The main attraction at Ledges is the canyon drive. This winding one-way road along Pea's Creek offers motorists breathtaking views of the canyon and Des Moines River Valley. Sandstone ledges rise nearly 100 feet above the floor of the stream bed. The sandstone was deposited 300 million years ago following the retreat of the shallow sea that covered must of the Midwest. About 13,000 years ago, glacial melt-water began to cut down through the sandstone, forming the park's dramatic cliffs and valleys. Along the canyon drive, park visitors can stop for a picnic, wade in the stream and enjoy the colors fall foliage offers. The canyon drive periodically closes to vehicle traffic during the summer due to heavy rainfall and flooding. It also closes to vehicle traffic during the winter. Even in the winter though, visitors are allowed to hike in to the canyon to explore its winter beauty.
Four miles of hiking trails lead up and down steep slopes to scenic overlooks, and provide access to spectacular views of the Pea's Creek Canyon. Popular overlook locations include Inspiration Point, Crow's Nest and Table Rock. While most of the trails include steep portions, a universally accessible trail surface in crushed rock, leads visitors to the serene Lost Lake area in the southern part of the park.
An interpretive trail featuring lichens is located in the picnic area between the east entrance and the Oak Woods Shelter. Learn how to identify up to forty of these tiny, but interesting species by their differing sizes, shapes, and colors. The trail starts at the old stone building across from the amphitheater by the entrance to the campground.
The Des Moines River flows through the west edge of the park and offers fine stream fishing and canoeing opportunities. Lower Ledges Road offers an easy access point to the Des Moines River for canoeists, kayakers and tubers.
Picnic areas are located throughout the park. The Oak Woods picnic shelter and nearby restroom, located in the eastern area of the park, are fully accessible. Two open picnic shelters may be reserved online.
Ledges offers both electric and non-electric campsites. There are several hike-in sites and one youth group campsite. Modern restrooms, showers, dump station and a playground are located in the campground also.
Boone is located four miles north of the park. Ames is fifteen miles east. Madrid is eleven miles south.
Concessions - Ted's Firewood Sales
Open mid-April through late October, Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, 3:00 to 7:00 PM at the campground. Will deliver anytime if buying 5 or more bundles.