Place

Ritchie Ledges Panel

“Ritchie Ledges” panel stands along an unpaved trail surrounded by tree trunks and fallen leaves.
A panel along the Ledges Trail explains the rock formation’s geology.

NPS / Arrye Rosser

Quick Facts

Audio Description, Benches/Seating, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

The Ledges create a high point in the valley uplands. Discover the basic geology at the Ritchie Ledges graphic panel. It describes how water and weathering shaped the rock.

About 315-320 million years ago, the area was steamy swamp. Periodically fast-moving streams dropped sand and pebbles here. Over time, this material was compacted into rock called Sharon Sandstone and Conglomerate. Erosion has carved the rock into the forms you see today.

Like a sponge, the rock absorbs rainfall between the grains of sand and pebbles. This water makes the Ledges cooler and moister than its surroundings. More northern plants and animals can thrive here. Look for evergreen eastern hemlock trees and listen for the cheery, buzzy song of black-throated green warblers. Take a moment to enjoy the coolness and beauty of this microclimate.

Life on the Ledges is fragile. Mosses and ferns cling to sand and pebble crevices. Please help us protect this fragile life by enjoying the Ledges from the trail. A moment of rock climbing, which is not allowed, can erase years of growth.

Learn more about the geology of the Cuyahoga Valley.