Ohio Department of Natural Resources’
Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve

Ohio Department of Natural Resources


24858 Big Pine Road
Rockbridge, OH 43149

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Site Overview

Surrounded by Hocking State Forest, Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve is home to one of the deepest gorges in Ohio, its precipitous walls of Black Hand sandstone rising nearly 200 feet above the valley floor. Towering hardwoods and a thriving plant population allow little sunlight to reach the valley floor. The shaded environment is made even cooler by the numerous waterfalls cascading over the cliffs.

Purchased in 1925 by the state of Ohio and named a state nature preserve in 1977, the hollow was named for W. J. Conkle, who left his name and the date 1797 carved into the sandstone on the west wall of the gorge.

The Nature Conservancy has long recognized the Hocking Hills region for its rich biological diversity as well as the size and quality of its forest habitat.  In 1999 the Conservancy acquired 200 acres in Hocking Hills and shortly thereafter transferred ownership of the land to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

Why It Matters

The rugged topography of the Hocking Hills region has given rise to exceptionally rich and diverse plant and animal communities.  Here, extensive forests offer refuge to one of the most diverse assemblages of breeding birds in Ohio, including 120 nesting species—22 of which are warblers.  Rare plant communities like skunk cabbage seeps, sedge meadows and sandstone outcrops are embedded throughout the landscape along with globally rare plants such as northern monkshood and small whorled pogonia.

Conkle’s Hollow features numerous waterfalls, magnificent overlooks and a quiet gorge that offer visitors an opportunity to explore a variety of habitats, each with its own unique plant and animal communities.  Annual bird counts attest to the many warblers, vireos, flycatchers and thrushes that remain in and around Conkle’s Hollow to foster their offspring. The region’s wildlife helps to make this area of Ohio a thriving tourism destination.

Natural Treasures Landmark

Join hundreds of others who have chronicled their adventures! Take a picture of yourself at the recessed cave at the end of the lower trail at Conkle’s Hollow 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

  • Before embarking on your journey to the gorge, settle down for lunch in the picnic area across Big Pine Road. You don’t have to be a bird expert to enjoy the melodies of the native warblers and vireos.

Backyard Camper

  • Hike the mile-long Conkle’s Hollow Trail to explore the bottom of the famed gorge. Keep your eyes peeled for the legendary carving on the sandstone wall that points to a supposed buried treasure!

Frontier Explorer

  • Even experienced hikers should exercise caution when trekking the two-and-a-half-mile Conkle’s Hollow Rim Trail along the cliff edges. Take a break and peer through your binoculars to best experience the breathtaking panoramic views.