Field Trip – Ohio Hanging Rock Preserve

A 600-acre acquisition on the Arc’s Land Campaign

This field trip will be offered on Friday only in 2017.

General Hike Location: Near Minford, Ohio in northeastern Scioto County

Driving Distance from the Appalachian Forest Museum: 1hr 25 min. Although this is a longer drive than most of our pilgrimage destinations, there is much at Ohio Hanging Rock to reward the Pilgrim who loves exploring expansive new landscapes.

Length: 3-4 miles

Time & Meeting Place: We will be meeting at a public parking lot in Minford, Ohio, where we will car-share so as to reduce the number of vehicles we need to park at the undeveloped trail head.

Bring: Be sure to pack a bottle of water and bring a day pack for your lunch which will be enjoyed along the trail. We recommend packing a piece of plastic to sit on in case the ground is wet.

Difficulty: Moderately difficult due to length and long ascents and descents, which are for the most part gradual but long. We will be following mostly old logging and township roads, but will sometimes strike out cross country on unlevel ground. Participants must possess good balance and moderate strength.

Description:

The Ohio Hanging Rock regioni presents a singular opportunity to create a new 600 acre preserve in a solid block of uninterrupted forest, and thereby protect the rich biodiversity of Ohio’s southern Appalachian foothills. In the Arc’s 21 year history, we never before have had the opportunity to protect a new natural area on such a grand scale. Although we have not yet crossed the finish line on this project’s fund-raising goal and the preserve has no hiking trails or facilities, pilgrimage participants can enjoy “sneak preview” of the floral showcases and uplifting vistas which will be offered by the the Arc’s next official nature preserve.

Ohio Hanging Rock boasts a heavily dissected topography, its 600 acres embracing several distinct knobby hills and a stunning eight miles of headwater streams and creeks. The region’s ravines and bluffs shelter many uncommon plants, including Mountain Laurel, Rose Shell Azalea, Pink Lady’s-slipper, Feather Bells, and the state listed Yellow Crown Beard. On the higher elevations,a jutting exposure of large slump blocks of stone creates a majestic landscape. Cinnamon ferns often grow on these rocks’ foundations, while various heaths wreath their crowns. See natural history more more information.

The preserve was named for the many abandoned iron smelting furnaces found in the larger geological region, a 19th century industry for which this forest once provided fuel. Later in the same century the land was mined for high quality clay used to make fire brick. The remains of these clay mines still exist on the property. See Cultural History.

NE Scioto County has many landscapes worthy of preservation but had almost no conservation attention until now. There is much new territory to explore and we invite those of you who are hardy to join us. We will be spending the day in the field, so please be prepared to pack in your lunch and eat out in the woods, which by necessity will also be our “restrooms.”

Red Bat at Miller by Mary Anne Barnett
Arch at Miller State Nature Preserve
Wild Geraniums at Miller State Nature Preserve
Wild Geraniums at Miller State Nature Preserve