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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.

Distance: 8.5 miles Elevation Gain: 613 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

partially paved

river

views

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 asphalt 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.

hiking
washed out
19 days ago

Hiked on 5/2/20. Part of the paved path had been washed out due to recent flooding so if you’re planning to bike it it may be difficult. However side trails that are just dirt were is great shape. Pretty place. I’d like to kayak it some day.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Mostly even path, easy, great to take the kids. We couldn’t get more than two miles in because of flooding, but excited to go back.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice well kept trail! A little muddy when you get off the pavement but nothing boots can’t handle.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

We enjoyed the trail! The creek crossing was too muddy to do safely but we had a solid walk on the asphalt paved path!

hiking
5 months ago

Along with Quarry Rim I also did Chestnut and Butterbush trails as part of this hike as well as Canal Trail across the river from parking lot. The non- paved trails are the best part of this hike. Beautiful and varied scenery.

hiking
muddy
7 months ago

walking
8 months ago

Love this trail. My husband and I walk this with our 11 year old and 6 year.. It's a beautiful place and we've been on one side trail which was also beautiful. It's easy to manage the original trail and plenty of space for a bike to pass. Definitely recommend it, once you get down to where the water cross the trail it's a nice little break spot to enjoy.

hiking
8 months ago

very clean and safe park. if you take the quary rim trail, keep a close eye on your kids as there are a couple spots with some serious drop offs of 30 or more feet. mildly up and down but overall a rewarding hike.

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail. Weather was perfect. Nice view of Licking River . Trail is good condition. Small section was eroded but of no issue.

hiking
9 months ago

The bike trail has lots of beautiful scenery and the side trails offer a bit of exploration. Definitely worth a visit.

hiking
bugs
11 months ago

nice little water falls along the bike path. nice quarry rim trail.

Sun Aug 19 2018

Always something new to see

running
Tue Apr 24 2018

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.

hiking
Mon Mar 05 2018

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

hiking
Tue Feb 20 2018

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

hiking
Tue Feb 20 2018

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.

walking
Mon Nov 13 2017

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

walking
Wed Jul 19 2017

Very beautiful. Totally worth the trip!

Sun Jul 02 2017

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

Sat Jun 03 2017

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

hiking
Tue 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
Thu Aug 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.

bird watching
Mon Aug 08 2016

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

Sat Aug 06 2016

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

walking
Tue Jul 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.

Mon Jun 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

Mon May 09 2016

Great scenery.

hiking
Sat Apr 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.

hiking
Mon Apr 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!!

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