Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southwestern Ohio

Edge of Appalachia: Charles A. Eulett Wilderness Preserve Trail

Towards the end of last spring we visited the Wilderness Trail at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Adams County. Starting at the parking area, the trail is a 2.4 mile loop. The trail features hills, rock outcroppings, streams, forest with lush vegetation, and a small segment of prairie.

Stairs leading uphill on The Wilderness Trail

Getting Oriented
This is photo of the trailmap at the trailhead. Note that part of the trail is highlighted in yellow; this shows the location of the small, prairie opening. The inset photo shows some of the cliffs within this part of the preserve.

We hiked the trail in a counter-clockwise direction, passing through the prairie opening towards the end.

The Hike

The parking lot is at the end of Shivener Rd, a gravel road off of State Route 125. There is a gravel parking area and an information kiosk. We hiked the 2.4 mile loop trail in a clockwise direction. The trail is well marked with yellow blazes, though it is narrow in spots. Most of the trail is through mature forest. There are several hills and rock outcroppings along the way. Stream crossings feature wooden foot bridges.

Parking lot. The trailhead is between the two posts with yellow markers on them to the left. The road leading to the parking lot extends onward and becomes your foot trail as you complete the loop.

During the initial part of the trail, the undergrowth was quite lush, and the trail was narrow. Since the skin of our lower legs were exposed, we had to keep an eye out for poison ivy. When we know that we are going to brushing up against vegetation, we typically apply DEET to our legs. Ticks tend to lay in wait in low-growing vegetation, so they can latch onto a passing animal or person.

Bob making his way along the narrow trail.
Footbridge surrounded by greenery.
Deb in the dark forest.

Towards the latter part of the trail, the trail ascends steeply and passes some dramatic rock outcroppings.

The trail leading to the cliffs.
Trail along the hillside gives an idea of the steepness.
A look at the cliffs through the trees.
Rock outcropping with a little recess cave below it.

Towards the end, we passed through the Shivener Prairie. This small section of prairie was thick with summer wildflowers including colorful Indian Paintbrush. We observed many butterflies flitting from flower to flower.

Prairie opening
Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea); large numbers of this plant were blooming in the prairie opening.

After leaving this small prairie opening and returning to the forest, we went through a section with very little undergrowth.

This part of the trail is between the prairie opening and the part of the trail that passes through a lawn. Note how little underbrush there is compared to earlier on the trail.
Squawroot (Conopholis americana) – this it the fruit of a parasitic plant that grows taps into the roots of oak trees for its food. For more information, see our previous post, Squawroot: An underground plant without leaves or chlorophyll .

There was a narrow opening that we had to pass through as we left the forest. This could be challenging for those who are on the heavy side.

The two poles mark the narrow entrance (or exit) to the trail. Although you can’t see it in this photo, barbed wired extends from these poles.

After passing through this exit, the trail emptied onto a lawn. Yellow trail markers assured us that we were still on the trail and hadn’t strayed onto some farmer’s property. There was a small building and a couple of latrines (locked). Presumably, these are for special programs.

The trail opened onto a lawn. Follow the yellow marker to the dirt road, then follow the dirt road to the parking lot.

The remainder of the trail followed a dirt road for a short ways back to the parking lot. In the photo below, I’ve reached the parking lot and I’m looking back at the road.

The road to the parking lot keeps going. As it turns out if you do the loop trail in the clockwise direction, you will return via this road.

If you are looking for a quiet, solitary walk through forest trails with interesting terrain, this is the right spot. Do be aware that the once the undergrowth gets going, the trail may be narrow and challenging to pass through. But then, it isn’t called the “Wilderness Trail” for nothing. 🙂 If you are primarily interested in the prairie opening, it is a short walk there and back if you start by going the opposite direction than that which we chose (go counter-clockwise by continuing down the dirt road instead of passing through the signed trailhead).

GPS trace of our hike made using Google’s “My Tracks” app.
Additional information
  • Adams County Parks & Preserves — This is the county where the Edge of Appalachia is located; check out this page for links to the official website and for information on nearby parks and preserves.
  • Edge of Appalachia Web Site — This site includes a link to a trail map for the Wilderness Trail
  • Edge of Appalachia: Joan Jones Portman Trail — The nearby Portman Trail features information kiosk for all of Edge of Appalachia Preserve, picnic area, and latrines. It is recommended that new visitors to the preserve stop here to get oriented.

  • Address (approximate): 499 Shivener Rd, West Union, OH 45693
  • Directions: The parking area is at the end of Shivener Rd off of SR-125 near Lynx, Ohio.
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.780369, -83.417129
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions

More on the Edge of Appalachia

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

One thought on “Edge of Appalachia: Charles A. Eulett Wilderness Preserve Trail

  1. Trail is easier done counterclockwise, steep drop in the begining then a more gradual and hence, easier return.Also winter is good because you can see the cliffs better. Great spring wildflowers, snake country.Please observe from a safe distance

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