Photo by Lucas Sigurdson


Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

Perhaps one of Ohio's most overlooked nature preserves, Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve contains a 4-mile long gorge that was created when Licking River cut through the preserve’s Blackhand Sandstone. The Ohio and Erie Canal cuts straight through the gorge, which makes for a very interesting bike path but is a somber reminder of our country’s destructive past. When the sandstone was blasted open by dynamite in 1828, a large impressive Indian petroglyph that had existed on the gorge's wall was destroyed. Over 10 miles of trails run through the nature preserve, including the preserve's 4 mile paved bike path, which is the only bike path in any Ohio Nature Preserve. Seasonal waterfalls, an abandoned rail tunnel, and a bluff overlooking the Licking River are just a few of the beautiful sights that can be found within this park. 

  • Address: 2200 Gratiot Road SE, Heath, Ohio    
  • Size: 973 Acres