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Ft. Hill Gorge Trail to Deer Trail is a 4.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Cynthiana, Ohio that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from December until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 4.6 mi Elevation gain 649 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Cave Forest River Views Wild flowers Wildlife
Description
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Facilities
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Getting There

Note: Users have reported that the Gorge Trail is currently closed. Please check with the park before attempting this route. These two trails are connected. Gorge Trail begins at parking lot but you have to take another trail, such as Deer Trail to get back to the beginning. There are several earth caches on these trails, for those hikers who also geocache. If you start with Gorge Trail all the sets of stairs will be going down. Be sure to take a camera. There are lots of scenic views and interesting rock outcrops. There are several natural arches, including the second largest natural arch in the state of Ohio - The Keyhole. There is also an old log cabin that makes a good spot for a rest or snack.

Parking lot with plenty of space. Outdoor restroom facilities. Picnic tables and a shelter house. There's a museum that is open only on the weekends from May to October.

Fort Hill 13614 Fort Hill Road, Hillsboro, OH 45133 For information & reservations call the Arc of Appalachia main office at: 937-365-1935 Email address: forthill@arcofappalachia.org

Fort Hill is located in Highland County, in south central Ohio. From Highway 50, turn south on SR 41 on the west side of the small town of Bainbridge. Follow SR 41 south through the small village of Cynthiana. Continue on for a few more miles. Just after SR 753 comes in on your right, you will see the wooden entrance signs on your right directing you to Fort Hill. Turn right on Fort Hill Road. The entrance is less than one mile further on your left and is well marked.

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Reviews (38)
Photos (56)
Recordings (23)
Completed (73)
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Daniel Walker
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Ryan Ritondaro
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Hiking

A little over grown. Had fun!!

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Bridgette Warner
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Hiking
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Alexus Rinehart
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HikingBlowdownIcyMuddyOver grown

Gorge trail is closed. Didn’t get to complete entire hike. Very muddy. Bridges are icy. Lots of trees covering path.

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Kim benz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 11, 2019
Hiking

We took this in October when the trail was relatively dry. It is a beautiful but rough trail. I measured the actual elevation change across the 4.4 miles and it was 2600 fit. There is a lot of up and down and lots of roots, stones, narrow paths and generally slippery conditions. This trail earns its moderate rating. I could see during the wet season it would go to strenuous. We are 66 years and in good condition but not athletic and it gave us a workout but very doable. We are fairly experienced Day hikers so we did not have too many issues but we were wearing hiking shoes. The gorge trail is supposed to be closed but we did it. Some parts are really narrow and rough. Also several steps were out. Still very doable.

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JD M
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HikingMuddyRockyScrambleWashed out

A wonderful piece of Ohio and an awesome trail. But be warned, we went in July and this was possibly the toughest and muddiest 4.5 mile hike I've ever done. I've been hiking my whole life and have done the Grand Canyon on foot. This trail could arguably be ranked above moderate. This trail is for pretty serious hikers who are looking for a really good workout. Would have been much easier and more relaxing had it just been my wife and me, but we brought our 8 and 5 year old. The whole hike took 4 to 5 hours with them due to the constant elevation changes and mud. This mud is no joke... I'm talking go in ankle deep and hope your shoe comes back out mud. And we constantly encountered mud like that during the hike. Both my boys lost a shoe in the mud at least once. I almost lost mine once. I'm a hiking shoe, not boot, guy. You'll want hiking boots on this trail, trust me. Bring trekking poles too if you have them. Be sure to bring a change of clothes and clean shoes for when you get back to your car, especially for your kids. And have trash bags in the car for your muddy boots and clothes after the hike. In summary I wouldn't recommend bringing a 5 year old. He did great but it wore him out; had to carry him up hills quite a bit towards the end. My 8 year old did fine. Bring lots of baby wipes in your pack if your kids don't like being covered in mud. We had to give our boys army baths before we'd let them back in the car too.

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Michele Brown
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HikingMuddy

Great trail, def moderate due to mud and inclines. Today was pretty slippery in places. Recommend poles and boots.

