|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Blackhand Gorge is a 1000 acre state nature preserve that straddles the Licking River. Visiting the preserve offers a chance to view unique sandstone rock formations, as well as historical construction of the Ohio-Erie canal. Predominantly a dense forest, the preserve consists of a conglomeration of hardwoods, pines, sycamores and elders. There are a number of trails for hiking. I recommend the Marie Hickey, Quarry Rim and Chestnut Trail. All three are unpaved and maintain low foot traffic. The Blackhand trail skirts the Licking River. It is paved and sees higher volumes of visitors including walkers and bikers. While on our trek we managed glimpses of wildlife including deer, common robins, cardinals, blue herons, and Kentucky warblers. The preserve is about 45 minutes east of Columbus, the hikes are not strenuous but provide an excellent opportunity to get out in the woods with very few people around.