Field Trip to Rock Run –  Hiking Trail Debut, Early History & Wildflowers

General Hike Location: Near Shawnee State Forest off of Hwy 52.

Driving Distance from the Appalachian Forest Museum: One hour and twenty minutes.

Time & Meeting Location: Meet at 10:00am at the Rock Run parking lot across the road from the Sandy Springs Campground. Departure from the parking lot promptly at 10:15. Hike will be finished late in the afternoon. Directions will be provided in your personalized email confirmation which will be sent after we receive your registration.

Length and Difficulty: This 3.5 mile hike is rated difficult to moderately difficult. Rock Run is rugged and remote, and this hike is not for the faint-hearted. We will be slowly winding our way from our base near the Ohio River, to the top of the ridge, an elevation gain of 650 feet. We will be following the newly installed trail, which may be muddy in the spring, so be sure to wear appropriate shoes. The rise is gradual but steady (if you are out of shape, you may call it relentless) and at times will have short steep ascents and descents, and some sections are along cliff edges. This hike is for strong hikers only, who can hike briskly for several hours without experiencing pain, loss of balance, or undue fatigue.

Bring: Be sure to bring  bottle of water, a daypack in which to carry your trailside lunch, and a light piece of plastic to sit on for lunch in the likely case that the ground is wet.

Description: Rock Run is currently a 800-acre Arc of Appalachia preserve region protecting the Appalachian hill country surrounding the exceptionally deep ravine of Rock Run – a two square mile pristine watershed that flows directly out of Shawnee Forest into the Ohio River. Rock Run lies near the southern borders of the Shawnee State Forest, north of the Ohio River, east of Rome, and west of Buena Vista. Since 2003, the Arc has been buying property in the watershed of Rock Run, picking up several parcels to date that had not been acquired by the Shawnee State Forest. The Arc’s long-term goal is for Rock Run to be one of the best protected watersheds in all of Ohio by preserving the watershed in its entirety. Click here for more information on the Rock Run Preserve.

Trillium Hollow is a 93 acre tract contiguous to the Arc’s existing Rock Run holdings. It is located at the head of Trillium Branch, a tributary of Rock Run, on the upper elevations of the hill facing the Ohio River just east of Sandy Springs Cemetery. The tract is fully forested with trees dominated by oaks and hickories averaging 50-65 years old. Trillium Hollow is the richest wildflower-laden tributary in the entire Rock Run watershed, a ravine named after its extensive colonies of Wake Robins. Click here for more information on the current Rock Run campaign.

The hillsides harbor a great diversity of wildflowers, over 28 species of ferns, and interesting woody plants such as mountain laurel, black birch, and hemlock. By visiting in mid-April, will be catching only the earliest of the floral showcase, but we will be rewarded with the gorgeous sight of colonies of Wake Robins, Trillium erectum. To protect the preserve’s fragile soils and our own wellbeing, we will not be trekking into the main ravine proper, but will hug the rim of the gorge, where we will be rewarded with beautiful vistas of pristine Appalachian hill country. Our annual wildflower trek into Rock Run is currently one of the only ways to see this preserve, though public trails remain on our long range master plan and dream-list. This will be the first guided hike hike on this newly created hiking trail.  Come join us for this historic hike!

Rock Run, Baundry Stone
Spotted Mandarin at Rock Run by Dennis Kramb
Golden Seal at Rock Run