3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs, OH, USA
www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/pa… - (937) 767-1274 (Park Office)
Clifton Gorge Yellow Springs Reviews
Apr 25, 2007
John Bryan State Park is a great place to go camping, but the focus of my review is on the jewel this site leads to: Clifton Gorge. Are you kidding, a gorge in Ohio? Yes, Virginia (er, Ohio?), there is a gorge and it’s a beauty. The trail is pretty basic, but you still need to exercise caution as sections have a lot of roots and rocks that can trip you up. You can start by foot from the camp office (as I did this morning) and hike about 2.5 miles to the end of the gorge, although a useful facet of the park is that you could also drive almost the entire way and only do the ½-mile gorge part of the trail. But you forfeit much beauty by getting behind the wheel.
Much of the trail preceding the gorge follows the Little Miami River as it languidly babbles through the park. There are two footbridges spanning the river and it is best to enjoy both sides during your in-and-out to the gorge. This is a splendid trail and my pictures can’t capture the scents and sounds that enhance the hike. There are birds a-plenty, including soaring hawks and honking Canadian Geese, and wildflowers such as jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium, Virginia Bluebell and wild ginger. You get lulled into contemplation while following the river and savoring flowers and birds, but eventually realize you are entering a gorge as limestone walls begin to tower above the pathway.
The “wow” factor kicks in once you acknowledge actually being in the gorge. The Little Miami isn’t babbling anymore – it is roaring! Where you were once strolling along a lazy river, now you are well above a narrow chasm of noisy, rushing water. The combination of pastoral serenity with proof positive of nature’s force makes this a compelling trail. I can recommend it in any season, and forewarn that if you enjoy it once you will start wondering how this majestic setting might be transformed as nature switches her palette to fall or winter.
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