Explore Mid-Michigan’s Best-Kept Secret: The Ledges at Fitzgerald Park, Lincoln Brick Park, & Oak Park in Grand Ledge, MI

Oak Park The Ledges feature

Find The Ledges at Parks in Grand Ledge, MI

Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone but, we have the most tremendous parks & hiking destination for miles around right here in the Greater Lansing Area: The Ledges. And let me tell you, they are majestic.

As a teenager, we often visited Grand Ledge and The Ledges to chill or play frisbee golf. We didn’t explore the area, though.

I had no idea of the gem that was right under my nose.

Little did I all know my friends and I were standing on a “gold mine” of adventure. Years later, I’m now taking my kids and experiencing the awe of Fitzgerald Park, Lincoln Brick Park, and Oak Park in Grand Ledge in a whole new way, never to be taken for granted again.

Have you been to The Ledges?

Let me tell you why The Ledges are so dreamy and our city’s best-kept secret.

The Ledges Fitzgerald Park Lincoln Brick Park Feature Kids sitting on the Ledges
The Ledges at Fitzgerald Park, Grand Ledge, MI

What are the Ledges?

You’re probably wondering – what are the Ledges? I’m so glad you asked!

The Ledges are 300 million-year-old ancient rock formations spanning close to 5 miles along the Grand River through two Eaton County park trails and one Grand Ledge city park.

Visit the Ledges and you’ll be standing next to the largest outcropping of rocks in Central Michigan. In some places, the rocks tower 60 feet over the shores of the Grand River.

Oak Park The LEdges Grand Ledge

Where are the Ledges in Michigan?

Three awesome Lansing parks house the Ledges in the small town of Grand Ledge, MI. Grand Ledge is just 12 miles west of Lansing.

The parks where you’ll find Ledges at are Fitzgerald Park, Lincoln Brick Park, and Oak Park. Fitzerald Park is the most popular of the three ledges parks.

Each park protects these natural wonderlands, wrapping them with fun and amenities.

I recently learned that all three parks have looped hiking trails. After discovering this, we couldn’t help ourselves; my sister and I packed our kids in the car and did one of the FULL loops for the first time ever this week.

It was AWE-INSPIRING! Plus, we made a stop at Oak Park to see rock climbers in action.

That’s right! We have a natural rock climbing wall destination right here in the Lansing area! (Read on to learn more about Oak Park.)

So, where should you start when you go?

There’s no perfect answer but some specific details about each park may draw your family more to either Fitzgerald Park, Lincoln Brick Park, or Oak Park.

One thing I can say for sure is you’ll 100% want to experience all three at some point!

Parks Proximity/Distance to each other:

Oak Park & Lincoln Brick Park distance: 1.3 miles
Lincoln Brick Park & Fitzgerald Park: 3.3 miles
Fitzgerald Park & Oak Park: 2 miles
The LEdges Lincoln Brick Park bay from trail
The Ledges at Lincoln Brick Park, Grand Ledge MI

Experience the Ledges at Fitzgerald Park

The Ledges at Fitzgerald Park
100 Fitzgerald Park Dr, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

FEES:
Daily pass
$3 resident/$5 non-resident (valid for entry and re‐entry to all Eaton County Parks)
Annual Pass
$20 resident/$25 non-resident (valid for entry to all Eaton County Parks for the calendar year)
Senior Citizen Annual Pass
$15 resident/$20 non-resident (60 years and older)

Kid-Friendly: Yes!
Accessible:
Yes, on the grounds and through the frisbee golf/nature center trails. Also, through a large portion of the trail.
No, on The Ledges portion of the trail and stairs area.

The Ledges at Fitzgerald park, formally named the “Big Rocks” by native tribes, has been a special place to this area documented as far back as the 1800’s.

Knowing this makes visiting that much more special as we hike through these beautifully protected grounds.

Hike The Ledges Trail Loop

As you walk toward the river you’ll find a big long staircase leading down to The Ledges trail along the river. If you head to the left, you’ll find smaller Ledges but glorious views of the river and wildlife.

