A Closer Look at the Natural Beauty of Yellow Springs
By Terri Weeks

A Closer Look at the Natural Beauty of Yellow Springs

We just can’t get enough of this charming town. Last week Katie’s post explored some of the many interesting sights near Yellow Springs. Today we take a closer look at two of the nature preserves in the area.

My kids and I were already familiar with the beauty of the nature preserves near Yellow Springs, having trekked through them in previous summers. I wanted to bring them back to see the fall color, but an overload of homework prevented them from coming. So, instead, my husband and I had a rare opportunity to enjoy a Sunday afternoon hiking together.

We started at Glen Helen Nature Preserve. The wooded glen sits on the campus of Antioch College and is named after the daughter of an alumnus who donated the land.

Fall color at Glen Helen Nature Preserve

Glen Helen has over 20 miles of trails over 1000 acres. Tip: print off a trail map before you go in case the Visitor Center is closed so that you can plot your route and not get lost. The map shows the location of several points of interest in the glen. The first one we came across was the Old Dam.

Old Dam at Glen Helen Nature Preserve

We hiked up a hill and came to the very spring that was the town’s namesake. You might be surprised to find out it’s orange, not yellow, as a result of the iron content of the water. And you can taste that iron too. We came across three generations of men exploring the glen, with the patriarch showing his young grandson how to drink from the spring.

The yellow spring of Yellow Springs

We passed a Hopewell Indian Mound and a stone monument to Helen before coming upon a waterfall known as The Cascades.

The Cascades at Glen Helen Nature Preserve

Then we hiked along the ridge and spotted another (though smaller) waterfall below.

Small waterfall at Glen Helen Nature Preserve

We descended to the creek bed where we crossed it on this stone “bridge”.

Creek at Glen Helen Nature Preserve

The gentleman we had met at the spring told us about the new Hyde Road Covered Bridge not far from the Glen, so we drove there next. It opened in May of this year and fits right in with the charm of Yellow Springs.

Hyde Road Covered Bridge Yellow Springs

From there we headed to nearby Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, which National Geographic has called one of the nation’s 50 Most Beautiful Places.

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve

My husband and I hiked down the wider part of the gorge first. We saw giant boulders, cliffs, and colorful foliage.

Hiking at Clifton Gorge

Then we turned around and went the other direction onto the Narrows Trail where the creek fills the bottom of the picturesque gorge. It was a “gorge”-ous way to end a beautiful fall day.

Narrows Trail at Clifton Gorge

Although Ohio’s fall colors have already peaked, it’s still possible to find pockets of color in some places. And it’s never too early to start planning your adventures for next fall.

About the Author

Terri WeeksTerri Weeks is a family travel writer in the Cincinnati area and one of the authors of the bestselling book Adventures Around Cincinnati: A Parent's Guide to Unique and Memorable Places to Explore with your Kids. She and co-author, Laura Hoevener, speak to groups all over Greater Cincinnati and are regular guests on the FOX19 Morning Xtra news program. You can find them at www.adventuresaroundcincinnati.com. Terri and her family are on a mission to visit all 50 states by the time her kids graduate from high school. She blogs about their travels at www.travel50stateswithkids.com and is the author of the ebook How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips. She’s a member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association.