Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park


Although a small park, 167-acre Nelson-Kennedy Ledges provides a thrilling experience to visitors with its rugged cliffs and diverse plant life typical of a more northern climate. A day-use park, Nelson-Kennedy Ledges is popular for picnicking and hiking.


This area was of vital importance to the Indian tribes. The Delaware, Shawnee, Miami, Seneca, Mohawk, and Cajuga tribes were among those said to have lived at Nelson Ledges.

The park lies near one of the highest points of the state and is close to the watershed divide between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. Several major foot trails and canoe routes passed through this vicinity. This area became an important trade center for both pioneers and Indians.

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.

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.



Brigitte Klotzek

Monday, June 25, 2018
Wow, this was definitely worth going to! Absolutely beautiful! It almost feels magical. You kind of feel like there may be a fairy or a dragon appearing around the next bend. As a mother of a 10 & 7 year old, I have to admit that I nearly got a heart attack a few times as there are a ton of opportunities for your kids to go off a cliff or into a crack in the floor. Plus it looks like something must have happened to the boardwalks that you see in some of their pictures. They were not there. Also, the paths are not marked well at all. This place would probably be a great opportunity for a Gold award or Eagle Project.

Mark Hill

Saturday, July 28, 2018
The quarry (swimming and camping) could use some better signage from the street. Have to pay to enter. Price depends on if they have concerts. Jumping off the ledges into the quarry was a good time. Lifeguard in a kayak was helpful. Hiking through the ledges was down the street a little further. Free to hike. Bathrooms and picnic tables available.

Anastasia Leptak

Monday, July 23, 2018
Great scenery, and a fun place to wander. Park is wide, but doesn't go back particularly far- trails are not especially well marked, nor are the boundaries to surrounding private land. But more importantly, a great place to take in nature, imagine the history of the land. Sandstone boulders, crevasses, and a few small waterfalls. I would not recommend for small children as there are lots of places to fall if you are not attentive. Please be mindful that there are no trashcan here and prepare to carry out anything you bring in.

Paul Graham

Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Always fun, whether a simple hike or a more in depth climb in and out of the nook and crannies the ice flows created. You have several waterfalls and numerous caves and crevices. I have been going here since I was a child and have continued bringing my wife and kids at least once a year. Love it every time.

Amy Pohl

Friday, July 20, 2018
Great place to spend a couple hours hiking and climbing, even on a hot summer day. The whole is shared and lots of cave like areas to take a break and cool off. Wear good shoes or hiking boots.