Fitzgerald-Park-Grand-Ledge-Kids-boys-Hiking

If you head to the right, you’ll walk over a bridge on to large ledges with multiple off-shoot trails along the way.

Fitzgerald Park

One of the most popular spots along the right side of the staircase is the huge overhead train track bridge. This track is active and you could possibly catch a train going by on your hike.

Fitzgerald Park at a Glance

  • Stairs leading to The Ledges trail
  • Playground
  • Skate Park
  • Bathrooms & Porta Potties
  • Summer Theatre
  • Half-Basketball Court
  • Frisbee/Dic Golf
  • Picnic Areas and Pavillion
  • Tennis Courts
  • Nature Center
  • Soccer Fields
  • Train Tressle
  • Fish Ladder
  • Cross Country Ski Trails
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Sledding Hill
  • Horseshoe Pits

On top of the deep history of this portion of The Ledges, it’s as much an amazing fun place to play. Here are more fun things to do at Fitzgerald Park.

1) Play on the Playground and at Park Grounds

The wide-open spaces make it a great place to run around or play soccer; the playground has an old-school mary-go-round along with newer playground equipment; the Big Red Barn Theatre is home to plays and performances in the summer.

The Ledges Fitzgerald Park sign and stairs

2) Play 18 holes of Frisbee Golf

If you start out your hike at the wooded frisbee golf course, you’ll eventually loop around to the portions of the trail with ledges. The frisbee golf course entrance is located near the front of the parking lot.

3) Visit the Fish Ladder, Park Trails, and Nature Center

This park is so enormous, don’t forget the fish ladder/dam!

The Ledges are such a draw but make sure to plan a trip to Fitzgerald Park where you get to experience the nature center portion of the park at some point, too. Along with the rushing water, you’ll love the chance to see park from this view.

The Ledges trail and the Fitzgerald Park trails are separate. The Ledges trail at Fitzgerald park is NOT a loop but the park trails through the nature center are, and are multiple loops that all connect to each other. So, no matter which you choose, you’ll end up back where you parked.

Want to know even more about Fitzgerald Park? Our sister-site, GRKIDS, has a full article on it!

Fitzgerald-park-kids-looking-on-the-river

Explore the Canyon Portion of The Ledges at Lincoln Brick Park

The Ledges at Lincoln Brick Park
13991 Tallman Rd, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

FEES:
Daily pass
$3 resident/$5 non-resident (valid for entry and re‐entry to all Eaton County Parks)
Annual Pass
$20 resident/$25 non-resident (valid for entry to all Eaton County Parks for the calendar year)
Senior Citizen Annual Pass
$15 resident/$20 non-resident (60 years and older)

Kid-Friendly: Yes!
Accessible:
Yes, on the grounds and to the lower water and launch areas.
No, on The Ledges trail.

For shame! As a Lansing resident, I’m so embarrassed to admit this but, I hadn’t been to the Lincoln Brick Park portion of the Ledges until last month!

Lincoln Brick Park is lesser-known for the Ledges than Fitzgerald park but that doesn’t mean it lacks in adventure.

This makes Lincoln Brick Park the best-kept secret of the Ledges themselves.

It’s the best-kept-secret of the best-kept secret!

The Ledges Lincoln Brick Park bay

1) Hike The Ledges Canyon Trail Loop

This park is a double-whammy-O’-fun! The historical site is AMAZING, yes (see below) but The Ledges trail portion of the park is like stepping into a new world.

If you want to experience the Ledges at Lincoln Brick Park, you’ll need to high the Ledges Canyon Trail Loop.

Here, the Ledges just have a magical vibe to them. Probably because they’ve been around for so long and have such a story to tell.

The Ledges Lincoln Brick park trail bay

First up on the trail is a choice to walk up or down. If you choose down toward the water you can gaze up at the high cliffs of The Ledges or take your kayak out for a float in The Ledges bay.

