This Ohio Natural Wonder Attracts Visitors from Around the World

Travel Maven

Ohio is filled with natural wonders, from caves covered in crystals to breathtaking waterfalls and state parks, there's always something waiting to be explored here.

Few people are aware that Ohio is actually home to the largest glacial grooves in the world. This natural wonder is easily accessible and can be found on Kelleys Island. Keep reading to learn more.

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Considered a National Landmark, the Glacial Grooves are located on the northern side of Kelleys Island. You can get here via the Kelleys Island Ferry that departs from Marblehead. This 20-minute ride along the water offers visitors great views of the Marblehead Lighthouse, Cedar Point, and the Lake Erie Islands. You can visit this island any time of the year, boats are scheduled at least every hour with additional service at peak times and on holiday weekends. The ferry is only about a 2-hour drive from Cleveland.

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The history behind the Glacial Grooves is fascinating. Made of Devonian limestone, this geological preserve contains marine fossils that are 350 to 400 million years old. The fossils were buried within the solid limestone bedrock approximately 18,000 years ago when parts of North America were covered in sheets of ice. At the height of the last ice age, Kelley’s Island was actually buried underneath a mile of ice, the pressure here would have been incredible.

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Today, the Glacial Grooves are 400 feet long and 35 feet wide. At their deepest points, they are 10 feet deep. They are the world’s largest, known glacial striations.

Glaciers are able to flow like water in a river. Although it is at a much, much slower rate, as these glaciers move and flow, they pick up debris like rocks along the way that form these rare carvings.

The park opened in 1923 but did not become a popular attraction until the 1970s. The Glacial Grooves Geological Preserve is locally managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Historical Society, and Kelley Island State Parks.

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You can take in this incredible natural wonder via a walkway that leads to footbridges and a set of winding stairs for a bird's eye view.

In addition to the Glacial Grooves located here, Kelley's Island is also home to a number of other attractions including their state park where you can camp and visit the beach. Be sure to also check out the historic Inscription Rock while you're here. It is believed to have been carved by Native Americans back in 1643 A.D.

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