Ohio

Beach City, Ohio (OH)

When the National Road reached Columbus from Baltimore in 1831 it was because of trade opportunities, not rock climbing, that more settlers wanted to travel to this little city nested on the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers.  Most of the rock in this area is limestone, but there is also a lot of shale, both cut and flattened by another one of those pesky glaciers.  This particular glacier, which covered Ohio during the Wisconsin Ice Age, left this area with sizable differences in elevation through the area, with the high point of Franklin County being 1,132 feet (345 m) above sea level near New Albany, and the low point being 670 feet (200 m) where the Scioto River leaves the county near Lockbourne. Numerous ravine areas near the rivers and creeks also help give some variety to the landscape. Thankfully this gives way for a few great rock climbing problems at Beach City Nature Preserve, just outside of Columbus. There is however public hunting allowed here, so be cautious if you climb during hunting season.

Location

Beach City, Ohio
United States
40° 37' 8.04" N, 81° 36' 39.96" W
US

Bridle Trails Rocks, Ohio (OH)

Nestled along the Hocking River in Southeast Ohio, sits the historic college town of Athens, Ohio, home to Ohio State University as well as the Bridle Trails Rocks.  The Mound Builders were groups of Native Americans who built large earthen mounds along the Mississippi and Ohio River Tributary Systems. Together these groups left behind thousands of mounds in the eastern United States. While these groups were spread out throughout this region, some lived in and around Athens, Ohio, from about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 700, producing over two hundred mounds in Athens County alone. The underlying geology is mostly sandstone and shale, including "redbed" shale that presents a severe slip hazard when structures are built over it on hillsides. However, there are safe zones above sandstone beds, most notably the Connelsville Sandstone that outcrops high on the hillsides.  The Bridal Trails Rocks offer one majestic boulder with many climbing possibilities. There is also lots of cliff line along the opposing hill heading downstream towards the lake.

Location

Bridle Trails Rocks, Ohio
22245 SR 78 Nelson, Ohio
United States
41° 21' 18.7092" N, 80° 58' 25.914" W
US

Chippewa Creek, Ohio (OH)

 

** LEGAL NOTICE **

Pursuant to the June 18, 2015 Policy of the Board of Park Commissioners of the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District, swimming is prohibited at Chippewa Creek Gorge due to elements that pose unsafe hazards and conditions. Furthermore, swimming at Chippewa Creek Gorge is illegal pursuant to Cleveland Metropolitan Park District’s Regulation Section 543.02(a). Whoever violates this section shall be fined not more than one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) for the first offense and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each subsequent offense.

** END LEGAL NOTICE **

Colonel John Breck and several partners purchased the land now known as Brecksville in 1807.  This location became a very populous area in Ohio though settlement came to a halt as other cities such as Cleveland and Detroit expanded. Outside of town in a secluded location is Chippewa Creek, a set of boulder problems with a range of difficulty.  Climbing here is debated - Cleveland Metroparks sent us a note saying that it is not safe and referenced the above legal statement. 

Location

Chippewa Creek, Ohio
United States
41° 19' 9.84" N, 81° 37' 1.92" W
US

COAD Boulders, Ohio (OH)

Located in the same vicinity as Witches Hills and Hocking Hills State Park are the COAD Boulders, there is not a lot of information for on this area but the bouldering seems to be quite efficient. The COAD Boulders AKA Copper Head Ridge and Point Boulders are adjacent to the Trailer Park. They are also the boulders that are visible from East State Street as you look over top of Odd Lots. This Area is currently home to about 30 problems with a few open sandstone projects.

Location

COAD Boulders, Ohio
22245 SR 78 Nelson, Ohio
United States
41° 21' 18.7092" N, 80° 58' 25.914" W
US

Eden Park Reservoir, Ohio (OH)

Completed in 1878 the two basins of Eden Park Reservoir covered a total of 12 acres. The east basin retaining wall consisted of eight elliptical arches, each spanning 55'. The length was 1,250'. The width at the base was 48.5', tapering to 25' on the top walk. These basins were cleaned in alternate years and everything was found from wrecked cars to suicide victims. When this cleaning took place municipal picnics, complete with music and dancing were held inside the empty basin.  Although chemical purification of city water began in 1907 at the new water plant upriver at California, the Eden Park reservoir remained in use. In the 1960s the stone retaining wall of the lower/eastern basin was largely removed and the basin filled in for ball fields. The upper/western basin was made deeper to increase its capacity to 80,000,000 gallons. The reservoir was used until 1965 when it was covered with a shallow 3/4 acre reflecting pool.  Now, one part of the wall remains for rock climbing.

