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Let's Go Hiking at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park
Where is Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park?
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 Â©CassandraCae 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.
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.
- Bug Spray
- A pair of shoes that can get muddy or torn without much concern. Skip the flops if you wanna do some climbing.
- A camera
- Check the weather reports before you leave.
- 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
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 ParkClick 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.