John Bryan State Park and Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve; Yellow Springs, Ohio

This weekend I went hiking at John Bryan State Park and Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs Ohio with my friend Ester. We began our hike on the Pittsburgh to Cincinnati Stagecoach trail at John Bryan which was an hour drive from Columbus. We learned that we could turn our hike into one big loop and include Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve in it which was great because we had it on our itinerary as well.

The trail runs along the Miami river and this was one of our first views of it. I love that Ester was able to capture to water dripping off the moss on the other side of the river.

The weather was chilly but not unbearably cold. It was supposed to rain all day but it barely sprinkled. All the trees and the ground were very wet but we found that it made the color of the trees stand out more against their dark wet trunks.

At the end of the Pittsburgh to Cincinnati trail John Bryan state park ends and it turns into Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve.

This foot bridge was located at the end of the Pittsburgh to Cincinnati trail as well. The trail on the other side of the river was closed but we got some great pictures on the bridge!

This was a downstream view of the river from the bridge.

We continued the trail into the Nature Preserve. It was clear that the river did go through an actual gorge here. I was so shocked by how pretty it was and how blue/ green the water was. Ester commented how it looked like “The Narrows” at Zion National Park and I agree it really did look like the Ohio version of this landmark. Part of the trail at Clifton Gorge is actually called “the narrows” trail. Along the trail beside the gorge there is a really nice nature center where I picked up maps. There were a ton of kids there it looked like a boy scout troop outing. The nature center had nice bathrooms and tons of wildlife information on display.

One of my favorite pictures I took the whole trip. It was very hard to capture the water in the gorge the narrower it got. This was not even a narrow part.

Ester was able to get a better picture of the water between the two trees.

Part of the trail up to the nature center. Most of the trail in the Nature Preserve was lined with a fence to prevent visitors from wandering off it. After you pass the nature center the gorge gets a lot more narrow.

I think this picture really captures how the gorge looks similar to “the narrows” in Zion.

Some fall colors.

I saw this strange plant along the trail and had no idea what it was. I thought it was a fungus. Someone was able to identify the plant from my picture on Instagram as an Osage Orange. They are a fruits that grow on trees and apparently keep away spiders.

We walked all the way out of the nature preserve to the Historic Clifton Mill. They had a nice restaurant inside and a gift shop. Out back you could see the mill remnants and they were setting up for their annual Christmas light show. There were SO many Christmas lights everywhere.

We walked into the town of Clifton some and then turned around to head back to John Bryan state park through the same trail we took through Clifton Gorge. Once we got to the nature center again we took the north rim trail back to our car at the state park. We estimated that we hiked about 6 miles total.

The yellow and green contrast captured by Ester.

We finished our trip by touring the downtown area of yellow springs. They had lots of cute hippie like shops with crafts made by local artists. I was most excited about the used book stores. I found a new book to read!

This was on my to read list anyways and I got it for $3.50 used! I found it at the other book store in town for $7, score!

Overall our trip to Yellow Springs couldn’t have been better. The weather was perfect for us and the trees were at peak color.

Some suggestions/ ideas for other people taking a trip here:

– combining a single long hike through both the parks is nice! If it’s too long for you an idea is to stop for a nice lunch at the Clifton Mill.

– I assume fall would be an ideal season to visit here if you come prepared for the temperature.

– This hiking trip could be done in 6 hours including travel time to and from Columbus. Makes a great day trip that doesn’t have to take all day.


Published by Deserrae Potts

Thru Hiker Blogger

One thought on “John Bryan State Park and Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve; Yellow Springs, Ohio

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