Added by Dan Barr
Just 40 miles east of Columbus, OH, Blackhand Gorge is a scenic getaway that has the geology and hemlocks of the Hocking Hills, but not so much the crowds.
Starting at the eastern trailhead off of Gratiot Rd, follow the paved Blackhand Trail for 0.2 mile till you arrive at the sign of the Quarry Rim Trail, a 0.9 mile trail that roughly parallels the bike trail, but takes you along the rim of the old sandstone quarry that was in operation in the late 1800's, as a source for sand for nearby glass factories.
After the Quarry Rim Trail, a short 0.1 mile connector trail along the Blackhand Trail takes you to the start of the Chestnut Trail, a 1.8 mile long trail that starts off with significant elevation gain, well over 150 ft (which in Ohio, is quite a hike!). The Chestnut Trail also roughly parallels the bike trail and neighboring Licking River, but remains well above the bottom of the gorge. Scenic overlooks are few, but glimpses of the river and trail below do occur, although usually heavily obscured by foliage.
At the end of the Chestnut Trail, you have two options to return to the trailhead: 1) Retrace your steps over the 3.0 miles you've hiked or 2) follow the paved Blackhand Trail for 3.2 miles back to the trailhead.
- Hiking Boots
- Trekking Poles
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