Christmas Rocks Nature Preserve

Jacob’s Ladder Loop Trail (Orange Trail)
Length: 1 mile (approx.)
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trail Description: This trail is marked with orange blazes and takes you up to the Jacob’s Ladder Overlook, which sits 250 feet above the Arney Run. This trail begins at the grass road and ends further north up the road. It can be connected with the Christmas Rocks Loop Trail for a longer hike which is just further up the grassy road

Christmas Rocks Loop Trail (Blue Trail)
Length: 2 miles (approx.)
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail Description: This trail is marked with Blue Blazes and is the northernmost trail in the park. Start the trail by continuing up the grassy road past the Jacob’s Ladder Trail. The trail will stay on this road for a while before it loops off into the hills. There are two entrances to the loop; the Southern Entrance and the North Entrance. I recommend taking the road all the way to the northern entrance then taking the trail back to the southern entrance. This trail passes by some interesting rock formations including a small recess cave. If you only have one trail to check out in this park, I’d definitely take the Jacob’s Ladder Trail instead. The overlook is one of the best in Ohio and is especially impressive considering it’s relatively close to the Columbus Metro Area. It’s important to remember that while the trails are only about 1-2 miles long, it’s a good mile walk just to get to the trail intersection. It wouldn’t be in your best interest to get left in the dark out here, so plan for a long hike if coming to the Christmas Rocks.


Address: 2340 Meister Rd SW, Lancaster, OH

To get into the preserve, park at the parking lot for the Arny Run County Park (listed address). This will be near the Mink Hollow Covered Bridge. Walk to Old Mill Hollow Road Southwest and hike up the road, this will take you into the park. Farther down this road there will be a sign indicating you are in the Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve. Continue down this road until it transitions from a gravel road to a grass road. There will be a couple small side roads to your left but you best ignore these unless you want to get completely lost. A little bit after the road changes to grass you’ll approach a trail intersection for the park’s two trails. To the left is the Jacob’s Ladder Trail, and straight ahead is the Christmas Rocks Trail.

Distance from Major Cities:

  • Columbus: 40 minutes
  • Dayton: 1.5-2 hours
  • Cincinnati: 2 hours
  • Cleveland: 2.5 hours
  • Toledo: 3 hours​

Why You Should Visit

Located in the southern portion of Fairfield County, until a few years ago Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve required a permit to visit, but today is open to anyone who wishes to visit. The most significant feature is a rock formation and overlook known as “Jacob’s Ladder”, that towers 250 feet above Arney Run. The Jacob’s Ladder Loop (orange trail) will take you to the top of this formation, giving you views of the surrounding foothills.