The rocks ahead hinted at the views available in the rest of the park with trees gripping the stones as their trunks reach skyward. The roots of trees make de facto steps and their leaves natural sunshades.

Trail / Park Info:

Parking: There is lots of free parking available at the entrance to the park. The directions available below will take you directly to the parking lot.

Directions on PCs: Locate the Google map below the search box on the right-hand side of this webpage. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.

Directions on Tablets and Mobile Phones: Locate the Google map near the bottom of this page, just below the search box. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.

Watch out!: There is a quarry park nearby that hosts festivals and other for-profit events, with a very similar name. It’s easy to find yourself at the wrong park when using navigation systems.

Don’t confuse the Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park with the Nelson Ledges Quarry Park! The quarry park is a for-profit park often hosting festivals, and requiring admission fees.

We accidentally found ourselves in the line to the quarry park. You know your in a for-profit venue when there is a man out front with a loud speaker urging the cars forward using colorful phrases. If you’re into festivals and crowds, the Quarry park is your scene, if your into hiking, the State park is where it’s at. I much prefer hiking and so that leads us to the trail map:

Color coded trail map – Photo taken from park poster.

There are four trails available, each with their own highlights. The yellow trail (.2 miles) was my favorite, with a small yet whimsical waterfall and cave (Cascade Falls, and Gold Hunter’s Cave) at the end. The red trail (.2 miles) is a great place to hide out on hot summer days as it feels about 10 F cooler then the white trail. The blue trail (.8 miles) has lots of neat rocks and cliffs, and the white trail (.4 miles) has the best overlooks into the open pits below.

Just after walking up a few steps into the park, the blue trail runs off to the left, and straight ahead you find the yellow, red and white trails. The rocks ahead hinted at the views available in the rest of the park with trees gripping the stones as their trunks reach skyward. The roots of trees make de facto steps and their leaves natural sunshades.

Red Trail:

.2 miles. Runs through many of the cracks between the large rocks offering a cool place to hide from summer heat!

We took the red trail in the direction of the southern tip of the park first.

Blue Trail:

.8 miles. Runs along the edge of the park to the southern tip un the lower side of the cliffs, then returns along the top side of the ledges. The point at which the blue and white trails converge showcases some of the more dangerous (and interesting) parts of the park.

The Quarry Park swimming area, as seen from the blue trail.

From the edge of the blue trail, you can see the Quarry Park in the distance. There was a Bluegrass festival the day we visited, and by the smell in the air, I’d assume the music type was also on the menu, not just in the festival goers’ ears.

A long way down!

White Trail:

.4 miles. This is one of the “flattest” trails of the park, if you could call any of them flat. The trail is well defined and shows of some of the deepest pits of the park near the blue trail.

Yellow Trail:

.2 miles. My favorite, with cascade falls being the one spot I would visit if I didn’t have a lot of time to hike.

Some yahoo crawling along the pathway under a large rock.
Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls
Gold Hunter’s Cave
Cascade Falls as seen from Gold Hunter’s Cave
Cascade Falls, again.

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