Safe hiking tips for the ledges at Summit Metro Parks, CVNP

The urge to hit the trails again and enjoy some of Northeast Ohio’s distinctive natural landscapes greets the start of every spring, but hikers should exercise extra caution when visiting the more rugged spots in the region.

A stark reminder of this surfaced last week when a teenager in Medina suffered a serious fall at Whipp’s Ledges on the Hinckley Preserve in Cleveland Metroparks. The teenager remains hospitalized, according to his family’s social media updates.

In the same way Whipp corniceswhere rock climbing is permitted, hikers may face equally dangerous spots along the ledges of Summit Metro Parks Liberty and Gorge Metro Parks and Ritchie Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Summit County.

The Beacon Journal has compiled information on these ledges, along with safety tips from Summit Metro Parks and CVNP:

  • Stay on designated hiking trails and walkways.
  • Stay back from the edge of the ledges.
  • Be aware of where you are walking and be extra careful if it has rained or snowed recently.
  • Wear sturdy walking shoes or boots.

Liberty Park

Rock formations abound in Liberty Park at Summit Metro Parks.

Liberty Park includes the Twinsburg Ledges Nature Center and Area, 9999 Liberty Road.

The ledges are sandstone “covered in a living skin of moss, ferns and lichens,” according to the park district.

Park trails include the Black Bear Trail (2.1 miles, moderate difficulty) and the Ledges Trail (1.1 miles, moderate difficulty).

The eastern edge of the Black Bear Trail hugs ledges, while along the western edge of the trail several large uprooted trees have left large depressions in the ground, with huge exposed root systems.

On the Ledges Trail, visitors pass over the Ledges, into Glacier Cave and through a wetland area before returning to the trailhead on a long boardwalk.

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Gorge Metro Park

Mary Campbell Cellar, now known as the Old Maid's Kitchen, in Gorge Metro Park.

Gorge Metro Park1160 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, includes the Glens Trail (2.8 miles, moderate difficulty) and the Gorge Trail (2.8 miles, difficult).

Glens Trail offers views from the edge of the Cuyahoga River, with springs flowing from ledges along the trail.

Gorge Trail provides access to Old Maid’s Kitchen (formerly known as Mary Campbell Cave), an easy half-mile walk from the parking lot, but the trail quickly becomes more rugged as it crosses rock formations. The upper part of the trail is considered primitive.

Stephanie Walton, chief marketing and communications officer for Summit Metro Parks, said the park district’s most important safety reminder is to always stay on designated hiking trails when visiting Summit Metro Parks, “because they are carefully designed and maintained to ensure the safety of visitors”.

Specifically at Liberty Park, the park district has said to stay on designated paths and walkways and not to climb on ledges or rocks.

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Walton also recommends checking out the Park District website, summitmetroparks.orgbefore leaving for its parks, especially for those who are on their first visit.

“The website helps visitors plan a safe trip with information on trail closures or detours, as well as maps and trail details such as length, difficulty level and surface type. “Walton said.

The park district said it was also important to stay on the trail for the protection of natural resources.

Ritchie Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

A hiker admires the view from the Overlook at the Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park on June 9.

the Ritchie corniceswhich is part of the Virginia Kendall State Park Historic District, includes a 1.8 mile trail around the ledges and connects to a larger network of trails in the Virginia Kendall area.

The Ledges trailhead is at 405 Truxell Road, Peninsula. the Overhang of corniceslooking west over the Cuyahoga Valley, is a stop on the Ledges Trail.

The trail is not accessible to visitors with reduced mobility, as it is rocky and unpaved, with at least 80 feet of elevation gain along its length. The national park also said the trail network is complex, so watch for signs.

A couple walk along the Ledges Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park on June 9.

Pamela Barnes, community engagement supervisor for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, said national park safety recommendations include staying off the edge, staying on the trail at the top of ledges, and well away from the edge of the Ledges Overlook, using extra caution if it has recently rained or snowed and don’t climb over the rocks.

Barnes said the park also recommends considering limiting hiking on the trail at the bottom of ledges when hiking with young children and wearing sturdy walking shoes or boots.

The national park also said it does not allow any climbing on the rock formation to protect the fragile habitat.

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Hikers make their way along the Ledges Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park on June 9.

“Like a sponge, the rock absorbs precipitation between the grains of sand and pebbles. This water makes the ledges cooler and wetter than its surroundings,” said the park district said. “Life on the Ledges is fragile. Mosses and ferns cling to the sand and cobble crevices. Help us protect this fragile life by enjoying the Ledges from the trail. A moment of climbing, which does not is not allowed, can erase years of growth.”

Whipp's Ledges Tuesday in Hinckley.

Whipp cornices

Whipp cornices is located on the Hinckley Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks in Hinckley Township.

In addition to hiking and walking, recreational rock climbing is also permitted. Elevations with sandstone ledges rise 350 feet above Lake Hinckley. There is a loop trail on the site.

Contact Beacon Journal reporter Emily Mills at [email protected] and on Twitter @EmilyMills818.