Ohio Department of Natural Resources’
Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve

Credit: Ohio Department of Natural Resources


2331 State Route 343
Yellow Springs, OH 45387

Website  |  Get directions to this location

Site Overview

Spanning 268 acres in Greene County, Clifton Gorge protects one of the most spectacular limestone and dolomite gorges in the state.  It encompasses two miles of Little Miami National and State Scenic River east of John Bryan State Park and is part of a three-mile-long complex between Clifton and Yellow Springs, which includes John Bryan State Park and Glen Helen Nature Preserve.

One of The Nature Conservancy’s first projects in Ohio, the preserve’s first parcels of land were acquired by the Conservancy in 1963.  The site was registered as a National Natural Landmark in 1968 and dedicated as a state nature preserve in 1973.

Why It Matters

A variety of species, including many rare to Ohio, call the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve home, including the red baneberry, which is typically found in northern Ohio and is threatened in the state. The gorge also has wall rue, an uncommon fern, as well as a diverse selection of spring wildflowers, including hepatica and the rare snow trillium. In addition to rare plants, the preserve protects the headwater streams of the Little Miami River, whose waters eventually make their way into the globally important Ohio River. 

Natural Treasures Landmark

Join hundreds of others who have chronicled their adventures! Take a picture of yourself at Steamboat Rock at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve and upload it to our site.

Fun Things to Do and See

While on the hunt for the landmark, enjoy the abundant adventures this Ohio treasure has to offer. The thrill of nature can be experienced at any level!

Patio Dweller

  • There are several overlooks to explore to during your visit to Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. Be sure to snap photos of the scenic waterfalls and rapids on the Little Miami River. Take in the best that nature has to offer during this leisurely adventure.

Backyard Camper

  • Put on your hiking boots and hit Narrows Trail. How many turtles did you see? What was your favorite bird? Did you notice any reptiles? The area is home to Butler’s garter snake, which is rare to spot in Ohio.

Frontier Explorer

  • Plan an adventure by selecting several trails from the variety of choices at Clifton Gorge. Be sure to let us know your favorites and how many miles you hiked! If you see the rare red baneberry or wall rue, we’d love for you to share pictures on our Facebook page!  
  • Check out the remains of the large potholes visible on Narrows Trail. Did you know they provide a window into the creation of the gorge?

We’re Accountable

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