Summary: This nature reserve is dominated by oak-hickory mature woods along with Virginia pine and mountain laurel. Yellow birch, cherry birch and eastern hemlock grow on northerly exposures.
The name Blackhand, for which the preserve is named, originated from a dark hand-shaped Native American petroglyph that was engraved on the face of a massive sandstone cliff along the north side of the river. The engraving was destroyed in 1828 when canal builders dynamited the cliff face, during construction of the Ohio-Erie Canal, which runs through the gorge.
The trail itself is asphault with some rough spots where tree roots are reaching under the surface. There is a "wet" bridge where the trail crosses the Bruchy Fork and may be impassable when the water is running high.
Trailhead: To access the western parking area, travel five miles east of Newark on SR 16, turn right onto Brownsville Rd. (towards Flint Ridge) and travel less than a mile. Make the first left after crossing the Licking River and the parking area is immediately after that. (N40 3.485 W82 17.182)
The eastern parking area is eight miles east of Newark on SR 16. Exit southeast on SR 146 and proceed 1/4 mile to County Road 273. The preserve's entrance and parking lot are 1 1/2 mile south on County Road 273 just outside of Toboso. (N40 3.367 W82 13.117) There is a rest room at this location. (Lat:40.05612 Lon:-82.21862)
Trail Guides for Blackhand Gorge Trail:
Biking Ohios Rail-Trails
by Shawn Richardson (Adventure Publications)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes,
Ranger Contact: Ohio Department of Natural Resources 614-265-6453
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kevin Geiselman, who has posted 96 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by NJ on 10/27/2010
I really enjoy hiking at BHG... full of history and has a great vibe. I love taking a book I found a few years back, Blackhand Gorge - A journey through time, with me and comparing the pictures in the book to what things look like now. the book is available directly from the publisher at http://www.littleriverpublishing.com/products/Black-Hand-Gorge-%E2%80%93-A-Journey-Through-Time.html
Reviewed by Rob on 2/16/2009
Great beauty all year round!
Reviewed by Doug welker on 4/27/2008
its extremily beautiful take some of the side trails
Reviewed by jd on 11/17/2007
Paved trail is beautiful. Trails north of the river nice too but I lost one trail in the leaves. Unfortunate thing is that the most beautiful and interesting areas of the park North of the river has all the trails closed except a short hike to a lock. Ranger there is Barney Fife looking to catch someone off trail. Granted there must be rules and guidelines but the State of Ohio is off the wall with this area.
Reviewed by BJK on 7/2/2007
Excellent trail, Great for Hikers and Bikers. There are also a few spurs off the paved trail that are more phisically challenging. Keep on the watch for wild life-there are deer, small animals lots of birds.
Reviewed by Lucas Preston on 10/4/2006
Deer abundant, cool rock formations, nice flowers, gorgeous trail!
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Ohio Hiking, Ohio Trails, Ohio Hikes, Licking County Hiking, Licking County Trails, Licking County Hikes