The Ledges at Fitzgerald Park: Soaring Cliffs, River Hikes & Playgrounds Await at Michigan’s Best Kept Secret

Fitzgerald Park Ledges in Grand Ledge

Find The Ledges in Grand Ledge, MI – Including Fitzgerald Park

133 Fitzgerald Park Dr, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Fitzgerald Park, among more than 50 hiking trails in West Michigan, is one of the most tremendous hiking destinations in the state.

Fitzgerald Park – or “The Ledges” to the locals – is just outside of Lansing in Grand Ledge, MI.

The Ledges span three parks: Fitzgerald Park, Lincoln Brick Park, and Oak Park, each with something unique to offer.

We are going to show you why the Ledges are so dreamy and one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets.

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What are the Ledges?

The Ledges in Grand Ledge are 300 million-year-old ancient sandstone rock formations spanning close to five 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.

Fitzgerald Park ledges in grand ledge
Fitzgerald Park and The Ledges

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.

map of Fitzgerald Park ledges in grand ledge

The parks where you’ll find Ledges are:

  • Fitzgerald Park
  • Lincoln Brick Park
  • Oak Park

Fitzgerald Park is the most popular of the three Ledges parks.

Each park protects this natural wonder, wrapping them with fun and amenities.

All three parks have looped hiking trails. This is great because it’s easy to get on autopilot and hike the same trails over and over again. It’s a reason to branch out and try new-to-you trails.

So, where should you start when you go?

There’s no one best park to start with, but some specific details about each park may point your family to start at Fitzgerald Park, Lincoln Brick Park, or Oak Park.

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

Distance Between The Ledges Parks

The Ledges Parks are located near one another

1.3 miles between Oak Park & Lincoln Brick Park
3.3 miles between Lincoln Brick Park & Fitzgerald Park
2.0 miles between Fitzgerald Park & Oak Park

The Ledges at Fitzgerald Park

This West Michigan park in Eaton County near Lansing is a great way to get out and explore more with your family. Most people I talk to have no idea that Fitzgerald Park exists.

The Ledges at Fitzgerald park, named the “Big Rocks” by native tribes, has been a special place for centuries.

Knowing this makes visiting even much more special, as we’re visiting protected, meaningful grounds.

Yes, there are the Ledges along the Grand River to explore. But there is so much more here, too!

The Ledges at Fitzgerald Park Details

133 Fitzgerald Park Dr, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Open 8 AM to Dark everyday.

FEES: FREE to visit and park at year-round

Kid-Friendly: Yes, but the trails do have some steep inclines that make them challenging

DOG-Friendly: Yes, on a 6 ft. leash

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 big draw here are the nature trails along the Grand River that lead to the ancient Ledges. There are also miles of additional nature trails to explore plus a Nature Center.

Amenities include:
18 holes of Disc Golf
Volleyball, tennis & basketball courts, plus soccer fields
Horseshoe pits
Two playgrounds (one for younger and one for older kids)
The Ledges Playhouse (seasonal ticketed performances)
A nature center & fish ladder
– Gorgeous Train Trestle
Amazing photographic backgrounds
Canoe/kayak launch
Cross-country ski trails
Sledding Hill

Fall colors are marvelous here and you’ll see lots of people getting family photos taken at Fitzgerald Park.

Bug spray. Mosquitos can be pesky at certain times of the year.

Modern bathrooms are available in the warmer weather months. The bathrooms are not heated, so must be closed for the winter, usually in October.
When the modern bathroom facilities are not available, portable restrooms are brought in.

Multiple parking lots are available close to the different amenities. If you’re looking to hike down to the Ledges, park on the side of the Ledges playhouse. If you want to see the Fish Ladder or hike the nature trails at the Nature Center, park closer to the Grand River.

There are multiple places to picnic at Fitzgerald Park, with the shelters requiring reservations.
Reservations may be made by calling the park office at 517-627-7351. Each site contains a large grill that is reserved for that site’s use.

I-96 to exit 93-A (M-43/Saginaw Highway West). Travel six miles to Jefferson Street. and turn right. Park entrance is on the left about l/2 mile.

Fitzgerald Park Fall Photos

Tips for Visiting Fitzgerald Park

Tip 1:
Get Familiar with the Map

PDF version of map

Fitzgerald Park is a large place.

Upon arrival, you’ll see an admission booth where you’ll need to pay the Daily Motor Vehicle Entry Fee or show your annual pass.

Continue on and you’ll come to a large parking area.