Location

Eden Park Reservoir, Ohio
United States
39° 7' 0.12" N, 84° 29' 34.8" W
US

Elywood Cascade, Ohio (OH)

Elyria, Ohio was founded in 1817 by Heman Ely, who built a log house, dam, gristmill, and sawmill on the site. Ely began to build more houses to accommodate immigrating settlers. By the time Ely died in 1852, Elyria had 5 churches, 3 grocery stores, 3 flour mills, a newspaper, and a population of more than 1,500. Now, lying 50 miles outside of Cleveland the town has grown to over 25,000.  Unfortunately the residents here have not taken the greatest care of Elywood and Cascade Park, but it still offers some nice sandstone bouldering and climbing options.

Location

Elywood Cascade, Ohio
United States
41° 22' 37.2" N, 82° 6' 20.52" W
US

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio (OH)

Hocking Hills State Park is full of deep gorges and high cliffs, the result of the erosion-resistant Blackhand Sandstone, which extends well to the northeast of the Hocking Hills.  Hocking County was named from a shortened version of the Hockhocking River. Hockhocking, in the Delaware tongue, signifies a bottle. In Shawnee, Wea-tha-Kagh-Qua-sepe, meant bottle river. The Hockhocking River had a waterfall of nearly 20 feet located about 6 or 7 miles northwest of Lancaster. Above the falls, the creek was very narrow and straight, forming the "bottle" neck.  As a result, these cliffs left some of the best opportunities for rock climbing and rappelling in all of Ohio.  Remember, there are lots of tempting spots to climb at Hocking Hills, but climbing is only permitted in the designated area.  You will be fined if you are caught climbing at any other location.

Location

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
United States
39° 25' 50.16" N, 82° 32' 19.68" W
US

John Bryan State Park, Ohio (OH)

Some of the first people to experience the area's beauty were the Moundbuilders, and later, the Shawnee Indians.  Just five miles south of Yellow Springs, approximately where the town of Oldtown is now, was the site of Old Chillicothe, one of the leading Shawnee settlements in Ohio. The great Shawnee warrior, Tecumseh, was a frequent visitor here and to the nearby James Galloway House, which has been kept intact by the Greene County Historical Society. Much of the history of John Bryan State Park is "written in the rocks" of the Little Miami River gorge. Entering the area at Clifton, at 980 feet above sea level, the Little Miami drops 130 feet through layer upon layer of bedrock. Each layer has a story to tell of times when the area was covered by warm, shallow seas or was a part of a muddy river delta or was scoured by tons of slow-moving glacial ice. Each layer has its own characteristics as well. Some of the shale layers are easily worn away by the forces of erosion, causing undercutting in the cliff face. The more erosion-resistant dolomite or limestone rocks above are weakened by this undercutting and large "slump blocks" fall away, creating unusual rock formations including Steamboat Rock.

Location

John Bryan State Park, Ohio
United States
39° 47' 28.32" N, 83° 51' 15.84" W
US

Logtown Quarries, Ohio (OH)

Logtown Quarries lies just outside Lisbon, Ohio and was originally known for its iron and whiskey production. Because of this the area became a hodge-podge of mills, tanneries, a cement works, salt works, carpenters, gunsmiths, hotels, and clothiers.  Now you can explore the remnants of this town that was a bustling production village in the 1800’s and dig up some new rock climbing treasures in Logtown Quarries. When you are ready to climb here, you should stop by the City Hall and be sure to get permission from them or from the local Boy Scout chapter which owns the land that the quarries are located on.  This location is very well maintained and provides some of the most excellent climbing opportunities in Ohio.  Oh, and do not tempt fate by climbing the Tower.  You will be fined if you are caught, if you do not injure yourself first.

Location

Logtown Quarries, Ohio
United States
40° 46' 30" N, 80° 45' 44.28" W
US

Mills Creek Park, Ohio (OH)

Mill Creek Park was founded in 1891 due to the "untiring efforts of Youngstown attorney Volney Rogers".  Rogers secured options on much of the land and was able to purchase large tracts of it. This was no small task given that he was compelled to deal with more than 90 landowners. Once the land was secured, Rogers framed and promoted what he called the "Township Park Improvement Law." Upon the law's passage, Rogers turned over all of the land he had secured for park purposes.  Rogers had the area declared a park by the state legislature. It officially opened in 1893. Climbing is not technically permitted in the park, so keep it clean and keep it on the down low.

