Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

Columbus, Ohio 43266

Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This is one beautiful hike, a must- do for all central Ohioans. Take the Blackhand Trail into a deepening gorge along the Licking River, and enjoy bluffs towering over the river while traversing a user- friendly paved path.

Take the Chestnut Trail, climbing along the gorge rim. Backtrack toward the trailhead, then take the Quarry Rim Trail to explore water- filled sandstone quarries that offer contrasting beauty. If the distance is too much, you can tailor the hike to suit your desires."

More Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"Walk along the rim of a sandstone gorge cut by the Licking River. Learn more about the park’s mysterious Native American legacy and ancient namesake. Hikers are rewarded with views of a quarry from the 1800s, towering cliffs, jagged rock, and sandstone outcroppings. Blackhand Gorge was named for a mysterious ancient petroglyph, or rock drawing, of a large hand impression on its wall. Legend has it that the soot-colored hand marked the boundary of a sacred Native American territory where no man was to raise his hand against another. Another story says it was a directional sign to the flint deposits in neighboring Flint Ridge. It’s thought that the region beyond the black hand and around Flint Ridge provided neutral territory for tribes looking for the valuable flint. The hand was destroyed when workers dynamited the walls of the cliff during construction of the Ohio-Erie Canal towpath in the 1800s, but the name of the gorge stuck." Read more

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Asphalt and natural surface.
Skill Level
3.5-5 hours
Views, Wildflowers
Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 2045 Morse Rd., Building C-3, Columbus, OH 43229-6693; (614) 265-6565;
Local Contacts
Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve; USGS Toboso, Hanover.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018