Places We Protect

Joan Jones Portman Trail & Rieveschl Overlook

Ohio

Overlook on the Joan Jones Portman Trail looking out at lush green tree-covered hills under a blue sky.
Portman Trail Overlook on the Joan Jones Portman Trail. © Randall Schieber

Drop in your canoe or kayak, explore native prairie plants or hike to a rock promontory for a beautiful valley view.

Overview

Description

The Dr. George Rieveschl Jr. Creek’s Bend Overlook is the first stop in exploring the 20,000-acre Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Ohio’s largest privately owned protected natural area. With its forests and prairies, streams and waterfalls, the preserve is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the Midwest. More than 100 rare plant and animal species call this preserve home.

Visitors can enjoy a large open pavilion with picnic tables, a stone overlook of Ohio Brush Creek, a canoe/kayak access to Ohio Brush Creek, as well as two trails: the brief Prairie Garden Trail and the 1.6-mile, round-trip, Joan Jones Portman Trail, which leads through prairie openings to a small rock promontory for a view of the adjacent forested valley.

Visitors are invited to take time to enjoy the Ohio Brush Creek overlook and to peruse the interpretive signage and information kiosk, which describe the preserve’s natural history and offers travelers information about other points of interest within the preserve to visit.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Hours

Open year-round, daily from dawn to dusk.

Wheelchair Accessible

Access to the Dr. George Rieveschl Jr. Creek’s Bend Overlook is accessible via a paved pathway that leads to a wooden overlook platform with benches. Visitors can also enjoy a paved path through a small planted prairie garden and an ADA accessible restroom.

Highlights

The moderately difficult hiking trail is located on one side of the country road. On the other side, find a quick prairie garden trail and an overlook of Ohio Brush Creek. Highlights include: hiking, birding, kayaking, native plants.

Size

This preserve is part of the 20,000-acre Edge of Appalachia Preserve System.

Explore our work in this region

Photos from Joan Jones Portman Trail

From bird watching to kayaking, the Portman Trail offers two trails and a creek rich with rare native plants and wildlife.

Signage at Joan Jones Portman Trail.
The sun peeking through tall trees in a lush green forest.
A visitor pavilion building nestled among trees under a blue sky in autumn.
Two hikers walk among lush green trees that cover hills under a blue sky.
A snow-covered river at Creek's Bend Overlook during winter.
A wooden overlook sitting above the Ohio Brush creek.
A trail surrounded by lush greenery.
A hiker stands under a large rock on snow-covered ground.
Hikers stand under large rocks in the woods.
Creek's Bend Overlook signage.

Visit

  • What to See

    Those passing through should keep their eyes peeled for shooting star, stiff gentian, rough white lettuce, Indian grass and other plants common to the prairies of the region.

    Also found in the prairie are post oaks—a tree rarely found growing north of Adams County. These trees (which have cross-shaped leaves and a hard, durable wood that made them popular for railroad ties and fence posts) grow in the open on sites with poor, shallow soils.

    In early summer evenings, listen for the call of the Chuck-will’s-widow, a nocturnal, ground-nesting bird that is uncommon in Ohio. True to their name, prairie warblers also can be found here, along with the eastern box turtle. Lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of a fox.

    Once through the prairie, visitors enter the woods, where small cliffs of Peebles dolomite (a rock formation) support the red-flowered wild columbine. Chinquapin oak and blue ash are scattered throughout.

  • Trails

    JOAN JONES PORTMAN TRAIL

    An expansive view of the Ohio Brush Creek Valley rewards visitors who complete the 1.6-mile, round-trip Joan Jones Portman Trail that extends through prairie and up into a forested landscape.

    Late summer or early fall is perhaps the most rewarding time of year to hike the trail, as the prairie grasses and wildflowers are at their peak.

    BUCKEYE TRAIL/NORTH COUNTRY NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL

    The Joan Jones Portman trail ends at Floods Point, a rocky promontory overlooking the beautiful Ohio Brush Creek Valley. Adventuresome hikers will be able to continue on from this promontory and head east on the North Country National Scenic Trail / Buckeye Trail. This section allows hiking on a 14-mile trail that will link The Edge of Appalachia Preserve System with the Shawnee State Forest.

    For nearly 1,444 miles, the Buckeye Trail winds around Ohio, reaching into every corner of the state. Now 16 of these miles are contained within the Edge of Appalachia Preserve, thanks to a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and Buckeye Trail Association. The Nature Conservancy owns the land and helped fund the installation of the trail, while the Buckeye Trail Association helped to build it and maintains it.

    This section of the trail also coincides with the North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches 4,600 miles to connect New York to North Dakota, and is the longest national scenic trail in the United States.

    Previously traversing nearby backroads within the Edge of Appalachia, the Buckeye trail is now off-road and passes through one of Ohio’s most significant natural areas, providing visitors with a unique, primitive hiking experience.

    Single-night primitive camping along the Buckeye Trail on Edge of Appalachia Preserve property is available by written permit for backpackers. To obtain permits, please contact The Nature Conservancy at 937-544-2188 or ohio@tnc.org.

    PRAIRIE GARDEN TRAIL

    The brief Prairie Garden Trail showcases a selection of some of the plants that would have greeted early settlers pushing westward through what was once dense Ohio forestland. Islands in a sea of trees, these prairie openings were fairly numerous and scattered throughout the forested hill country of western Adams County. Tall grasses and a host of colorful flowering plants can be seen in the garden.

    DR. GEORGE RIEVESCHL JR. CREEK’S BEND OVERLOOK

    Enjoy a picnic at one of the tables under the pavilion and take some time to enjoy the beautiful setting. From the overlook, visitors can view a portion of the 57-mile-long Ohio Brush Creek. Here, warm waters sustain more than 62 species of fish, 30 species of living mussels and 11 reptiles and amphibians. The aquatic diversity of Ohio Brush Creek has been measured by scientists to be some of the best in Ohio.

    For those interested in a closer look at the waters of Ohio Brush Creek, there is an access point just south of the overlook to drop in, or take out, a canoe or kayak.

  • Guidelines

    Our vision is of a world where people and nature thrive together. The Nature Conservancy encourages people of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, gender expressions and abilities to visit our preserves and has a zero-tolerance policy for racism and discrimination.

    The following activities are NOT permitted at Joan Jones Portman Trail:

    • Biking and mountain biking
    • Driving an ATV or off-road vehicle
    • Camping
    • Cooking or campfires
    • Horseback riding
    • Hunting
    • Picking flowers, berries, nuts or mushrooms
    • Removing any part of the natural landscape
    • Snowmobiling

    The Joan Jones Portman Trail and Buckeye Trail are pet-friendly. Leashed pets (leash no longer than 6 feet) are welcome on the trail. Dogs are NOT permitted on any other Edge of Appalachia Preserve trails.

    For information about the use of other power-driven mobility devices (OPDMDs) at our open preserves, please visit our OPDMD guidelines.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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We need your help protecting the natural treasures of Ohio’s Appalachian foothills.