Posted in Geology, History, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Big Rock

In early September we visited and stayed overnight at a 60 acre private park in Pike County. According to legend we were just a few hundred feet away from the lair of a spectral wolf named Old Raridan.

Early morning view from Turkey Rock.

The area is known as ‘Big Rock’ after the rocky peak that towers 200 feet above the surrounding country side. A small cave high on the side of the peak was also reputedly the home of the wolf Old Raridan who legend says was killed in an epic battle with local settlers at the end of the 18th century. His ghost is said to prowl the area and howl from the cliff edge during a full moon.

View from Big Rock
View from Big Rock
The owner provided this bench to sit on while taking in the view at Big Rock.
View from Big Rock
View from Big Rock; I liked how the light was backlighting these conifer needles.

The owners of the park run Big Rock Cabins. We rented a cabin near the Big Rock which included access to the private trail system. We hiked to Big Rock in the late afternoon and visited two other knobs – Prophet Peak and Turkey Rock the next morning. Our sleep at the cabin was undisturbed by prowling wolf ghosts.

Early morning view from Prophet Peak.
Early morning view from Prophet Peak.

Hundreds of millions of years ago, Ohio was a shallow sea. Rounded stones of quartz were deposited by rivers in the sediment on the sea bottom. The sandstone cliffs of Big Rock are embedded with the quartz aggregate deposited long ago.

Layers of aggregate material embedded in rocks around Raridan’s Lair.
Cliff area around Raridan’s Lair.
Cliffs Around Raridan’s Lair.

In the nineteenth century the area was home to a community of emancipated former slaves from Virginia. The community was centered around the Sharon Baptist Church near Big Rock. An annual summer celebration known as Big Rock Meeting Day brought together people of all races to meet, worship, and celebrate in the shadow of Big Rock. The celebration was held annually from post civil-war until 1962.

On Big Rock Meeting Day, people of all races gathered in the shadow of this Rock.
The owner cleared a portion of Turkey Rock to provide a view of nearby Big Rock.
Although we didn’t encounter any ghostly wolves, this cute little Fowler’s Toad was hanging out near our cabin.
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© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

6 thoughts on “Big Rock

  1. I was the first guest in the first cabin built and my stay was extraordinary. The hot tub on the deck and the fireplace inside plus the unique construction was so enjoyable. The peace and quiet is awesome and the hike to Big Rock is easy, even for an oldster like me. I recommend this destination to anyone seeking tranquility and spend more than one night if you can. I can hardly wait to return, hopefully very soon.

  2. This place is GREAT! I stayed there in April, 2014. From Washington State so don’t get out there much. What a great find! Thank goodness the owners are such wonderful people and so welcoming. At the same time, though, they leave you alone and let you wander. Perfect mix of hospitality and privacy. Thanks for the pics.

    1. Since an individual owns the land, I think it would be a matter of asking his permission. During our stay he had us sign a liability waiver, so if we fell off a cliff or something, we couldn’t sue him.

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