Quarry Rim Trail
Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve, Ohio
Just outside of Toboso, Ohio is the main parking lot for Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve—start here to enjoy the many hiking trails the preserve has to offer. Begin your hike by following the paved rail trail, known as the Blackhand Trail, into the park and you will soon see the Licking River to your right and the forest with its rock outcrops on the left. You will first pass the Buttonbush Swamp Overlook Trail (now closed-2005) then the Quarry Rim trail will come into view. The Quarry Rim Trail is on the south side of the paved trail and is 1.25 miles long—it leads to a quarry that was once the source of sandstone for the city of Newark, Ohio’s bottle producers. If you hike this trail you will enjoy views of the sheer sandstone cliffs plunging into the quarry that is now filled with water—there are wooden steps along the way to help you manage the steeper sections. Soon after passing the quarry, the trail loops back to the paved trail—from here you can go under the railroad trestle by taking a left to explore other trails, or take a right and head back to the parking lot. When you do make your way back to the parking lot, you will hike through the "Deep Cut," blasted out by the Central Ohio Railroad in the winter of 1850. The Deep Cut, a kind of tunnel without a top, measures 330 feet long, 65 feet deep, and 30 feet wide. When you exit the "cut" you will see a trail sign identifying the Black Hand Rock on your left—take this trail to view the cliff where the Native American carving of a large black hand once was—it is believed to have been a directional sign to the flint deposits at nearby Flint Ridge, unfortunately it was blasted away when the Ohio and Erie Canal was built. Nevertheless, you can see the remnants of the old canal, and the awesome Blackhand sandstone outcroppings—the park's namesake, towering 100 feet above this scenic portion of the Licking River.