Hiking at Whipp’s Ledges within Hinckley Reservation caught my eye through a Clevelanders Instagram post many years ago. I was surprised to see scenery reminiscent of my favorite hike at Cuyahoga Valley National Park – The Ledges. But Whipp’s Ledges had even more appeal (to me) because it was lesser-known and closer to my home. We just returned from our second hike of The Ledges Loop at Whipp’s Ledges and I am enamored once again. Add fall foliage to any great hike and the result is one happy mama.
Where is Whipp’s Ledges?
Whipp’s Ledges is part of the Cleveland Metroparks system in Northeast Ohio. The trail is accessed off of State Rd, between Hinckley and Richfield. While we only hiked the Ledges Trail, there are other trails within the reservation, one of which is an all-purpose trail for hiking, biking, and rollerblading.
In the parking lot, a sign shows all of the trails with the map, but I’d recommend printing a trail map and taking it. There are blazes, but not many signs along the trail, making it a little confusing. The Ledges Loop Trail are the orange blazes and the Buckeye Trail overlaps in some places with the blue blaze.
The history of Whipp’s Ledges
Whipp’s Ledges are named after Robert Whipp. Whipp emigrated to Ohio in the late 1840s, hoping to live the American dream. He started his butchering business with a reputation as an honest and religious man. After his business prospered, he bought more farms, using houses to shelter livestock. Whipp was an exceptional businessman and became very wealthy by selling meat at inflated war-time prices.
In fact, his wealth was so great that his second wife tried to murder him (the story is HERE) in an attempt to acquire his estate (and she ended up having his baby while in prison! Yikes!). He survived (and divorced her) and eventually owned ten plots of land totaling close to 2,000 acres. Unfortunately, the economy took a turn for the worse and so did his business. When he died in 1890, most of his land was sold to pay off outstanding debts.
Beyond the wild history of Robert Whipp, Hinckley Reservation is one of the few places in northeast Ohio with exposed sandstone ledges of Sharon Conglomerate.
Hiking Ledges Loop Trail with kids
The trails at Whipp’s Ledges are rough. The first time we visited this trail, our youngest was almost 4. She was able to navigate the trails by holding our hands. Children any younger than that should probably be in a carrier! Our daughter who is two HAS to be in the baby carrier (our favorite- the Lille baby). There is no way I would have allowed her to hike without being attached to us!
The Ledges Trail has steep cliffs and there are many rocks and boulders to navigate. This trail is rated moderate, but I would rate it “difficult with a toddler on your back.” 😉
In spring and summer, be prepared for mud. On our first visit to Whipp’s Ledges, our kids wore their snow boots so we wouldn’t ruin their tennis shoes. The trail is short, so it’s doable with young ones who tire easily. However, the start of the hike is a massive hill!
My favorite thing about Whipp’s Ledges
Probably the thing I loved most about Whipp’s Ledges was that it was one of those places that made me feel really SMALL. As a Christian, I’m always reminded that there’s something much bigger than me and that HE is in control, not me. Taking our kids to these places is a nice jumping-off point for those talks, too- how we worship a great Creator who made this beautiful place for us to enjoy.
Have you been to Hinckley Reservation? If you’re interested in going, you will also want to visit the nearby Worden’s Ledges.
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