Posted in Hiking, Southeastern Ohio

Raven Rock State Nature Preserve

This past Friday we visited Raven Rock State Nature Preserve. It was our first visit to a permit-only preserve. We’d planned a visit to Shawnee Lodge and had applied for a permit more than two weeks before our trip.

It was a cool, overcast afternoon when we parked near the trailhead for Raven Rock. There were two parking spots, one of which was already occupied. The trail is 1.25 miles (one way) and ends at a cliff 550 ft above the start with a stunning view of the Ohio River and the hills of Kentucky beyond.

View of Ohio River from Raven Rock

From the flood plain below Raven Rock, I was able to take a couple of photo showing where the rocky promontory is.

Raven rock viewed from below using telephoto
Raven Rock is the tallest point in this photo ( a little right of center).

The trail is forested the whole way and involves several switchbacks to climb the hillside before finally leading up to the ridgeline that eventually terminates at Raven Rock.

Bob walking past the Raven Rock sign; note that access is by written permit-only.
Rocky portion of the trail
Deb ascending toward the ridgeline
Deb on the ridgeline

From the ridgeline, there are areas where there is a steep drop-off.

Warning sign

Once you get to Rave Rock, there is a great view of the flood plain around the Ohio River.

Bob on Raven Rock

The cliff itself is a thin, exposed, sandstone overhang containing two natural arches. From the cliff-top one arch appears as a small hole in the rock and the other is a thin line of rock along one edge of the cliff.

You can see how thin the rock is. I wouldn’t recommend getting anywhere near the edge.
Natural arch

We stayed and enjoyed the view from the top, taking quite a few photos, including a 360 degree panorama with my Android phone. We retraced our original route returning to our car. Then we continued on for a short drive to Shawnee Lodge.

View of school, farms, and river from Raven Rock
View of wooded lowlands from Raven Rock
360° panorama – click to view larger image or right-click and select “Open in new tab” for largest
This chilled bee was moving with great torpor
Additional information


Address: Undisclosed Location in Scioto County

Directions: We could tell you, but then …

To visit the preserve, you must apply for a permit (see below) from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at least 14 days before your visit. Application is easy and can be done by e-mail. They will send you a map, directions to the trail-head, preserve rules, a permit, and a parking permit.

Update: We recently learned that it is often possible to get a same-day permit for Raven Rock from the park office of the Shawnee State Park. However, park officials recommend that if you are traveling some distance to visit Raven Rock, it is still probably wiser to go the traditional route of applying 15 days in advance as described above. There could be some unexpected issue that might prevent them from issuing a same-day permit.

Screenshot of a GPS trace of our hike

More on Scioto County

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

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