Ohio River Bluffs

104 acres in Adams County

Ohio River Bluffs is an Arc of Appalachia preserve located west of Manchester, Ohio. It is a forested property enclosing the south half of a steep-sided hillside bordering an elongated stretch of Highway 52. The property runs from the ridge top to nearly the level of the Ohio River.

Outstanding Native Eco-system Protected. The Ohio River Bluffs is an outstanding example of a classic Ohio River corridor forest with its high density of spring wildflowers – a distinctive mix of species that was once the hallmark of the Ohio River’s steep bluffs lining the river corridor in this region.

Most Notable Features. Ohio River Bluffs has one of Ohio’s most splendid spring wildflower displays. The wildflower display is so spectacular and unusual that automobiles passing by frequently use the two pull-offs in front of the property to pause to take in the magnificent view. The view of the Ohio River from the upper elevations is also noteworthy as a human attraction. The steep limestone bluffs facing the Ohio River are covered with a nearly solid carpet of wildflowers from the base of the bluffs to the ridgetop. The species diversity is not particularly high, but the density of flowers is stunning, and almost overwhelming to the eye. Most common are the Virginia bluebells, blue-eyed Mary, toad trillium, twinleaf, dwarf larkspur and wild hyacinth flowers.

Natural History and Interesting Species. The entire tract is forested with a rich mixture of diverse tree species, including white oak, sugar maple, red oak, elm, hackberry, Kentucky coffee tree, and white ash. The understory woody layer is dominated by young buckeye trees. The forest was timbered but was done very selectively, leaving the canopy relatively intact and the rich soils undisturbed.

Bright purple Dwarf larkspur carpets the hillside at Ohio River Bluffs.
Toad trillium with dusky wing butterfly. Photo courtesy of Dave Keuhner.