Nelson Ledges State Park Hiking Trail Pictures Movie

Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park Hiking 
Trail Pictures Movie

Nelson Ledges State Park Hiking Trail has spectacular sand stone cliff rock formations. Hikers will enjoy the several trails that wander through the Nelson Ledges to formations like Devil's Icebox, Indian Pass and Old Maid's Kitchen. All visitors are urged to exercise caution while hiking and are advised to restrict their travel to established trails only. Park rules prohibit off-trail hiking and beverage containers on hiking trails.

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The remarkable sandstone cliff formations resulted from the forces of erosion--wind, water freezing and thawing--that wore away at the softer rock layers. As these soft layers eroded, large blocks of rock called slump blocks fell away leaving more resistant layers to form ledges above.


The jumbled rocks and shaded rock faces are home to a wide variety of wildflowers, trees and ferns. The spring wildflower show includes spring beauties, hepatica and trillium and features the rare red trillium, which grows in great numbers along the ledges.


The beech-maple forest harbors a few tree species that are more common in cooler climates: yellow birch, Canadian hemlock and Canada yew are common here. Some of these trees cling to the rock faces, their roots pushing into every available crevice. In the shelter of the roots and shaded by the leafy canopy above, ferns such as the Christmas and maidenhair fern grow in abundance. Others such as the marginal shield fern, grape fern, wood fern and common polypody are more unusual for this part of the state.


The leafy canopy is home to a variety of songbirds, while small mammals such as skunk, raccoon and fox squirrels inhabit other areas of the park.


The area developed into an important agricultural and dairy center. Cheesemaking was prominent and began nearly as soon as the first settlers arrived. By 1834, northeast Ohio cheese controlled the southern markets. Eventually, canal and rail transportation increased the area's importance.


Many colorful tales were told of life in Santoy. In the true spirit of frontier life, so the story goes, a gunfight was once held over a $20 debt. The street was cleared as the two participants met for a showdown. The ensuing battle left both men lying in the street--one dead and the other critically wounded. The "Old West" came to life in Ohio when the coal company payroll was robbed by bandits who made a horse-mounted getaway through the town.


The town of Hiram, west of the park, is home to Hiram College where James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States, was educated. At the age of 26, he was chosen president of the college. The college was opened in 1851 as the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, received its charter in 1867, and was rebuilt and enlarged in 1886.


The Nelson-Kennedy region has always been a popular vacation spot and eventually came under state protection. In 1940, the state purchased land at Nelson Ledges, and in 1948, it bought 101 acres of the area known as Kennedy Ledges. The state of Ohio created Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park in 1949 to preserve the area for future generations of Ohioans to enjoy.



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