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Charleston Falls Nature Preserve is the most visited park in Miami County, and rightfully so. The park’s highlight attraction is Western Ohio’s tallest known waterfall; Charleston Falls. Charleston Falls is a 37-foot waterfall that usually doesn’t have an extreme amount of water but generally flows year-round. Other than the waterfall, the preserve contains a limestone cave, meadows, a pond, and a unique area known as the “thorny badlands”. A trail network of almost 4 miles can take you almost anywhere in the park
Charleston Falls Nature Preserve
Cedar Pond and Locust Grove Trail
.9 miles (approx.), Easy
Trail leaves parking lot and turns to the left and then stays left at the next trail junction. At the third trail junction, turn right then stay right to make a loop around Cedar Pond. After leaving the pond, you’ll quickly pass four trail junctions, stay right (or straight) for the first two and stay left for the third before making a sharp left on the fourth, which will take you through Locust Grove.
Park Loop Trail
1.8 miles, Moderate
Does an entire loop around the park, passing the Goldenrod Hexagon, Charleston Falls, Thorny Badlands, and Locust Grove. Go counterclockwise by leaving the parking lot and turning right then staying left to go into the large field. Head through the field to get to the trail junction near the waterfall, you can easily view the falls before continuing. Turn to the right and stay right for the remainder of the hike. You will first pass through the Thorny Badlands then through Locust Grove.
Photo by Birgit McCabe
Waterfall Loop Trail
.71 miles, Easy
Beginning at the parking lot and heading counterclockwise (turn right at the first trail junction and then stay left to go into the field) this trail takes you through a large square field and then through several smaller more natural fields before ending near the waterfall. The trail then loops back to the lot by turning left at the first trail junction after the big square field.
Goldenrod Hexagon loop
.53 miles, Easy
Trail loops around the edges of the large square field you will pass through on the waterfall loop. You can access the trail by leaving the parking lot and turning right and going past the picnic area into the open field. The Goldenrod Hexagon trail intersects the trail at the entrance to the field.
Thorny Badlands and Red Bud Valley Loop
.74 miles, Moderate
Trail goes through a unique area of the park known as the “Thorny Badlands” and also follows the creek Charleston Falls tumbles down. To get to this trail, take the waterfall loop trail to the waterfall, and turn right instead of left. 1/7 of a mile later, you’ll be at the Thorny Badlands Trail. Hike up this trail through the badlands until you reach a trail junction, turn left to go on to the Red Bud Valley Trail and stay left to end at the beginning of the Thorny Badlands Trail.
Size: 216 acres
Instead of trail names, the creators of this park elected to just have a giant network of unnamed trails with a couple of named trails thrown in there. Below are some of the routes you could take in the park. For a map of the trail network, click here.
Natural Ohio Adventures © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Background art of Great Falls of Tinkers Creek
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