Posted in Hiking, Northeastern Ohio, Park review

Hinckley Reservation: Whipps Ledges and Spillway Beach

Hinckley Reservation is one of sixteen parks that make up the Cleveland Metropark system. The 2,803-acre park is located in Hinckley Township, primarily in Medina County. The park contains nearly twenty miles of trail for those on foot and six miles of bridle trail. There is a 90-acre lake (Hinckley Lake) within the park and two smaller fishing ponds; there is also an 80 by 100 foot stainless steel pool near the lake. Besides hiking, the area offers opportunities to fish, boat and swim. In the winter, visitors can ice skate, or they can go sledding on the sledding hill. Hinckley Reservation is also home to the annual festival known as Buzzard’s Day which celebrates the return of the turkey vulture to the area around mid-March.

This is a huge park, and we only explored a tiny portion of it, focusing on Whipp’s Ledges. However we also stopped by the Spillway Beach and one of the park’s overlooks of the lake. In the future we hope to check out some of the other trails.

Whipp’s Ledges at Hinckley Reservation

Getting Oriented

Use the map below to identify the location of any of the places discussed in this article. You can click on the map (or any photo) to view a larger version.

We began at Spillway Beach off of Bellus Road, located in the upper left of the map. We then turned right onto East Drive heading towards Whipp’s Ledges, but on the way we passed an attractive observation point overlooking the lake. We stopped to take in the lake view and bumped into some hikers who told us this area was also an access point for the Hinckley Lake Loop Trail. This overlook was originally unmarked on the map, but I added the word “Bench” in blue italics to show it’s location (it’s between the heron icon and the running-man icon in the upper left). Shortly afterwards we continued our drive to our hiking destination, the Whipp’s Ledges Loop Trail. This trail is shown in brown to the lower right on the map; its icon is an oak leaf. After hiking this trail, we returned to the parking lot using the Buckeye Trail, so we didn’t have to backtrack on a trail that we’d already seen. The Buckeye Trail is marked in blue on the map.

Portion of the Hinckley Reservation park map

Spillway Beach

We basically just pulled over here to see what it was like and to view the park map at the kiosk here.

Spillway Beach

A sign showed us that we were already in the vicinity of the ledges.

Sign for the Spillway Swimming Area and Whipp’s Ledges
Observation Point near Hinckley Lake Loop Trail

Shortly after turning onto East Drive, we passed a parking lot near benches overlooking the lake. It looked pretty, so we stopped.

Bench overlooking Hinckley Lake

While we were there we talked to some hikers who were following the Hinckley Lake Loop Trail around the lake. There is a trailhead for this hike nearby.

Whipp’s Ledges Loop Trail

For us the Whipp’s Ledges Loop Trail was the main attraction. This is a short, 1.25-mile trail that passes through some spectacular scenery. The cliffs here are made of Sharon conglomerate sandstone. Sometimes the trails passed by the cliffs and at other times there were opportunities to walk down fissures between cliffs.

We began our hike near the Whipp’s Ledges Picnic Area off of State Road. After hiking around the ledges we were able to return to the parking lot using the Buckeye Trail (the blue trail on the map with the hiker icon).

Following stairs from the parking lot
Passing by the picnic shelter
Getting started on the trail
Approaching the first of the ledges

Below I’m going to show you some of the sights that we took in as we wandered around the ledges. One of the easiest ways to show the size of a cliff or a rock formation is for a person to stand beside it for comparison purposes. That’s why we are in so many of the photos that follow.

Bob walking along the ledges
Near slump rocks
Bob near an isolated cliff
Deb near cliff
Between cliffs
Looking up at the cliff tops
The depression in the wall of the cliff to the left is a small recess cave.
Deb by another little recess cave
We headed back to the parking lot using the Buckeye Trail. As we set off downhill, I looked back at the ledges above me.
Wooded portion of the Buckeye Trail on the way from the ledges and toward the parking lot
The Buckeye Trail uses blue blazes to mark the trail.
Rock climbing

While we were exploring Whipp’s Ledges, we did come across people who were rock climbing.

Rock climber on cliff in the distance

As we drew closer we could see that he was part of a group.

A group of people taking turns rock climbing

According to to go rock climbing at Hinckley Reservation:

You must obtain a permit to climb with a rope system… Contact Mike Barnhart (216) 351-6300, Ext. 264, with the Cleveland Metro Parks system. You can visit the Cleveland Zoo and get things handled their (sic) as well, but don’t expect same day service. You must have proof of 300,000 USD personal liability insurance (home owners or renters)…

Additional information

Parking for the Spillway Beach
  • Address (approximate): 1039 Bellus Rd., Hinckley, Ohio 44233
  • Directions: Parking is on the north side of Bellus Road. Once you’ve parked, go to the east end of the parking lot, then walk across Bellus Road to the south side to the entrance for the Spillway Beach.
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.228167, -81.721583
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions
Bench overlooking Hinckley Lake
  • Address (approximate): 1858 East Dr., Hinckley, Ohio 44233
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.225091, -81.714839
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions
Entrance to the parking lot for Whipp’s Ledges
  • Address (approximate): 2001 State Rd., Hinckley, Ohio 44233
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.218707, -81.706439
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions

More on Northeastern Ohio

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

Complete the following sentence by typing either real or spam:
My comment is ...