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Ledges Trail

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

The Ledges Trail, an easy 2.2-mile loop through the heart of Cuyahoga Valley’s sandstone cliffs known as the Ritchie Ledges, circles through a cool, moist hemlock forest interspersed with 300-million-year-old Sharon Conglomerate rock formations—compressed, occasionally honeycombed, sedimentary sand with quartz pebbles embedded throughout.

The first time we hiked this trail, back in 2001, the trail wasn’t very well marked—leading us to call this trail the “never ending loop”, because we felt like we were stuck in a Blair Witch moment the day we hiked the trail—quoting, “I swear we have passed this tree before!” several times. As you hike along the loop trail, you will pass several signs that say “ledges loop 1 and ¾ miles” but it seems much longer—there are also several connector trails and it is easy to get a little lost.Seriously though, make note of where you enter the trail because it is easy to go around the loop and forget where you started—causing you to hike around in circles!

Our latest excursion on the Ledges Trail, in October of 2011 and August of 2013, found the path better marked with mileage signs and directions—we began our hike at the parking lot at the end of Ledges Road, off Truxell/Kendall Park Road, and made our way counter-clockwise around the loop.

Ice Box Cave, the first of many highlights along the trail, derives its name from the cool, refrigerator-like temperatures encountered within the 50-foot deep cavern year-round—bring a flashlight or headlamp to explore the inner dimensions of the dark cave.

Continuing on the loop, there are several opportunities to explore the narrow high-walled crevices of the Ledges—textured, moss-covered stone walls converge together creating slot-like canyons of geologic wonder.

Eventually, if you hike the entire loop, you will come to the Ledges Overlook—the trail gradually ascends to the top of a rock plateau with expansive views of the Cuyahoga Valley, which is especially scenic in the autumn months when the leaves change color.

Ritchie Ledges Trail Gallery:

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