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The Blackhand Gorge Trail, the only bike path in the Ohio nature preserve system, features some of the best scenery in the state. Perhaps this is to be expected from a trail that passes through a gorge and sandstone formation carved by the Licking River millennia ago, but that fails to lessen the impact of the stunning surroundings. Cyclists, hikers and other trail users will be treated to views of the adjacent river and pools of spring water all while trekking through dense woodlands that provide year-round shade.
Because the trail was built on a former rail corridor, any uphill and downhill grades are gentle. Evidence of the railroad history of the area is obvious as you pass through huge pieces of blasted rock. The Quarry Rim Trail and Chestnut Trail, two hiking-only trails that branch off from the Blackhand Gorge Trail, offer additional opportunities for trail users to explore the beautiful and historic nature preserve.
Parking is available at both ends of the Blackhand Gorge Trail. The larger eastern trailhead, which contains a latrine, is accessible via State Route 16 in Newark. Take the highway east and then turn right on SR 146/Nashport Road. Take the first right on Toboso Road and look for a sign for Blackhand Gorge on the right.
To reach the smaller western trailhead, turn right on Brownsville Road SE from eastbound SR 16. Just after you cross the Licking River, turn left on Brushy Fork Road SE. The parking area is on the left.
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