Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve, Newark: Address, Phone Number, Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve Reviews: 4.5/5

Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve
4.5
The area
Address
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4.5
83 reviews
Excellent
54
Very good
26
Average
3
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Gary B
Newark, OH12 contributions
Beautiful
Sep 2020
If you ae in the area and like to hike, canoe or kayak, this is the place. One of Ohio's secret spots to visit.
Written February 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Paul S
Marion1,565 contributions
Not enough adjectives
Sep 2020
There are gorges even in Ohio that are longer or deeper ( Clear Fork, Tinkers Creek) but there simply are not enough positive adjectives in the English language to describe this hidden gem just east of Newark and just south of the highway. Everyone whizzing by doesn't know what they are missing. It is so close to civilization yet relatively remote so you should have a regular map along as the gps routed us to a locked gate on the dirt road leading to a couple trails olong the north side bluffs. This portion of the preserve is above the cliffs and across the river from the path through the gorge we were trying to reach. To save you some frustration, here are better directions. To reach the west trail head, follow the signs for Flint Ridge. Turn left after crossing the LIcking River and then take another immediate left to the gravel parking lot (no facilities). It is just over four miles to go through the entire gorge so a car shuttle to the east lot would be a good idea. If you are short on time or stamina, the deepest part of the gorge is less than a mile down the paved trail from the paved east lot which also has pit toilets. To get to this side, take the Gratiot exit (hwy 278) south from hwy 16. The parking lot will be on the right after you cross the river. Scenic and historical sites are designated and posted with a letter starting at A and distances between each point are clearly marked as well. The main path is fine for strollers and wheelchairs although I would not recommend either on the dirt paths on the side hikes, especially the quarry rim trail. Dogs are allowed ON LEASH on the primary path as well but not on the other routes because the area is a state nature preserve.
Written October 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nathanael I
Ada, OH28 contributions
An Amazing Place with History and Amazing Views
Sep 2020
I visited Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve on Wednesday, September 9. just after noon. I spent around 4-5 hours there. Based on prior research I was really looking forward to visiting and it lived up to my expectations.

I first hiked the Marie Hickey Trail. This was the one part of the visit that was a little bit of a let-down. I wouldn't say it was bad, but I was expecting more. It may have liked the trail more had I started the loop at the other entrance. When you park at the parking area, there are two places to start the loop-trail. The signs specifically point you to an area just beyond a post blocking vehicle entry up the trail. That is where I started. If I was doing it over, I would start in the area off to the side of the parking lot (You should notice a path through trees. Most of this trail is through a forest. There is one area where you can overlook the Licking River, but it is partially blocked by trees and plant life. There is also a neat small gorge area that you can walk off the main trail and explore. I was hoping to see a waterfall in this area, but it has been too dry in Ohio recently. Nonetheless, this is a neat spot.

I followed that by hiking part of the main, paved Blackhand Trail. Out and back, this trail would total around eight miles. I had done some previous hiking earlier in the day, so I did not advance much past the first mile of the trail (I started at the main parking lot). That being said, there were some amazing things to take note of on this beginning stretch of the trail. Right before you enter the deep cut section of the trail, which takes you between two large rock cliffs, there is a short side trail that takes you down close to the river. You can view an amazing cliff on the other side of the Licking River. It is a very cool site to see. Then, you get to walk through the "deep cut" which is also very cool. Just beyond this is the start of the Quarry Rim Trail. This takes you off the main trail, up onto some of the bluffs, and into the forest. There are some neat views along this trail of other quarries and cliffs as well. It will loop back to the main trail.

The last trail I hiked was probably my favorite despite the fact it is only a mile out and back. You will need to park in the river access parking lot and cross the road to hike this trail. At the very beginning, there is a short offshoot trail that takes you to an old canal lock that was along Ohio-Erie Canal. It is interesting to view. If you keep on walking, you will eventually make it to a tunnel where trains used to go through. It is kind of eerie to walk through, but very cool. Just beyond the tunnel there is a trail that goes left and will take you to the bottom of the huge cliff that you can view from the Blackhand Trail. Then just beyond that on the main trail there is another off-shoot trail that you can climb up to the top of the cliff. This has excellent views of the river, but be careful getting took close to the edge because there is a long dropoff.

All in all, this would be a great place to spend a day or afternoon. If I lived closer, I would probably hike or run the paved Blackhand Trail often. You can also kayak on the Licking River with excellent scenery. I highly recommend.
Written September 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Previa1994
Chicago, IL5,402 contributions
A Gorgeous trail through a gorge
Jun 2020
The Blackhand Gorge Trail in Heath is built on a former rail corridor and so grades are gentle. The trail is asphalt paved, well signed, and is 4.3 miles long. The trail runs on the southern side of Licking River and through the gorgeous Blackhand gorge. Thick forest vegetation provides complete shade for the trail and it remains surprisingly cool. Cyclists, hikers and other trail users will be treated to views of the adjacent river, the gorge, and high rock walls and bluffs. Evidence of the railroad history of the area is obvious as you pass through huge pieces of blasted rock. There are also nature hiking trails branching off from the main paved trail. Plaques along the trail provide history of the old railroad and of quarries in the area.

Parking is available at both ends of the Blackhand Gorge Trail. At the larger eastern parking lot, there is a historic log cabin, but I did not find any signs telling what it is. Blackhand Gorge Trail is one fully enjoyable trail for all.
Written July 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

D T
Jacksonville, FL140 contributions
Great Hike with Family
Mar 2020
We hiked to the waterway. We went up to lookout over the water and we walked around the rock. It was beautiful! The old tunnel was stunning! We heard woodpeckers and other birds! It was a great day out!
Written March 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Arnold W
Newark, OH3 contributions
Great Hike
Oct 2019 • Family
Great place to get away for the day great hiking areas paths paved bike path alongside the river great nature preserve great place to spend the day with the family checking out the wild
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rebecca R
9 contributions
Blackhand gorge
Jun 2019 • Friends
This is such a nice recreational area. There is a great walking trail with many small trails that branch off from the main path. I really enjoy kayaking down the licking river that goes through this beautiful park!
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

maya870
Zanesville, OH143 contributions
Fun exercise
Aug 2019 • Family
A fun and beautiful trail to walk or bike on. The little trails that go off to the side of the main trail are super pretty and can lead you to some very cool places as well. This is also a fun place for a date!
Written August 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Destination736272
Columbus, OH20 contributions
Great place for a walk
Sep 2018 • Couples
Water is pretty but not for getting wet. Trees and cliffs are more than we expected. Glad we went. Not overly crowded, easy, paved path and an optional little dirt path for some variety.
Written July 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Adam B
12 contributions
Great place to go.
Aug 2018 • Family
The paved trail is an easy ride even for our kids. We take the time to park the bikes and do a little hiking on some of the side trails. Check the map before taking the side trails a couple of them are quite long and not going to be good for younger kids. Park is clean and well maintained.
Written February 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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