Rock Stars

It's a short walk up a winding gravel path and uneven stone steps before Whipp's Ledges trail forks at the huge rock formations that characterize the Hinckley Reservation path and rise 350 feet above Hinckley Lake. These bulky giants make you feel small, both because of their heft and seniority (the rocks formed more than 250 million years ago). To the left of the fork, a playground of boulders and crevices waits to be explored. "You get a feel for the geology of the area when you walk through," says Sharon Hosko, manager at Brecksville Nature Center. "It's different than walking a dirt trail in the woods." Plus, on a hot day, this might literally be the coolest playground around. "The sandstone rock tends to hold moisture, so it's about 10 degrees cooler," Hosko says. Despite covering just 1.25 miles, the trail and its rock jungle can claim you for hours. But Whipp's Ledges is a perfect place to get lost. Accessible via State Road between Bellus and Ledge roads, Hinckley Township

More Ledges Hiking
Thompson Ledges
These lesser-traveled trails are rough, muddy and moderately difficult, but they lead hikers over and under rock formations. Thompson Ledge Township Park, state Route 528 and Thompson Road, Thompson Township

Nelson Ledges
Four short trails, the longest being one mile, of varying difficulty take hikers to caves and a waterfall among dramatic rock formations. Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park, 11853 state Route 282, Nelson Township

Ritchie Ledges
The easy Ledges Trail takes hikers on a two-mile tour that includes a stop at Ice Box Cave. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, accessible via Kendall Park Road, Boston Heights
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