Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Conkle’s Hollow: The Gorge Trail

Conkle’s Hollow is a narrow gorge with breathtaking cliffs rising on either side; the cliffs are made of Blackhand sandstone and are quite sheer in places, the taller ones reaching up to 200 feet in height. Seasonal waterfalls flow from the cliffs at many sites, their streams joining to form Pine Creek on the valley floor.

Looking up.

A closer look at the rim.
Bendy trees.
Sheer cliff.
More looking up.

Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve has two main trails. The Rim Trail is on the plateau above and leads you around the upper border of the gorge. The Gorge Trail is on the valley floor and leads you down the gorge to its terminal point at a recess cave. In an earlier posting we discussed the Rim Trail. Now we’ll explore the Gorge Trail that starts near the parking lot and follows Paint Creek to the gorge’s end. The paved portion of the trail is nearly a mile long; it was designed to be handicap accessible. Although the upper Rim Trail isn’t really safe for small children, the lower Gorge Trail is suitable for the whole family, including toddlers in strollers (no pets, though). The paved trail ends just before a narrow passage way between rock outcroppings; a dirt path leads from this point to the end of the gorge.

Sidewalk going by a slump rock.
Sidewalk passing through ferns.
View off the side of the trail.
The sidewalk ends at the other side of this passage.
Beyond the sidewalk.

A profusion of ferns surround the trail.

Ferns over my head.
Ferns climbing the hillside
Ferns on the cliff wall.

Small side valleys fan out from the hollow, and an occasional recess cave is visible from the path. Dirt side-trails lead to a couple of these recess caves inviting hikers to explore them. The topmost photo of the post was taken from one of these side-trails.

Stone stairs lead to a small recess cave known as “The Grotto”.
Recess caves within recess caves.
A giant, stone jungle gym 🙂

The gorge narrows and terminates in a small recess cave. Spring water flows its roof, bouncing off a flat rock outcropping below.

From a point near the gorge’s end, looking back through its narrow walls.
Spring flowing from roof of the terminal recess cave
Stepping back to look at the terminal, recess cave.
Additional Information

  • Address: 24858 Big Pine Rd., Rockbridge, Ohio 43149
  • Directions:
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.452556, -82.571431
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions
© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

8 thoughts on “Conkle’s Hollow: The Gorge Trail

  1. New to Ohio hiking and am totally motivated by your photos!Thank you for posting… so helpful to me to plan treks!!

  2. I hiked this trail last summer. Although short, it is beautiful. I want to return this summer. I also want to hike some of the Ridge Trail. I’m trying to hike all of the trails eventually in the Hocking Hills.

  3. very pretty, some of those photos look like the gorge here in summit county, it has a cave like part where the water runs down and hits a big rock, ice box cave has been marked off due to white fungus disease of the poor bats. I have visited ice box cave(ledges trail virginia kendall park) many times as a teen ager and never knew there were bats in there.

    1. Rose, welcome to our site! I still haven’t had a chance to explore any of the parks in Summit county. Since I enjoy exploring gorges and ledges, it sounds like I’d like these. Too bad about the bats there.

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