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Going out on the Ledges: Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park and quarry offer hiking, swimming, concerts

August 5, 2009
Tribune Chronicle
JOSHUA S. FLESHER Tribune Chronicle Tucked away approximately 13 miles from downtown Warren sits one of northeastern Ohio’s most beautiful and scenic parks. Nelson Ledges Quarry Park and Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park are located on State Route 282 in Nelson Township, next to Garrettsville, and offer a wide variety of natural beauty and glacial rock formations. Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is much smaller than Mahoning County’s Mill Creek MetroPark, but what it lacks in size — 167 acres compared to Mill Creek’s 4,400-plus acres — it makes up with its high cliff formations, surrounded by some of Ohio’s most beautiful plant life. ‘‘The state park is very unique ... it’s absolutely beautiful,’’ said Evan Kelley, manager at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. Nature lovers can enjoy the park’s four hiking trails that span three miles. The White Trail is a mile of nature hiking that has been designated as an easy trail. The Yellow Trail and Blue Trail, at three-quarters of a mile long each, are considered moderate level trails. For the most adventurous hikers, the Red Trail offers one-half mile of some of northeast Ohio’s most challenging trail through tight squeezes and down a ravine. Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is a day park, and restricts beverages to the picnic areas only. Tables for family picnics or an afternoon getaway are provided as are a number of grills. Just down the road from the state park is Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, 250 acres of natural beauty, lakes, a swimming quarry and one of the area’s most popular venues for live music. The quarry, which had been in operation until the late 1950s, is a spring-fed swimming area and has large beach areas that include shallow sections for children. ‘‘If you like water ... the water is clearer here than I’ve seen it in 30 years,’’ Kelley said. The water area is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and also offers scuba diving to those wishing to experience the 30-foot deep fresh water from beneath the surface. The quarry also has a high dive, of sorts. ‘‘We’ve got the jump cliff,’’ Kelley said. ‘‘And we always have lifeguards on duty, so it’s very safe.’’ The park employs Red Cross-certified lifeguards who are on duty during swimming hours to make sure that everyone is staying safe. Aside from the swim park, the Quarry Park offers some of the areas most diverse and entertaining concerts in northeastern Ohio. Old holdover and fan favorite acts such as Ekoostik Hookah, Badfish and the always-packed Grateful Fest have been scheduled for the summer. So to has one of music’s most colorful characters. ‘‘We’ve got George Clinton coming in ... and P-Funk,’’ Kelley said. The concert stage also will host numerous local and national acts to fill the summer with fun and music, and according to Kelley, it remains a great atmosphere for children. ‘‘Kids aren’t going to have a rough time here. Kids have a blast. We keep it low priced and as children friendly as we can,’’ he said. Nelson Ledges and the adjacent Quarry Park remains one of northern Ohio’s favorite destinations because of its natural beauty and its wide array of things to do. jflesher@tribtoday.com

If you go What: Nelson Ledges Quarry Park OPEN: Nelson Ledges Quarry Park is open all year. ADMISSION: Day admission from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Adults 15 and older, $5; children, $3. Admission is free to the nonambulatory, blind, deaf and persons with disabilities. CAMPING RATES: (Includes fee from arrival, the evening and following day until 7 p.m.), adults, $10; children younger than 15 with parents, $5. NOTE: Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is a day-use park and is free.

Article Photos

Special to the Tribune Chronicle
Just one of the beautiful views at Nelson Ledges.

 
 
 

 

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