Clifton Gorge

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve near Yellow Springs, Ohio, is one of my favorite places to hike in the state. There is a lot to see and do in and around Yellow Springs, but the North Gorge Trail is generally the first stop when I visit. Like most natural places, its character changes with the seasons. My first time hiking it was June of 2010, and I have since traversed it through all four seasons. It is neither long nor particularly difficult. There is a section of trail on either side of the Little Miami River. Until recently, it was possible to combine the sections into one longer loop. However, that involves crossing the river, and one of the bridges was damaged making it unsafe to use. Not that some folks still don’t…

The bridge at the eastern end of the loop is still in decent shape. Since the distance isn’t at all prohibitive, I often follow the North Gorge trail to that bridge, cross over to visit Clifton Mill and hike the South Gorge trail, then just trace my way back to the trailhead on the north side. Clifton Mill is the big draw in the area. They put on a truly spectacular Christmas light show every year. I’ve been in the area around the holidays several times, but I’ve not been curious enough to brave the crowds. The natural beauty of the area is the draw for me. Here are a few of my favorite shots from Clifton Gorge.

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve is an easy day hike. Unlike downtown Yellow Springs, parking is not a problem. There is a visitor center where you can learn more about the area and its local legends (such as Muggles). Unless the weather dictates otherwise, I camp in John Bryan State Park. Trails lead from the campground to both Clifton Gorge and the adjacent Glen Helen Nature Reserve. Of course, if you elect to drive, that will make it easier to stop by Young’s Jersey Dairy for ice cream after your hike. I’m pretty sure it’s not legal to leave Yellow Springs without a visit to Young’s.


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