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Let's Go Hiking at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park

Updated on December 7, 2014

Where is Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park?

A markerNelson Kennedy Ledges State Park -
Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park, Garrettsville, OH 44231, USA
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One of the best places to take a short hike in Northeast Ohio.


Summer is fantastic in Ohio. It gets warmer, everything turns green again, and I know I get to do some hiking. I have been trying to get out more and explore some new places, but something always brings me back here. Right back to Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park.

Also known as Nelson Ledges State Park, or by simply just Nelson Ledges, this beautiful state park will take you through some of the most unique terrain found in Northern Ohio. It is located a few miles from one of Ohio's busiest state highways (State Route 422) and very easy to access from a variety of locations throughout the state.

For me it is a place of childhood exploration, teenage romance, and now a place where me and my hubby just re-commune with the stone and enjoy nature. The facts from this lens can be found here.

All photos ├é┬ęCassandraCae unless otherwise noted.

About Nelson-Kennedy Ledges

Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is located on State Route 282 in Nelson Township, Ohio. Though the park is small, only roughly 167 acres, it provides patrons with three miles of hiking bliss.

There are four different hiking trails, some of which intertwine with one another. They range in different difficulties and are marked throughout the park. The guide for trails can be seen in the sign from the park below.

Different landmarks in Nelson Ledges State Park have really quirky names like "Shipwreck Rock" and "Devil's Icebox". As summer progresses I will be adding photos and information on all the different landmarks throughout the entire park. Their locations can also be seen in the map that is linked below.

Entrance sign for the park, placed well before the parking lot so you don't miss it.

This area is to the right of the entrance with the stairs, take your time and stop by here because there are paper copies of the map linked below at this board. If you wanna see all the sites listed, I suggest picking up one of these maps. It is easy to get confused in the cliffs, you won't get lost because the trail is only three miles long but you might miss all the cool landmarks.

The Rules

Everything is marked very clearly in Ohio's state parks. Nelson Ledges Kennedy Park is no different. This sign explains the rules of the park and has a trail guide. The only thing that makes me sad about this place is that you are not allowed to climb with ropes. I do believe this is because of insurance costs and erosion.

My fav paths are the red and yellow ones.....I just love all those cliffs.

Don't Forget....

  1. Bug Spray
  2. Sunscreen
  3. A pair of shoes that can get muddy or torn without much concern. Skip the flops if you wanna do some climbing.
  4. A camera
  5. Check the weather reports before you leave.
  6. Tell someone where you are going. Safety First!

My Hiking in Ohio Shoes

Buy your Own Vibram FiveFIngers!

I love Vibram FiveFingers. They are the best all purpose shoe I have even owned. They are sized perfectly for your feet because you measure your foot with a ruler. Don't worry though, they have very detailed instructions on finding your sizes on their website.

These are my go to shoes for hiking a climbing. They look a little different, I know. They are called Vibram FiveFingers.

Once you get used to them they are the most amazing shoes you will ever own. They really allow for full movement of your toes and foot. This produces better balance and stability in situations where footing is rough and minimal.

If you love being barefoot, this is the closest thing to it. Strong enough that I have stepped on many a rock and twig and I haven't been able to puncture the bottoms of these shoes yet.

Nelson Ledges is somewhere with very few to no venomous creatures. When hiking in areas where venomous snakes and spiders are common or really heavy brush is everywhere, I wouldn't suggest these. Something that covers your foot fully would be more appropriate.

For trail hiking and running, these are THE BEST!!!!!

The Park's History

Everyone has their own history at Nelson Ledges State Park but the history of the area precedes this by hundred of years.

Different Native American tribes including the Delaware, Shawnee, Miami, Seneca, Mohawk, and Cajuga. This area provided vital necessities and was probably popular because of it's proximity to the highest point in Ohio.

As time passed it became a primary trade route that even settlers and pioneers took advantage of.

More time passed and agriculture in the area flourished, creating a huge cheese market. In 1949 this area came under full state protection and became what we know it as today.

Take an Interactive Hike

Located as soon as you enter the park up the stairs, on the left is this wild formation of stone known as Shipwreck Rock.

This is the trail that runs along the bottom of the cliffs.

Trees Always Find A Way

Trees are amazing!
Trees are amazing!

It doesn't matter that there are rocks everywhere, these trees always find their way to soil.

Cascade Falls, cool refreshing water flows from up above down into Crystal Creek below.

