Blackhand Gorge Trail

EASY 63 reviews

Blackhand Gorge Trail is a 8.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Heath, Ohio that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

8.5 miles
613 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running





no dogs

This nature reserve is dominated by oak-hickory mature woods along with Virginia pine and mountain laurel. Yellow birch, cherry birch and eastern hemlock grow on northerly exposures. The name Blackhand, for which the preserve is named, originated from a dark hand-shaped Native American petroglyph that was engraved on the face of a massive sandstone cliff along the north side of the river. The engraving was destroyed in 1828 when canal builders dynamited the cliff face, during construction of the Ohio-Erie Canal, which runs through the gorge. The trail itself is asphault with some rough spots where tree roots are reaching under the surface. There is a "wet" bridge where the trail crosses the Bruchy Fork and may be impassable when the water is running high.

trail running
3 months ago

Visited on 4/7/18. This paved trail would be great for a leisurely walk or bike ride. I made a two hour trip to run this path and it's side trails. The Quarry Rim Trail has some great views of a limestone quarry. The Chestnut Trail has some serious elevation gain with a decent view as payoff. You can access both trails from the main paved path. The wet bridge area has suffered from flooding, so it was extremely muddy when I went through. The Main Parking Lot is paved with quite a few spaces and a bathroom. The West Parking Lot is a small gravel lot off the side of the road. The area is well maintained and I would recommend if you live somewhat close. There is nothing spectacular here, but it's a nice little area to explore.

5 months ago

beautiful scenery for the area with plenty of history to accompany the views! Lots of areas to enjoy and change up for additional visits.

5 months ago

Edit: before leaving I went to the opposite trail head where I found the woodland trails I was looking for. The paths take you on an immediate climb uphill where you get a view of the gorge from above. Stunning. Well worth a regular visit

5 months ago

Was expecting more from my first time trip to a highly rated licking county trail. The whole path appears to be paved. I was looking for something more woodsy. Recent flooding and storms have created severe washout on lowland sections of trail; slick mud over blacktop make walking very tedious. About one mile into trail encountered total river washout over the path and was unable to proceed. This trail seems to offer a promising partial day hike with young or inexperienced hikers maybe to picnic farther out. Best to wait until flood waters recede. Will revisit later in summer.

9 months ago

Great trail with a couple off trail loops you can go around. A lot of great photos can be taken here. Very scenic.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Very beautiful. Totally worth the trip!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

This was a beautiful walk. Saw 2 deer and enjoyed the water views!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Lots of interesting topography.

Please stay on the established, official paths at all times. Be very cautious near cliffs.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Awesome park, great scenery and had excellent weather. Was able to walk the Marie Hickey, Knob Hill, Gorge Rim, Chestnut and Half of the Blackhand Gorge multi use trail.

mountain biking
Thursday, August 11, 2016

Great paved trail! There are 3 foot paths, which bikes and pets are not allowed on. Bikes and dogs ARE allowed on the bike path. 2 of the 3 walking paths are closed due to storm damage. There are signs currently up warning of a damaged path. The temporarily replaced part of the pavement with gravel, when it is wet it is very slick for bikes. We completely the 8.8 miles in 1 hr and 27 mins, but we stopped to enjoy the scenery. It's a beautiful place to ride. Definitely recommend.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Good for geology and birdwatching. Went with an OSU earth science class the first time. Pretty basic flat walk, but nice features.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

No dogs allowed. All trails were closed except the bike path.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Just went on Sunday, walked the black path (paved) from parking ('A' marker) to 1 mile out ('F' marker) and back, took about three hours with lots of stops for photos, snacks, checking out the bamboo (?) growing along the creek (river?). This was my wife's first hike in quite some time and first for the kids (3 and 4 years old). Everyone had a great time, and I'm sure it has inspired everyone to want to go again. The kids didn't complain at all! They had a lot of fun climbing the rocks near the slot that was blasted through the formation for the train tracks. Quarry Rim Trail and Preserve areas were closed "due to storm damage", according to the signs.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Its a nice easy hike. I also did the side trails which were nice and not crowded at all. quite a bit of traffic on the main trail, but not bad

Monday, May 09, 2016

Great scenery.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Nice hike, with a bald eagle sighting!
I started at the parking lot at the east end of the main trail, near Toboso. I hiked the Quarry Ridge and Chestnut trails going west, returning to the parking lot via the main trail. The Quarry Ridge and Chestnut trails were very nice - wooded trails with a fair bit of up and down. I was there on a Monday morning and saw only one couple while on these two side trails. Both trails had mudholes in spots, some had branch bridges through the mud, some didn't, all part of what makes hiking fun. When you start the Chestnut from the east end of it (at the 'E' signpost, maybe, just past the railroad trestle, be prepared to climb - roughly 90 feet up in the first 150 yards, total rise of 250' in the first .3 miles. After the enjoyable wooded trails, the main "trail" is somewhat boring. The scenery is nice, but I far prefer dirt or natural rocks underfoot. About a mile and a 1/4 west of the parking lot, I spotted a large dark "lump" in one of the dead trees across the river, maybe 1/4 mile ahead of me. I took a quick photo, slowly moving closer and changed to my 200-500mm lens - just in time to get a not great picture of the bald eagle as it took flight (see the pictures I uploaded). All in all a very nice park.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The paved trail is clean and beautiful! It's really fun that there are some smaller "wooded" trails within the paved one!! I'd definitely go again - maybe bring my bike this time!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I love it! Going up the short, yet a little tougher trails, that bring you to the top of the gorge are awesome! Going off the beaten paths, with a good map, make it a little more adventurous. I love the fact you can go there and then decide, if you want to take it easy or really get your blood pumping.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

It's a great place to go for a run or a quick hike

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

4 mile black trail with 4 shorter trails nearby \ best parking at toboso \ red and yellow trails run along the black, which is a paved-over expired railroad bed \ red trail overlooks some small cliffs and lakes, surprisingly scenic for a little riverside place \ yellow goes up some very long hills \ green is across the river; a short walk through the woods that smell ever the slightest bit of funky in september \ blue is a short trail nearby that ends at a rock tunnel after which there's a nature preserve

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Wow. Where do I start? I've been here to see different parts of Black Hand Gorge and my only gripe is where the dogs can go. Just to save you the trouble you might have from mixed messages on the topic you can take a leashed dog on the paved main bike path through the gorge. Excellent walk or run. Gorgeous views. You may NOT take your dog leashed or otherwise on the trails that aren't paved and most certainly not to the tunnel (and the tunnel is REALLY COOL!) Now I don't feel exactly safe (because it's a bit remote) going totally alone so if you explore these other very awesome trails off the paved path bring a 2 legged buddy.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I love this trail for a casual bike ride! A bit shady, which is great for hot summer days.

trail running
Saturday, August 03, 2013

Great smaller unpacked trails break of from the paved area. Fairly busy on the weekend, but great for cycling, running, or walking. Fairly easy.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

had a great hike with family ?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Excellent trail. Great for biking and also exploring off the paved trail onto marked hiking trails with spectacular scenic views. Blackhand Gorge is great for all seasons.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Beautiful paved trail along a river. It provides great views without the distraction of too many hikers. Dog friendly.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It was a wonderful trail that was really beautiful. The scenery by the water is so nice and it was cool to see old walls from the Erie Canal and a train tunnel built in the 1800s. An easy hike and great if you just want to get outside and walk around in pretty areas without much physical strain.

Friday, September 16, 2011


recorded Blackhand Gorge Trail

6 days ago

1 month ago

Load More