2016 marks the 100th birthday of the National Parks Service and outdoor enthusiasts are celebrating the centennial by enjoying America’s 84 million acres of preserved land. Thankfully, us Ohioans don’t need to spend a fortune on a trip out west to enjoy this milestone birthday, we can celebrate the centennial right here in Ohio’s own national park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park created a list of 100 things to do in CVNP to encourage Ohioans to explore the great outdoors. I took on their challenge, and you should too! Keep me updated on how you celebrate the centennial by commenting with whatever adventures you embark on. You can also share your stories on social media with #NPS100 and #CelebrateCVNP. I chose to do #54, Enjoy the View at the Ledges, and share my experience on my favorite CVNP trail.
Celebrate CVNP: My Hike at Virginia Kendall
Ritchie Ledges at the Virginia Kendall Reservation is my favorite area of CVNP. The ledges are absolutely breathtaking and offer a peaceful escape from the busyness of life. I visited with my roommate, Ally, a fellow outdoors woman who is as much of a spontaneous trailblazer as myself.
The 2.2 mile trail started by leading us through the cool pine woods. After a short hike, we arrived at a stone staircase and realize we were standing on top of the ledges. The ledges were tall and made of sandstone that crumbled to the touch. Vegetation like moss, ferns and even trees grew on the sides of the stones.
The trail was difficult to follow; it appeared to meander everywhere as thousands of people have created their own pathways as they walk alongside the rocks, through tight tunnels and around boulders. We chose to do the same and follow our own trail as we explored the ledges in whatever way we saw fit for the day. This is why I love the ledges trail; it’s a different experience every time I visit.
As we continued our hike, climbing up and over fallen rocks and squeezing through tight spaces, the ledges grew taller and taller, now two to three stories in height. It’s amazing to think these great structures were carved out so long ago by glaciers during the ice age!
Soon we arrived at the ice box cave, appropriately named for the cold air that rushes out of it. The cave is home to a group of bats and also has a clean, icy stream flowing from it. As we walked on, the ledges grew so tall that we eventually had to backtrack and find a way to get to the trail on top of ledges. The trail continued to lead us along the edge of the ledges, eventually ending at a scenic overlook that stretched for miles.
Do you want to visit the ledges too? Check out my trip guide for the ledges and learn about some of Virginia Kendall’s best kept secrets.