The bulk of the park’s hiking trails are to the left of the parking area. However, the Ledges trailhead (blue trail on the map) is tucked behind the parks and rec building/ Ledges Playhouse to the right of the main parking area. This is also how you get to the train trestle.

The fish ladder is located near the dam in Fitzgerald Park (grey line across the river on the map).
If you’re lucky, you’ll see fish swim up the fish ladder!

If you’re interested in playing disc golf, the 18-hole course winds its way through the upper level of the whole park.
The frisbee golf course entrance is located near the main parking lot on the righthand side as you enter.

Here’s a map & scorecard.

Fitzgerald Park Map
Click image for printable PDF version

Tip 2:
Hike The Ledges Trail Loop

0.33 miles out and back trail – PDF version of map

Don’t miss the Ledges!
The trail to the Ledges is kind of hard to find on your first visit. It is nowhere near the Nature Center.

Rather, go to the right of the Ledges playhouse and follow the paved path to the steps down.

At first glance, the Ledges Trail doesn’t seem like much.

It starts with a nondescript descent on a set of wooden stairs. But don’t let that fool you – the magic is at the bottom


As you climb down the large staircase you’ll pick up The Ledges trail along the Grand River.

Head to the left and you’ll find smaller Ledges with glorious views of the river and wildlife.


Head to the right and you’ll walk over a footbridge and onto the larger ledges.

There are multiple off-shoot trails along the way.

Fitzgerald Park The Ledges Michigan

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 train trestle

It’s also a spectacular spot for photography.

*Pedestrian traffic is prohibited on the bridge.

Tip 3:
Make Time to Visit the Fish Ladder, the
Nature Center, Hike More Park Trails & Play at the Playground

This park is so enormous it’s easy to miss the fish ladder and dam!

Along with the rushing water, you’ll love the chance to see the park from this view.

Fitzgerald Park Ledges fish ladder

The Ledges may be the reason you visit Fitzgerald park, but make sure to include the nature center and fish ladder on your trip, too.

Fitzgerald Park Fish Ladder
Fish ladder at Fitzgerald Park.

Fitzgerald Park’s Nature Center occasionally provides programs relating to ecology, wildlife, and natural history.

Multiple hiking trail loops are located near the nature center.

Fitzgerald Park Hiking trails
Hiking Trails near the Fitzgerald Park Nature Center.

Play equipment is on a sandy surface that is geared toward the younger set.

While there are no fenced in areas, toddlers and preschoolers with love this area.

Fitzgerald Park Ledges Playground

Tip 4:
Park in Downtown Grand Ledge and Hike the Ledges Trail along the Grand River

Fitzgerald Memorial Field to Fitzgerald Park

If you’re up for a 2.5-mile roundtrip riverside hike along the ledges trail to Fitzgerald Park, you can do that via a linear park.

It’s lovely and highly recommended for the pretty views and many photo ops along the way.

The Ledge Trail – Hike Details

Park at the Island Park parking lot in downtown Grand Ledge (near Fitzgerald Memorial Field, 110 S Bridge St, Grand Ledge, MI 48837).

Fitzgerald Memorial Field and Island Park Parking Lot

There’s a restroom here, and a nice park (Island Park) that you might want to spend some time at.

This is the bridge to Island Park.

Grand Ledge bridge to Island Park

When you’re ready to head out on the ledges trail, look for the Riverwalk along the Grand River. The start of the trail is a bit obscured.

Find this sign and you’ll know you’re in the right place and ready to take the riverwalk northwest up to Fitzgerald Park.

Grand Ledge linear park trail sign (1)

The ledges trail is narrow at the start and there are several places where footing is unstable and there’s a steep drop-off down to the river. This is something to consider when hiking with kids.

You would not want a jogging stroller on this hike.

Other than that, the ledges trail is pretty flat and is an easy hike if exposed roots and the occasional washout are not a concern.

Fitzgerald Park ledges in grand ledge trail

On your way, you’ll pass the train trestle.

Train Trestle at Ledges in Grand Ledge

When you find Sandstone Creek, you’re at the boundary of Fitgerald Park.

Take the detour on the left, just before the footbridge. This will give you a great vantage point from high up on the ledges.

Fitzgerald Park ledges in grand ledge paved walking path
When you see the footbridge, you’re almost at Fitzgerald Park. Follow the creek to the left before crossing the bridge for a bonus Ledges experience.

cliffs along sandstone creek fitzgerald park
The Ledges along Sandstone Creek

At this point, you’ve hiked about 1.3 miles and you have a choice to make:

Head back down to the main path and continue on to Fitzgerald Park where you can hike some more, use the facilities, or start the return trip to town.