If you choose up, you’ll find yourself at the top of The Ledges overlooking the bay on a fenced-in open space area.

The trail continues winding down, up, and sideways through the bay and adjacent river.

The Ledges Lincoln Brick Park Trail

Take note that this trail is steep with roots popping out here and there.

The LEdges Lincoln Brick Park peninsula trail

However, it’s a must-see, must-experience adventure with sights of blue, green, red-rock, and an array of other colors you won’t want to miss.

This park is great for the lovers of hiking and/or a great picnic date.

The Ledges Lincoln Brick Park overlook

Lincoln Brick Park at a Glance

  • Canyon-like winding steep trail through The Ledges
  • Playground
  • Historic Site of Lincoln Brick Production
  • Cross Country Skiing Trails and Rental
  • Bathrooms
  • Picnic areas
  • Kayak/Canoe boat launch area
  • Outdoor pavilions and indoor rental options

Apparently, my siblings used to go to Lincoln Brick Park all of the time while we were growing up and I’m kind of mad at them for not encouraging me to go sooner! Jokes aside, visiting Lincoln Brick park was a highlight of my year.

It took my co-worker’s post, Melissa who runs the LFF Instagram page, to get me there!

Another reason why Lincoln Brick Park is so sweet:

2) You Can Climb and Play at the Historical Lincoln Brick Company Structures

When you arrive you’ll be immediately immersed into the historical site of what used to be the Baker Clay Co. turned Lincoln Brick Company.

These unfinished walls and structures were built out of the “not up to par” tossed aside bricks.

The LEdges lincoln brick park site

The Lincoln Brick company bragged of producing 40,000 bricks a day and was used to build countless projects, some including Grand Ledge’s still standing buildings like City Hall and the Library.

Brick production stopped around 1947 making these structures we now play around, 70 years old.

The Ledges Lincoln Brick Park kids playing on site
The Ledges Lincoln Brick Park kid climbing wall

Rock Climb the Ledges at Oak Park

The Ledges at Oak Park
700 W Front St, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Cost: FREE to visit and park year-round
Kid-Friendly: NO and Yes
Parents will want to gauge if this trail is suitable depending on age and ability. This trail is steep and difficult to navigate.
Accessible: No, not on the trail. The field and lookout portions – yes.

One of the biggest reasons I’m deeming The Ledges our best-kept secret is because of this park. Real-life rock climbing tucked into a downtown Grand Ledge neighborhood in the Greater Lansing area?! Yup!

Seriously – it really is special. It’s one of the only places in Lower Michigan where you can participate in natural rock climbing.

The Ledges at Oak park should not be ignored and are probably the most desirable if you want to experience the ledges up close because you’ll actually be hiking on top of them. 

1) Hike the Trail Loop

When you’re hiking the Ledges at Oak Park, you’ll be navigating over huge boulders, climbing up crevices and even the stairs to get up and down are rocks on a steep dirt trail.

Although there are rope banisters to help you up and down, this location is more for the true hiker and not a place for super young kids or those who need an accessible trail. 

Oak Park The Ledges Trail Kids climbing over boulders

No matter where you start on the trail you’ll loop back around to the hammock haven. It’s not long at all, maybe a half-mile long at the most, but it packs a big adventure punch! 

Rock Climbing The Ledges Trail

After you’re done hiking the Ledges at Oak Park you can enjoy a few more popular destination activities:

2) Relax in the Hammock Haven

Oak Park consists of a large spanning green space with a curtain of trees lining The Ledges drop-off.

Here, the trees are spaced perfectly for hammocks and if you bring enough bug spray it can be the perfect spot to camp out for the day. 

Oak Park Grand Ledge Hammock Haven kids walking in field to The Ledes

3) Catch Rock Climbers in Action or Join In

 This portion of the ledges has built-in metal anchors for climbers. Many will bring safety mats to lay at the bottom. If you’re interested in the rock climbing experience, the City of Grand Ledge encourages beginners to start with a group.

Check out Grand Ledge Rock Climbing on how to get started.

