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Ledge Park

Wisconsin > Horicon

Description

Ledge Park offers great views of the rolling countryside from atop the Niagara Escarpment's limestone bluffs.  But for rock climbers, observing a couple distant grazing cows is uninteresting, unimportant, and unoriginal.  We prefer to gaze in the complete opposite direction from the cornfields at a rock face, inches away from our noses while we grunt and claw our way up the cliff.  But whether you enjoy the former or the latter, this park has enough activities for anyone.  Take in the fresh air and beautiful Wisconsin landscape, hike among the chossy ledges, toss some horseshoes, spike a volleyball, hit up the playgrounds for a little nostalgia, and stay a night or two.  And, you know, climb rocks.
 
As previously mentioned, the rock here is limestone with most of the climbable spots being average to low quality (with exceptions).  Some climbable walls are the perfect height for bouldering or a little short, and some toe the line between a highball and a toprope - the bouldering potential here outweighs the number of quality topropes.  Most problems range from V1 to V4; it's hard to find difficult problems here since there is often a ledge halfway up and numerous footholds to choose from.  Even when considering that the star ratings are relative/specific to Ledge Park, there is low potential for 4-star routes due to the rock quality.  Do not let this discourage you however, as this is the closest outdoor bouldering for dedicated lakeshore climbers and worth the drive.  There is still potential for new route development, so get out there with a brush, gloves, and bug spray.
 
Please be respectful of other park enjoyers; keep the music volume low, pack out all of your trash, and brush your tick marks before leaving.  You can even pick up rogue trash from other disrespectful users if you feel so inclined - it's a constant battle to collect energy drink cans and empty Swisher Sweets packages.  There are garbage and recycling dumpsters south (downhill) of the "Scenic Overlook" parking lot.

For more pics and info, check out the forum post here:
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/midwest/horicon_ledge_park__limestone/106176349

Info on Ledge Park:
http://www.co.dodge.wi.gov/government/departments-e-m/land-resources-and-parks/parks-and-trails/ledge-park

More info on the Niagra Escarpment:
https://onmilwaukee.com/visitors/articles/niagaraescarpment.html

Getting There

All of the climbing areas are most easily accessed by taking a right at the first fork, driving past the office (speed bump), and parking at either the "Ledge Rocks Hiking Trail" or "Scenic Overlook" parking lots.  The left fork leads to a lower road with a small pond and a turnaround.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Horicon+Ledge+Park,+WI&sll=43.482446,-88.570147&sspn=0.04347,0.080338&ie=UTF8&ll=43.463386,-88.576798&spn=0.021742,0.040169&t=p&z=15&iwloc=A