If you decide to visit Fitzgerald Park, you will come to a staircase just after the footbridge. Restrooms, playground equipment, soccer fields, and the disc golf course are at the top of these stairs.

If you continue on the ledges trail along the river, you will come to the fish ladder and dam.

The Ledges Trail: Map of Hiking Route from Downtown Grand Ledge to Fitzgerald Park

How to See the Ledges at Lincoln Brick Park

Located across the Grand River from Fitzgerald Park, Lincoln Brick Park is a 90-acre park that’s composed of a variety of habitats from open prairie to upland and lowland forested areas with over 6,000 feet of river frontage.

This park has two picnic pavilions, an interpretive center, playgrounds, a swim beach, two miles of nature and cross-country ski trails, and fishing areas.

Lincoln Brick Park is named for the company that made bricks there until 1949. In fact, a part of the old brick factory is still standing and can be seen when you hike.

The Ledges at Lincoln Brick Park Details

13991 Tallman Rd, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Open 8 AM to dusk everyday.

FEES: FREE to visit and park at year-round

Kid-Friendly: Yes, but some of the trails have steep inclines that not all kids are ready to handle.

The ancient ledges are a major highlight at this destination, as are the old brick factory ruins on the premises. The sandstone cliffs, or ledges, seen at Oak and Fitzgerald Park are also exposed here in 40′ vertical cliffs towering over the swimming hole.

Amenities include:
Interpretive Center – includes a museum and classroom meeting area
Nature Trails & Prarie Area
Playgrounds & Picnic Areas
Fishing Pond
– Swimming Hole in the Old Quarry Pit
Cross Country Ski Trails and Rental
– Bathrooms

Lincoln Brick Park The Ledges Michigan

Yes, on the grounds and to the lower water and launch areas.
No, on The ledges trail.


I-96 to exit 86 (M-100/Wright Road). Turn south on M100. Follow M-100 one mile south to State Road and turn west. Travel west on State Road one mile to Tallman Road and turn south. Park entrance is on the right about one mile.

Tips for Visiting Lincoln Brick Park

Tip 1:
See the Ruins

When you arrive you’ll be immediately immersed in 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 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.


Tip 2:
Hike to See the Ledges

This park is a double-dose-o’-fun!

The historical site is AMAZING, yes (see above) 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 want to hike the trail to Frazier’s Pond.


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.


When you get close to the pond you can decide to go up to the overlook at Pintail Point, where you’ll find yourself at the top of the Ledges overlooking the bay on a fenced-in open space area.

If you head down toward the water you can gaze up at the high cliffs of the Ledges along the edge of the pond, or take your kayak out for a float to see them up close.


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 lovers of hiking and/or a great picnic date.


Continue your trek on the Deer Run trail and any of the other trails you want to try.

The Deer Run trail follows the banks of the Grand River, getting close to the water at times and winding down, up, and sideways through the area.

Hike and Rock Climb the Ledges at Oak Park

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.

Oak Park ledges in grand ledge

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. 

Oak Park ledges in grand ledge
The Ledges at Oak Park in Grand Ledge, MI

The Ledges at Oak Park Details

700 W Front St, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

FREE to visit and park at year-round

Daily, dawn to dusk

Kid-Friendly:  Yes and No. Parents will want to gauge if this trail is suitable depending on age and ability. This trail is steep and difficult to navigate.

Climbers flock to this location to see if they can make if up any of the 80+ routes up the sandstone rock faces.
The park features 30’ tall sandstone ledges along the banks of the Grand River.

Amenities include:
Natural Climbing
– Hiking trails
– Restrooms
– Hammock Area
– Photo Ops

Not on the trail.
The field and lookout area – yes.

Free parking in the parking lot.

Tips for Visiting Oak Park

Tip 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 avid hiker and not a place for super young kids or those who need an accessible trail. 


No matter where you start on the trail you’ll loop back around to hammock haven.

It’s maybe a half-mile long at the most, but it packs a big adventure punch! 


After you’re done hiking the Ledges at Oak Park you can enjoy a few more popular destination activities, like hammocking and watching the rock climbers.

Tip 2:
Bring a Hammock

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. 

Tip 3:
Catch Rock Climbers in Action – or Join In

This part of the Ledges has built-in metal anchors for climbers.

Many climbers 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 the ledges

If you’re wanting to see The Ledges at Oak Park and hope to see some climbers in action head for the 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.