Someone rock climbing on The Ledges at Oak Park

If you’re just wanting to see The Ledges at Oak Park and hope to see some climbers in action these next two options are for you:

4) Visit Oak Park’s Lookout Points

If you can’t take the trail, no worries! You can still enjoy the sights. Just past the trees are a couple of wood deck lookout spots.

Oak Park walking trail at the Top of the Ledges and lookout point in the distance

These lookouts give you a lovely view of the river and The Ledges. 

Oak Park Lookout point at the Ledges

3 Tips for Visiting The Ledges

1) Where Appropriate Footwear for Each Season

I’m kind of known for blundering this most times we head out to a park. Like wearing short sleeves or sandals when it’s 50 degrees out and really regretting it. But going to The Ledges requires being super intentional about clothing because of safety purposes and is more impacting than just being too cold.

Reason? The Ledges trails are dirt, narrow, and have both small and large cliffs leading down to the river.

  • Summer: Sandals are not appropriate for walking The Ledges trails because they are slippery and could cause a fall.
  • Winter: Ice builds up in random spots along the trails so wearing a boot with good gripping is key if you want to get very far.
  • Spring: Rain showers mean many puddles. Rain boots are most desirable because there is no resisting a splash in the muddy trail.
  • Fall: It’s anyone’s guess what the weather will be at this point in the year, sometimes even down to the hour. You’ll want to check the weather to see which of the above footwear would be appropriate.

Moral of the footwear story? Protect yourself from falls and slips and you’ll love going to The Ledges year-round.

The ledges Lincoln Brick Park kids on trail

2) Load up on Bug Repellant

Spray, wipe, or wrist band – whatever your choice, you’ll need it.

The Ledges are tucked away at the base of tree lines and at any time of the year they are shaded. You know what that means, right? Mosquitos.

Saying mosquito is like saying Vuldemort in our family. We don’t even like to say the “M” word out loud let alone get bites! My kid’s skin welts up from mosquito bites like nobody’s business. So, because visiting The Ledges without repellant means bites are imminent, we literally don’t set foot onto the park grounds until each of us is covered from head to toe in bug repellant.

Another reason to load up on repellant: Ticks and Tick Bites. The tick sighting radar map is overwhelmingly lit up in Michigan this year. So, we can no longer just be aware of them when we head to the beach, we really should be protecting ourselves and our family from them at any place with a trail.

Fitzgerald Park the ledges Lansing Parks

3) Plan to Visit When Your Kids Have Energy

Many times when we visit The Ledges we just barely get to walk the trails. The reason is that we spend so much time at the playgrounds or play structures that the kids are already tired before we get to the trail.

I recommend either starting with the trail first or setting a time limit for playing at the park because mark my words if you don’t, you’ll probably end up with tired kids who make it about 0.2 miles into the trail wanting to head back already.

Don’t let the tiredness of playing take away from the awesome adventure of really getting into The Ledges trails.

The Ledges Fitzgerald Park stairs to Trail

3) Don’t forget the Snacks and Bevy’s

This probably sounds like a duh! But more times than not I’ve wished I would have packed more water and more snacks. If you load up your gear with refreshments you’ll be glad you did!

Stop Here Before you Leave Grand Ledge

Hikers and climbers! During the warmer months, the heat is brutal, and using all of that energy usually results in some panting kids (and adults) so to cool off it’s to the water and ice cream we go!

Before you leave Grand Ledge, stop by the splash pad at Jaycee Park downtown and grab a yummy ice cream cone from Lick-ity-Split or Corner Cone.

For out-of-town visitors needing a coffee for the drive, Flour Child Bakery has Madcap brewing and the most delicious baked goods for miles!

Ice Cream in Grand Ledge

Map of the Ledges: Fitzgerald Park, Lincoln Brick Park, Oak Park

Use this map to plan your route on your next visit to The Ledges in Grand Ledge, MI.

See you out on the trails, fellow best-kept-secret chasers!

The Ledges Near Me

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