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Cassie Adkins
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Hiking

Hardest trail we have done!!!

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Jill Shaffer
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My favorite trail in Southern Ohio! The initial incline is a rather difficult but totally worth it. Beautiful scenery and very tranquil, but also a great workout.

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Kristin Finnerty
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2018
Hiking

I loved it! But I took Fort Trail to Gorge Trail, about 4.5 miles. Today was muddy, and very slick so a few moments were a bit scary near the edge of some cliffs. Challenging, but part of what I enjoyed. Beautiful scenery! Had my dogs with me so we stopped off at the creek so they could have a little swim. Will do again for sure.

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Dale Freeman
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Hiking

The gorge is awesome. Definitely worth the effort. I would not rate this trail as moderate. Once you’re in the gorge the trail is narrow and treacherous with rocks and roots to navigate.

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Brent Ross
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The start of the Deer trail is a steep uphill climb. By the time we got to the Gorge Trail, we were pretty spent. The Gorge Trail was really nice, with much more to see. I'd go 5-star, but some parts are in disrepair.

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Ladoska Garvey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 13, 2017
Hiking

The inclines of the trail definitely wear you out but there are enough flat parts of the trail to recoop! Beautiful scenery walking by the creek and seeing all of the wild flowers! Will definitely do again!

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Moni B
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Hiking

I actually didn't complete the Deer to Gorge Trail, but one of the shorter loops, beginning with the Buckeye Trail, which was approximately three miles. I was having difficulty with shin splints from new hiking shoes, so we cut our hike short. This was, however, still a worthwhile loop. It's first leg was a challenging incline. It leveled out for a short time, then, turned into another sharp incline. This trail is trimmed by the mounds from the ancient, Hopewell tribe, so there was also an intriguing historical element. The trail plateaued, and we could hear a distant motor. As we got closer, it grew really loud until we realized it was coming from a small pond. Our "motor" was thousands of frogs! This is a unique trail system that I will definitely come back to. Don't attempt this trail in wet weather, unless you dare. The last leg is a steep downhill trail. It is wet, even in fairly dry weather. There are also bathrooms and lots of picnic tables.

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mike ledford
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Hiking

Completed Gorge to Deer Trail. Also added leg to see circle mound via the buckeye trail. Length was just under 5 miles. Well marked (previous reviews must be out of date on signage), fun hike. Very slippery when wet! For GPS use "Fort Hill Memorial" as the destination. Limited cell service once you are with a few miles of the trail head.

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C H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 12, 2017
Hiking

Good hike to ease you into elevation changes, water crossing and ledge walking. Nothing too technical, but definitely a step above the average family walk in the park. Lots of beauty. Very secluded. Light traffic, not many people make the drive here.

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Paul Tillinghast
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nice moderate hike with multiple loops. some nice vista's. worth the trip.

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Christina Adrian
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Hiking

Well maintained trail. The signage has greatly improved.

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Matt Page
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A friend and myself hiked this trail in November. It is a nice trail with some great scenery. Just challenging enough. Trail was will kept. We went off trail many times in the gorge just to do some exploring. Like others have said, take your trekking poles.

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James Tecco
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Great hike! with great scenery. My wife and I hiked Deer Trail and returned through the Gorge Trail. Outside of Hocking Hills (does have poor signage )this has to be one of the top trails within 1.5 hours from Cincinnati. Will be back to complete the Canopy Trail. Also, the directions that AllTrails gave us were horrible. The original entrance it took us to was down a gravel side street with no signage and no trail.

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Melissa Whitley-Huff
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Hiking
First to Review

We took Gorge Trail in and did some of the earthcaches while hiking. We picked up Deer Trail to return to the parking lot. This is one of the prettiest hikes in the area. We saw spring flowers, deer, and our first butterfly of the year on this hike. Lots of rock outcroppings and scenic views. We had a 10 & 4 year old with us and they held up very well on this hike. If you use hiking staffs, be sure to take them on this one. There are some steep areas with narrow trails in some spots.

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Stephanie Sexton
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Kyle Root
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Stephanie Sexton
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