These lookouts provide a beautiful view of the Ledges.


Tips for Your Ledges Visit, No Matter the Park

Tip 1:
Wear 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.

Protect yourself from falls and slips and you’ll love going to The Ledges year-round.

Tip 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 Voldemort 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.

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.

Tip 3:
Visit When Your Energy Levels are High

Many times when we visit the Ledges we just barely get to walk the trails.

Why? We spent so much time at the playgrounds that the kids were 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.

Otherwise, you’ll probably end up with tired kids who make it about 0.2 miles into the trail and want to head back already.

Don’t let the playround adventures take away from the awesome exploration on the Ledges trails waiting for you.

Oh, and bring lots of snacks and water!

Refreshments: Stop Here Before you Leave Grand Ledge

Hey hikers and climbers! During the warmer months, the heat can be brutal.

Using all of that energy usually results in some panting kids (and adults) so cool off with water and ice cream.

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!

Fitzgerald Park ledges in grand ledge Lickity Split Corner Cafe

Where to Stay in Grand Ledge, MI

*The following may include affiliate links.

Vacation Rentals

Little Loft of Adventure

2 BR, 1 Bath, Sleeps 7

A cute little space perfect for small families.

Whether your visiting with the family, or in town for business, this cozy TINY house was made to appeal to all. A sun room home office area, internet, Xbox, Roku Smart TV, washer/dryer, new furniture & all the essentials.

And, there’s a private bonus room of adventure! If you want an experience outside of the norm, venture through the pantry and up the tiny, narrow staircase. Kids & adults alike can lose themselves in this little area of awe. You’ll love it

Classic Lansing Home

4 BR, 2 Bath, Sleeps 12

This home is absolutely stunning. It is located in a quiet neighborhood in the Lansing area on a street with many unique homes filled with charming character, just like this one.

The home has four bedrooms, two of which have queen beds, one with a double full bunk bed setup.

The entertainment room has games, a card table, and a giant projector/xbox setup.

Hotel Stays

Map of Grand Rapids Parks and Trails

Find your next outdoor adventure near you with our map of the best hiking trails, playgrounds, and parks in West Michigan.

About The Author

12 thoughts on “The Ledges at Fitzgerald Park: Soaring Cliffs, River Hikes & Playgrounds Await at Michigan’s Best Kept Secret”

  1. Pingback: The One Thing Kids Must do in Each Michigan County - Michigan Family Fun

  2. Elise Buchholz

    What are the trails like? I have a big sturdy 3 wheeled jeep stroller that does well at a lot of places a normal stroller wouldn’t. However it can’t take on every trail. I’d feel good about jumping in the car snd giving it a whirl if I knew for sure! Thanks in advance for the help!

  3. I jog here many mornings, or to Oak Park…I like to see ya’ll cause then it’s less lonely lol, but please please take your trash with you when you go! We have a lot. 🙁

  4. I grew up in Grand Ledge, and spent most of my youth exploring “The Park”. After crossing the footbridge, turn right, and look for the Indian Head carved into the stone!

  5. W’ve always enjoyed this local park. Although it’s not in West Michigan. It’s located just west of Lansing. 🙂

  6. Katherine Strassburg

    Grand Ledge also throws great parties! The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Victorian Days this spring, but Yankee Doodle Days will be coming soon, followed by the Island Art Fair and the Fall Color Cruise. For a complete list and details, contact our Chamber of Commerce. We also have a wonderful observatory at Fox Park in Potterville. The events are fun for all…lots of telescopes available and lots of experienced folks on hand to help explain and to lift little ones up to the eye pieces. Great family activity… love to stay up past their bed time! Contact Eaton County Parks and Recreation for more information. If you come to Lincoln Brick Park, I’ll be the old lady with the walking stick, and my sister and I will be glad to greet you! Indigo Buntings, Pileated Woodpeckers, Wood Ducks, Bald Eagles nesting nearby, amazing wildflowers….we’ve got it all! Thanks for the great article. Come back any time!

  7. Went here as a kid forgot all about thanks for the reminder we will be making trip there after school is out!

  8. Oak Park across the river has even more amazing ledges. Turn on Front St. at Lickity Split until it dead ends at Oak Park.

  9. Ellie Spitzbergen

    I have four generations that have and still do enjoy the park and it’s ledges. Your pictures are outstanding, thank you for sending this for all to see.

  10. Heidi Fitzgibbon

    Awesome! So enjoying this series:) Thanks for introducing us to some great local treasures!

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