Hiking at Rockbridge State Nature Preserve in Rockbridge, Ohio

I am pretty sure the husband would have been very happy with a career in geology.  He loves natural rock formations--and the Natural Rock Bridge or arch is an impressive sight.  The bridge is the focal point of the Rockbridge Nature Preserve--it is more than 100 feet long and 10 to 20 feet wide.  Considered the largest natural bridge in Ohio, it arches 50 feet across a ravine. The Rockbridge Nature Preserve surrounds the bridge with about 2.7 miles of hiking trails.

 Hiking to the Rockbridge Natural Bridge

The trail from the small parking area through the Rockbridge Nature Preserve begins simply enough with a grassy path to a little wooden bridge.  There had been a pretty crazy ice storm a few days before our visits--but, most of the area looked and felt almost springlike with muddy paths and slippery exposed tree roots and dried, waterlogged fallen leaves from the rapid thaw.

It wasn't long; however, before the trail inclines became a little more intense.  While the hike isn't impossible, a long part of the trail does have a moderate rating.  

I see people comment online that the hike isn't too difficult unless you are old or out of shape.  Well--my hiking crew included a couple of former cross country runners, a soccer player and teen gym rats and we all had moments where navigating the mud and tree roots and trudging up and down some of the slippery, uneven inclines were certainly moderately difficult.  

 I stopped to take several photos along the way to document the journey and, probably more honestly, to give myself a few minutes to catch my breath after a climb!

This was a hike where I do think a walking stick could be helpful.  

Since the area is a nature preserve, guests are asked to stay on marked trails and be respectful to the area at rest.  

Fallen trees, moss covered branches, ferns and pine needles make the brown Winter trails interesting!


Discovering the Natural Bridge in the

Rockbridge Nature Preserve

When we came to the fork in the trail that pointed us toward the Natural Bridge--we were all looking forward to seeing the site!  It certainly was an impressive site when we walked up to it.

Looking down into the ravine from the edge of the bridge made the size of the arch even more impressive!  Icy waterfalls remained from the week's frigid temperatures with one waterfall trickling down to the bottom of the ravine. 

Hikers can walk out onto the bridge and under the bridge to the rocks and ledges below.

While the photos above show the bridge's length and width, I think the scale of the bridge is more apparent with people standing on its path!

Visiting the Rockbridge State Nature Preserve and the Natural Bridge was a fun little afternoon hike!


If you Visit Rockbridge State Nature Preserve and the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge, Ohio

Plan a couple of hours.  This hike was a little more difficult than we had anticipated.   We hiked the full preserve and stopped for pictures and little breaks. Maybe allow a little more time if it's muddy or icy during spring or winter months. 

When should you visit? There is a waterfall under the natural bridge.  It was pretty small during our visit as the weather had been a little crazy during the week.  This park could be visited during much of the year with great viewing results.  We personally love going in winter when the water falls through the arch freeze over.  I would suggest heading to the park early in the day for smaller crowds on the trails and fewer hikers hanging out on the bridge for photo opportunities.

Where do you Park?  The parking area is just a small area at the park's entrance.  The 8-10 spaces are a bit narrow--so try to be considerate and park straight to give other visitors space to park as well.  Larger cars and suv's may struggle a little to park if the preserve is busy.

Restrooms?  There are no restrooms or even a portable potty at the site.  There is a little gift shop across from the Preserve's parking area--but, it does not have a public restroom.  The Rockbridge State Nature Preserve is close enough to Rockbridge and Logan that a public restroom is easy enough to locate--but, plan ahead and hit the restrooms before the hike and probably after the hike too!

Dining in the Area.  We stopped for coffee at The Oasis Coffee Shop in Rockbridge and had lunch at The Hungry Buffalo in Logan.  The coffee flights at The Oasis were fun to share and The Hungry Buffalo is a family friendly, casual spot with huge portions and yummy fries and cheese curds.     The park is about 15 minutes from Logan, Ohio--which has several small, local restaurants and chain spots.

Other Activities in the Area.  The Rockbridge State Nature Preserve is near the heart of the Hocking Hills region of Ohio.  It is located minutes from the Clear Creek Metro Park, Rock House and the Wahkeena Nature Preserve--and about 15 minutes from the more well-known Hocking Hills destinations like Old Man's Cave, Ash Cave and Cedar Falls. During warm weather months, there are Ziplines, petting farms and tons of family friendly activities within minutes from the park.  Winter months find it more quiet--but beautiful with frozen waterfalls and more visible rock formations.  


Details about the Site Featured Here:

Rockbridge Nature Preserve

11475 Dalton Rd

Rockbridge, OH  43149



This hike was the first hike in our 2023 52 Hike Challenge!  You can learn more about the challenge and sign up to participate in the challenge yourself!  Check back every week to seek where the challenge takes us next!

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