’ll find great shots of vast landscapes through the forest, views of towering ledges, but the closeup photos of the rock details and vegetation are just as powerful.  The varied terrain will keep you focused with no time for boredom.  But trail conditions are affected by the weather.  Dry sunny days are preferred and will provide for the best recreation.  Rainy days will provide for a more technical hike.  Beware of snow and ice as the rocks can be dangerous during below freezing temperatures.



To learn more about Cuyahoga Valley National Park and plan your vacation read these posts next!



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