Cascade Falls also falls into Gold Hunters Cave (picture coming soon)

Thought the space is tight it isn't impossible. My hubby is working his way through what is know as "The Squeeze" this area is so nice and cool. The air on top of the cliffs was a little over 90 but in between the cliffs, it was about 80. The closer to the "Devil's Icebox" you get, the cooler it is. That's why this is such a great summer hike.

More Great Rock Formations - at Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Don't Forget to Pack a Lunch

Tables and grills are provided for you convenience at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park. All of the picnic sites are also shaded. There are some closer to the parking lot and some tucked back in the woods. There are also restroom facilities provided which can be very important.

Where do you like to hike?

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    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 3 years ago

      As an avid hiker and nature photographer in Kentucky I am always on the lookout for new places to explore. Your description of Nelson-Ledges State Park is very good and it appears to have similar topography to the parks I visit.

      I don't think I'll ever wear those fivefinger shoes,though!,LOL

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Sorry about that, I hit the post button to soon.

      Great Lens & great effort to get that many likes. I must be doing something wrong :)

      My lens Australia to Germany went up in 2009 & only have 36 likes. Interesting.

      Anyway, I'm following you on TWITTER now, and maybe I can learn something from you.

      Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 4 years ago

      I've often heard of Nelson Ledges, but don't think I've ever been there. After seeing these pictures, I've gotta get over there! The rocks remind me of Hocking County. I do most of my hiking at Spangler Park over here in Wayne County.

    • CassandraCae profile image

      Cassandra Kuthy 4 years ago from Ohio

      @RHKnight: Nelson Ledges is a small park with a big story to tell, people from around the world come to this little spot in Ohio so close to Amish Country.

      I can't remember her name but I got the idea from a lens of the day. I saw she went hiking in this gorgeous National Park and automatically Nelson came into mind.

      When you do try to remember me....I would love to see it.....I love exploring!

    • RHKnight profile image

      RHKnight 4 years ago

      You did such a great detailed squidoo journey here. How did you get the idea? I love the rocks too! Maybe I will try this sometime on an outdoors adventure here.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      I used to hike a lot in northern California. Your photos are great, and I'm inspired to hike in Los Angeles, where I live now.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Your pictures are so beautiful, and the park loos great. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful part of the world ! Wonderful lens - Best wishes :)

    • rking96 profile image

      Rick King 4 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Being from this part of Ohio, my family has been to this park many times. Always a great adventure. Your pictures are very well done.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      We love hiking nature trails and taking pictures! Very relaxing and great exercise!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

      The hiking shoes I am getting interested in, especially the slip on.We do hiking in the Sierra Nevedas. Lots of rock and pumice and anything to help my balance would be a plus, and I am a bare foot person.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thank you for this beautiful tour of Nelson Ledges State Park. Enjoyed.

    • shewins profile image

      shewins 4 years ago

      If I'm ever in Ohio I'll know where to go. Love the pictures.

    • k4shmir profile image

      k4shmir 4 years ago

      Nice place, nice photo taken. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      kathy-blessing-526 4 years ago

      This park is beautiful! I would love to go there and see it in person on our next trip to Ohio. Thanks for sharing this info and pics of Nelson Ledges. Looks really great for hikers and I like the fact that you can get a map and pick your trail to suit your hiking skills.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 4 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Looks like great fun, thanks for sharing!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Wow that is quite the hiking trail. I think I would freak out in the Devil's squeeze though lol. When I saw Nelson in your title I thought that your article might be of a town that is nearby to us. You surprised me. Love your pictures.

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Great pictures. Looks like a beautiful place!

    • profile image

      gregxavier 4 years ago

      Great Lens fits into our camping life.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 4 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      nice lens and photos!

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 4 years ago

      Bucket listed - great lens!

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      Wow. That looks nice. Would love to visit someday.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Ohio is much greener and lush compared to the dryness of where I live in Colorado. Enjoyed your photos.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Your shoes look very nice! However, you have a great collection of photos here, thanks for sharing these pictures and I must say the State Park is beautiful :)

    • marktplaatsshop profile image

      marktplaatsshop 4 years ago

      wow this is an amazing lens, great pictures, I has never seen five finger shoes they are cute, you have more grip and stability, like you said., thanks for sharing, I like to hike in the woods, after it rained thank you for liking my lens on the honey bee and the samsung chroomebook

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Ohio, eh? I once lived in Michigan for awhile, and my experience with going to Ohio was driving south from Jackson to the Ohio border to buy fireworks right before Independence Day!