Hiking the Highlands Nature Sanctuary

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Hiking the Highlands Nature Sanctuary

Hiking the Highlands Nature Sanctuary

The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System


The Arc of Appalachia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the beauty, balance & biodiversity of Ohio’s wildlands. Of the Arc’s 20 preserves, the Sanctuary is the oldest and the largest, as 3050 acres. It’s central feature is the Rocky Fork Gorge, renowned for its steep canyon walls, wildflower showcases, springs, grottos, and rare botanical treasures.

Hours: Trails are open to the public all year round from sunrise to sunset, EXCEPT for the Appalachian Forest Museum and its three trails, which are open seasonally each year from April 1 - October 31, 9:30am - 4:30 pm, and closed in the winter for safety reasons. Sanctuary parking lots and trails are not cleared of ice nor snow in the winter.

Nature Preserve regulations apply, including staying on trail at all times, and not collecting nor disturbing any plant, animal or minerals. Please see website for complete trail regulations.

Safety Warning: Most of the Sanctuary trails are narrow, often not level, and traversing dangerous cliff country. Other standard outdoor perils exist, such as ticks, poison ivy and treacherous footing in the winter. Visitors must hike at their own risk. Children must be kept close to their guardians and carefully in hand. Youths 18 or younger may not hike without a guardian . The Arc website provides directions to the trailheads, and describes each trail and its level of difficulty.

About Dog Friends: Because the Sanctuary is a world-class destination for wildflowers that grow immediately bordering the trails, dogs are not permitted on Sanctuary trails except for Crow Point and Ridgeview Farm, where dogs may accompany guests when kept on a six foot leash. Other dog friendly destinations include Fort Hill, also managed by the Arc.

Check out the Arc’s other nature preserves and hiking destinations online. The Arc has saved over 7000 acres of land in its quarter century of stewardship. Arc land protects over 1100 species of plants, 80 of which are state-listed as rare & endangered, and provides outstanding habitat for tens of thousands native plant and animal species. 99 bird species have been documented at the Sanctuary, including many that are rare and/or in decline.

Directions. 7660 Cave Road, Bainbridge, OH 45612. The Museum is located one mile south of US-50 on Cave Road, 4 miles west of Bainbridge, 16 miles east of Hillsboro, in Highland & Ross Counties.

Let the Adventure Begin

You’ll find everything you’re looking for right here in Highland County, Ohio.