Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

Toboso, Ohio

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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.
Best Easy Day Hikes: Columbus

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Easy Day Hikes: Columbus

by Susan Finch (Falcon Guides)

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.

©  Susan Finch/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking, Trail Running
Nearby City: Toboso
Distance: 1.8
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1.5 hours
Season: March through November
Local Maps: USGS Thornville
Driving Directions: Directions to Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

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May 2018