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

This trail disappears to the left, creeping between a narrow gap in the rock. This is an example of some of the better-quality rock at Ledge Park. A lot of it is choss, but there are some great sections just waiting to be climbed.
[Hide Photo] This trail disappears to the left, creeping between a narrow gap in the rock. This is an example of some of the better-quality rock at Ledge Park. A lot of it is choss, but there are some great sec…
One of the trails that cuts through the Southern section of the escarpment. The Northern section is one continuous wall, while the Southern bit is ripe for bouldering, with the rock breaking into numerous crevices large enough to walk through.
[Hide Photo] One of the trails that cuts through the Southern section of the escarpment. The Northern section is one continuous wall, while the Southern bit is ripe for bouldering, with the rock breaking into n…
One of the larger standing pillars of rock, in the 'bouldering area' sitting next to the trail that winds along the base of the escarpment.
[Hide Photo] One of the larger standing pillars of rock, in the 'bouldering area' sitting next to the trail that winds along the base of the escarpment.
Looking Southwest<br>
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Rather than walking all the way around, access to western bits of the 'bouldering area' can be easily reached from the parking lot but following the first trail North a few hundred feet, and then  carefully descending through the gap, centered in this image. If you reach the benches by the overlook, you've gone too far. Trails also wind through the crevice that runs through the middle of this shot.
[Hide Photo] Looking Southwest Rather than walking all the way around, access to western bits of the 'bouldering area' can be easily reached from the parking lot but following the first trail North a few hun…
Low-res image a friend shot from within the bouldering area.
[Hide Photo] Low-res image a friend shot from within the bouldering area.
One of the Southernmost sections of the escarpment.
[Hide Photo] One of the Southernmost sections of the escarpment.
Just a wider, more recent shot of the same section of ledge pictured on this area's profile.
[Hide Photo] Just a wider, more recent shot of the same section of ledge pictured on this area's profile.
A sign within the 'bouldering area' - located just footsteps west of the first parking lot. This whole area is pretty large, with many cavernous crevacices winding north for several hundred feet. As one person noted, there's potential for 20+ problems here, but it's currently VERY underdeveloped. The area is trafficked by kids and families exporing, and there is some litter; be mindful of broken glass, I've found a little here and there (garbage/recycling dumpsters are a short walk north if you're so inclined to clean up after other people.)<br>
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The main ledge is located past this area to the north.
[Hide Photo] A sign within the 'bouldering area' - located just footsteps west of the first parking lot. This whole area is pretty large, with many cavernous crevacices winding north for several hundred feet. A…
Me doing some moves on the slanting boulder. Crapy photo, but you get the point.
[Hide Photo] Me doing some moves on the slanting boulder. Crapy photo, but you get the point.
Possible V1? Start in the juggy finger pockets on the bottom and go straight up, staying away from the nice finger pocket halfway up the face.
[Hide Photo] Possible V1? Start in the juggy finger pockets on the bottom and go straight up, staying away from the nice finger pocket halfway up the face.
One of the taller bluffs at ledge park.
[Hide Photo] One of the taller bluffs at ledge park.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

James Schroeder
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] Looks sweet John Jun 3, 2008
[Hide Comment] Hope to see you there James. Jun 3, 2008
[Hide Comment] Nice Find! Jul 3, 2008
Nathan E
Yosemite
[Hide Comment] We did some climbing around here when we were desperate, and I've read that others did a while ago. I remember a really short tower with a rap from a tree branch. I believe UW did/does their final trip for the rappelling course here too. Jul 14, 2008
Andy N.
Milwaukee, WI
[Hide Comment] Wow, all the comments here are over 5 years old. This area is still relatively untouched and unknown. I just discovered this area recently, and during Memorial Day weekend there were kids running around and exploring, but no serious climbers.

With a handful of exceptions, much of the rock is in pretty tough shape, either enveloped in moss or falling apart. That said, with some care and a bit of cleaning, there are a few select areas with top-rope potential towards the north of the park — adjacent to the camping area — and at least a dozen undiscovered/unestablished boulder problems.


I'm living ~15 min away for the next 3 months; some new lines should be popping up on here soon. May 25, 2014
Schulb72
Winston-Salem, NC
[Hide Comment] Being only 47 minutes from Milwaukee's Zoo Interchange it gives us Milwaukee folks something to play on.

This place is rough, dirty and virtually undeveloped but counter that with easy access, minimal travel time and a few good routes/problems and it begs the question: why not?

Climbing here is not officially banned nor promoted so keep a low profile. Most visitors are friendly and curious, but park staff may not be. May 25, 2014
Silent Destroyer
Appleton, WI
[Hide Comment] Been out here cleaning and uncovering some really good problems with a ton of potential for harder stuff too me and my climbing partner will be out here the next few Saturdays if anyone wants to come out and join the brush party Jul 23, 2014
[Hide Comment] I stopped by this Park for a quick hike, check out the climbing for the future and to do some photography while on my way to West Bend. There is a lot of chossy rock but there is also quite a bit of good rock hidden under the moss. If there is anyone who is still interested in cleaning up part of this area I would be game for helping out for an afternoon or two! Might need to wait a few weeks, as some of the gullies are still a bit Icy. Mar 23, 2018
meulendykej Meulendyke
Milwaukee, WI
[Hide Comment] Hey Lizz, did you get any takers? May 23, 2018
Patrick Landis
Milwaukee, WI
[Hide Comment] Anybody interested in cleaning these routes up this year? I’m available evenings and work in Oconomowoc, so it’s not too far of a drive from here. I was just there yesterday and it looks untouched. Moss everywhere and absolutely no chalk. I definitely see the potential, though. Apr 17, 2019