If You're Near Cleveland Ohio, Check Out This "Secret" State Park
If you live in or near Cleveland (or anywhere in Ohio or the surrounding states for that matter), a trip to Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is a must! Located in Northeastern Ohio, about a 50 minute drive from Cleveland, this park is a popular local destination due to its hiking trails, scenery and wildlife watching.
The park has a rich history. The area was important to many local Native American tribes like the Delaware, Shawnee, Mohawk and Seneca, and became an important trade center between the pioneers and Native Americans. It became an important agricultural and cheese-making area, and by 1834, Ohio was the primary cheese provider to the Southern states. It became a state park in 1949 in order to preserve this natural wonder!
At only 167 acres, the park is small for a State Park, but there is a lot packed into this small package! The trademarks of the park are its amazing rock formations that, unlike elsewhere, weren't hidden from view by soil and vegetation left by receding glaciers.
The spectacular sandstone ledges were created by wind, rain and ice/snow that gradually eroded the outer, soft layers of rock. As these wore away, chunks of harder rock, called slump rock, fell away. The more sturdy layers of rock remained, creating the famous ledges.
There are four hiking trails at the park. They range from the easy 1 mile White Trail to the difficult 1/2 mile Red Trail. Due to the steep rock ledges and rough terrain on some trails, it's highly advisable to stay on the trails. Wandering off trail can be very dangerous. There is more so much beautiful scenery to see from the trails that there is no need to go off-trail!
Many different plant species make the park their home, including ferns, wildflowers and trees. If you're a flower lover, you definitely need to visit in spring when the rare, red trillium is in full bloom. Although they are rare for this area, trees such as Canada Yew, Canadian Birch and yellow birch grow in the park. The park is a wildlife watcher's dream with an abundance of song birds and small mammals like raccoon, squirrels and skunks.
Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is open year-round, but it is day use only. If you want to camp, you can do so at some nearby campgrounds or at Punderson State Park.
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