View from Blackhand Gorge Trail

3 Great Winter Hikes in Ohio

Snow-covered scenery makes winter a great time for one of these treks. 

Blackhand Gorge Trail: Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve’s main trail invites hikers to embark on a 4.3-mile multiuse path that offers sights of enormous black hand sandstone formations. Formerly used as a rail corridor, the paved trail passes between portions of blasted rock that tower over hikers. The pathway also follows the course of the Licking River, which carved out the preserve’s narrow, east-west gorge. Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail, but not the others within the preserve. 2200 Gratiot Rd., Newark 43056,

Lyons Falls Trail (photo by Matthew Hoffman)
Lyons Falls Trail: This 2-mile, point-to-point trail at Mohican State Park follows the Clear Fork of the Mohican River. The trail’s highlight is its namesake waterfall that tumbles 80 feet over the edge of a black hand sandstone recess cave. Hikers can spot geologic features typical to black hand sandstone, such as honeycomb weathering, natural fault lines and fresh sand created by erosion from the water that flows over the rock. 3116 St. Rte. 3, Loudonville 44842,

Brandywine Gorge Trail (photo by Tom Bilcze)
Brandywine Gorge Trail: The dramatic, 60-foot Brandywine Falls is a Cuyahoga Valley National Park landmark, but don’t miss the 1.5-mile loop trail that runs from the top of the falls, down into Brandywine Gorge and back. A bridge crossing Brandywine Creek takes hikers from one side of the gorge to the other, and while the hike is a bit hilly and has a steep set of stairs in one part, it is suited to a variety of ages. 8176 Brandywine Rd., Northfield 44067,

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