The Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Virginia Kendall Ledges Scenic Overlook CVNP

Virginia Kendall Ledges is one of the best hiking treasures in NE Ohio with breathtaking views, exciting trails, and adventure around every corner. Part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Virginia Kendall Ledges boasts a scenic overlook, hiking trails, picnic areas, and pavilion.  Virginia Kendall State Park Historic District is approximately 530 acres in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

A short walk across the large grassy field leads to Virginia Kendall Ledges, aka Ritchie Ledges.

The overlook is a popular spot as you can see for miles and miles over the valley. It offers gorgeous views year-round and accessible even in the winter.

From the ledges, you can the tops of towering trees from below – as well as ambitious trees spouting from the rocks. It is a steep fall below so keep your kids and pets close at all times.

You’ll see people relaxing at the overlook anytime you visit, but never too many to enjoy the peace and quiet it offers. It gets a little busier at sunset because of the amazing views. I’ve seen many people visit the overlook intentionally just for the sunsets.

There are several trails to choose from at Virginia Kendall Ledges. The most popular is around the perimeter of the ledges. The Ledges Trail is 2.2 miles with an average hiking time of 1-1/2 hours and an elevation change of 80 feet.  You can also hike to the Octagon shelter, Happy Days Lodge, Pine Grove Trail (2.2 miles) and Forest Point Trail (.5 miles). All these trails can be mapped out here. Trails are clearly marked so you won’t get lost.

This is the start of the Ledges Trail from the parking lot, it’s fairly flat with a fine gravel/sandstone surface with beautiful foliage on either side.

Immediately off the Ledges Trail is a short off-the-beaten-path trail that loops back to the Ledges offering cool rock formations, a stream, and easy trail.

The trail that leads to Happy Days Lodge offers a pretty path through the red pine forest.

The Ledges Trail is our favorite, offering the most adventure! Be careful as the Ledges Trail is right against the ledge drop offs and you could injured seriously or die if you fall off! Keep dogs on a short leash and your kids near by. Let them explore more at the bottom of the ledges where they can’t fall!

As you can see, from the top of the ledges, you can see people below exploring.

This is a view of a ‘hidden cave’ area as seen from the top.

This is my son and dog in that narrow passageway. Notice the green moss on the sandstone. This park offers the most variety of landscape in Ohio if you ask me! There is so much to see and explore!

Most of the CVNP Ledges Trail below looks like this. It is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. There is a clear defined path but it has plenty of rocks and roots to navigate around. This is what makes the Ledges Trail so fun for kids – it is the ultimate playground for kids to climb, explore, and discover the beauty of Ohio’s nature. That being said, actual rock climbing is prohibited and climbing up the ledges is not safe or allowed.

Ice Box Cave has always been a favorite spot at Virginia Kendall Ledges however it is closed to save the bats.

You can still feel the temperature change to cold if you walk to the entrance of the cave – and really the entire area around Ice Box cave. It is a refreshing spot in the 2.2 mile hike.

Look around Ice Box Cave, right off the Ledges Path for this hidden cave. It offers the same cold temperatures in a smaller cave that you can walk in.

Check our our Facebook Live video of my son, dog, and I navigating some of the off-the-trail spots at the bottom of the ledges. We had so much fun!

Along the bottom of the ledges, you’ll see these amazing layered sandstone walls and Sharon Conglomerate. Notice the green moss too. You’ll even find ice-cold dripping water dropping down from some points of the ledges.

In the video above, you’ll notice a large staircase made up of locally quarried sandstone. This large staircase was made by the Civilian Conservation Corps as well as all of the trails and shelters in the area, making it the park we all enjoy today. Creating the paths, trails, shelters, and benches could not have been easy with the rocky landscape!

The Ledges Trail loops back up and around to the overlook once again. This is the high point of the park and literally high with 100 foot tall ledges!

Pack a picnic lunch or bring burgers to cook on the grill. There are several picnic areas around the ledges and large grassy field.

The large grassy field is expansive. It is a favorite spot for kite flying in the Akron area. People can be found picnicking in the field, running, playing games, and more.

The Ledges Shelter can be reserved for a fee online. It has 2 fireplaces, 8 picnic tables inside and 8 picnic tables in the pavilion, and 1 large grill. It is located next to the parking lot with a paved walkway from the lot to the shelter. There is a large grassy field next to the shelter.

Virginia Kendall Ledges is our favorite Cuyahoga Valley National Park destination. My husband and I have been visiting this park well before we had kids 25 years ago! With kids, it is a truly special place. It is where my son found his first salamander at age 2, my daughter found the nature slide at age 4, and where they both became ‘nature kids’ exploring the crevices, caves, and trails throughout the park. Rock climbing is prohibited but exploring is not.

As you can see below, my son is pretty far up from the path exploring in the winter – see the ice-cycles above and to the right of him? Like I said, this park is a treasure to explore year-round!

It is the perfect place to take in Ohio’s Fall foliage with the scenic overlook of the Cuyahoga Valley.

Drinking water is available at a drinking fountain from May 1 – September 15.

There are restrooms near the pavilion with flush toilets are available year round.

If you’ve never explored Virginia Kendall Ledges, be sure to add it to your bucket list for a fun family outing soon. We are so blessed to have such an amazing natural wonder right here in Summit County!  This hike is moderate but manageable by even young kids! Wear a baby carrier so your little ones can join the fun too.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Virginia Kendall Ledges Scenic Overlook
405 Truxell Rd
Peninsula, OH 44264

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