Ohio River Bluffs Trailhead


Total Project Cost: $48,954

9 acres

Click here for current balance

Ohio’s Most Beautiful Wildflower Display. Ohio River Bluffs protects one of the most stunning spring wildflower displays in our greater tri-state region. The property begins at the top of the bluffs and cascades steeply down to the banks of the Ohio River. The base of the bluffs is covered petal-to-petal with Virginia Bluebells and Toad Trilliums. Climbing in elevation the showcase transitions to carpets of Dwarf Larkspur, Rue Anemone, Celandine Poppy and Wild Hyacinth. The upper rim of the bluffs hosts dense colonies of Twinleaf in early spring, with its mysterious and ephemeral white flowers.

The Bluffs expands from 60 acres to 280 acres in size – thanks to a major gift of land from DP&L! In 2018, our little jewel of a preserve just grew a whole lot bigger. The Ohio River Bluffs has recently been gifted with a donation of 175 acres of land by Dayton Power & Light, land composed of deeply forested Appalachian hills and over a mile of stream corridors. The donated land even includes a stream corridor running all the way to the Ohio River! The total size of the preserve when all is done – the sum of the original 60-acre preserve, the 175-acre gift from DP&L, the pre-existing Boone Tract lying further west on the Ohio River, and the new trailhead – will total 280 acres.

Finally, a Trailhead for the Bluffs! Because the original 60-acre Ohio River Bluffs’ tract borders an elongated stretch of busy US 52,  it has been a challenging preserve for access. Try parking along the 52 and highway patrolmen will inevitably stop and ask if you have car trouble and urge you to get back on the road. Add to that concern the deafening roar of trucks and cars whipping by at high speeds and it is clear that the quality of the preserve’s parking experience leaves a lot to be desired!

The availability of a 9-acre tract on Gilkison Hollow Road, in the heart of the wildflower sanctuary, offers a remedy: a quiet, private location for a trailhead on what is arguably the prettiest wildflower-strewn roadside in all of Ohio.

Gilkison Hollow is “Wildflower Central” for Blue-eyed Mary’s. Gilkison Hollow Road, situated near the eastern boundary of the preserve, is a wildflower treasure in itself. Each April, Gilkison Hollow’s roadsides erupt with an astonishing floral display dominated by Blue-eyed Mary and Dwarf Larkspur. Wildflower lovers in-the-know have driven for hours just to follow the dead end road of Gilkison Hollow to soak up the view. Thanks to the donation of the DP&L lands, most of Gilkison Hollow’s roadsides are now safely within the protected boundaries of Ohio River Bluffs. Carpeted with the same breathtaking wildflower display as the rest of Gilkison Hollow, this pivotal 9-acre campaign property will provide an aesthetic entrance and will facilitate hikers’ access to the expanded nature trail system we are planning to establish in the future.


Blue Eyed Mary in Gilkison Hollow. Photo by Dave Kuehner
Blue Eyed Mary on Gilkison Hollow Road, Photo by Dave Kuehner.
Bluebells at the Ohio River Bluffs, Photo by Dave Keuhner
Drifts of Blue Eyed Mary on Gilkison Hollow Road. Photo by Dave Keuhner