Location

Mills Creek Park, Ohio
United States
41° 2' 27.24" N, 80° 41' 33.36" W
US

Paint Creek, Ohio (OH)

The Paint Creek region lies at the very edge of the Appalachian Plateau. This escarpment marks the boundary between the hilly eastern section of the state and the flatter western portions. Most of the plateau in southeastern Ohio was never reached by glaciers, although the Paint Creek area bears evidence of glacial activity. One stream near the park, Rocky Fork Creek, was blocked by glacial ice and reversed direction, rapidly cutting the 75-foot gorge seen today.  Equally impressive here are the Seven Caves, all located about 50 feet above Rocky Fork Creek.  A short trip to the caves from the park is well worth the time, as well as the few limestone rock climbing opportunities here in the park that is owned and run by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Location

Paint Creek, Ohio
United States
39° 15' 59.4" N, 83° 22' 42.6" W
US

Strouds Run and Richland Boulder, Ohio (OH)

Strouds Run and Richland Boulder are two more bouldering locations in Athens, Ohio.  Strouds Run State Park is located in the scenic forested hills of Athens County, in the midst of the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau. Although untouched by the vast ice sheets that moved across portions of the state over 12,000 years ago, the effects of the glaciers can be seen today in the deep ravines and high hills of Strouds Run. Stream valleys served as outlets for torrents of glacial meltwaters. The erosion power of these waters began carving valleys and hillsides into the familiar topography Ohioans know today. Richland boulder lies just off of Richland and has a variety of intermediate problems.

Location

Strouds Run and Richland Boulder
United States
39° 20' 24.72" N, 82° 1' 28.2" W
US

The Trailer Park, Ohio (OH)

The Trailer Park is another bouldering area in Athens, Ohio.  While you are driving from location to location in Athens you should look for the historic markers that are placed throughout the town. Athens County has a rich history.  Formed in 1805 from part of Washington County, Athens County has experienced coal mining, pioneering education and so much more.  Some of this history has been recorded on Historical Markers. These markers tell us stories from the past.  They commemorate specific sites, events and sometimes even people.  There are nine Ohio Historical Society Historical Markers and several privately erected markers in Athens County.  There are about 40 problems in the Trailer Park, which is on city property.

Location

The Trailer Park, Ohio
22245 SR 78, Nelson, Ohio
United States
41° 21' 18.7092" N, 80° 58' 25.914" W
US

Thompson Ledges, Ohio (OH)

The geological formation of Thompson Ledges is a pebble-like sandstone. The well-known ledge at this place furnishes a fine exposure of rock, and gives a rugged and very romantic character to the place, and many visitors are attracted to the place, especially during the summer season. State geologist says the dip of the ledge here is from four to five degrees to the southwest. A great amount of sandstone is quarried here, and taken a great distance for bridge and building purposes. The forests partake of and mark the geological features along the ledge, and probably more of the oak and chestnut abound in this than any other of the townships of the county. Bouldering is allowed but keep as low of a footprint as possible. No rope climbing!

Location

Thompson Ledges, Ohio
United States
41° 41' 23.28" N, 81° 2' 46.32" W
US

Vesuvius, Ohio (OH)

In 1919 Ironton, Ohio had the first professional football team call the Ironton Tanks.  There is an old story in Ironton that says that professional football player, George Anderson McAffee would jog at Lake Vesuvius on the over 25 miles of hiking trails while preparing for the football season.  One cannot help but wonder if he did a little rock climbing to strengthen his biceps while he was there.  A historic iron furnace is located at the base of the dam. The narrows of Storms Creek offered a site for this lake, which was dammed in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corp. The rugged hills and out-cropping cliffs offer a scenic backdrop that is primed for some nice climbing adventures.

Location

Vesuvius, Ohio
1515 South 3rd Street Ironton, OH 45638-2141
United States
38° 31' 25.5972" N, 82° 40' 34.626" W
US

Whipps Ledges, Ohio (OH)

On March 15 of every year, buzzards arrive in large flocks at the town, as if on a very exact biological clock. The town began celebrating the arrival of the birds in 1957, and today as many as 50,000 visitors visit the Hinckley Reservation in the town annually on "Buzzard Day" to witness the return of the avian residents. Hinckley is exactly five miles square but contains 1133 acres more than the conventional 16,000 acres, due to the hills and valleys and generally 'wrinkled' surface.  Some of these hills and valleys have formed Whipps Ledges, a nice little spot for some rock climbing and bouldering in Ohio. Be advised that permits are required! They are free with proof of $300,000 combined bodily injury and property damage insurance, and can be requested from:

Visitors Services Division
Cleveland Metroparks
Administative Offices
101 Fulton Parkway
Cleveland, OH 44114
Telephone- 216-351-6300

You can also contact Mike Barnhart (216) 351-6300, Ext. 264, with the Cleveland Metro Parks system or the Cleveland Zoo.  Camping is by permit only, and then only in designated areas.

Location

Whipps Ledges, Ohio
United States
41° 13' 17.04" N, 81° 42' 32.4" W
US

Witches Hills, Ohio (OH)

The story of Witches Hills as widely circulated among various ghost websites by anonymous sources is that a woman accused of witchcraft was executed and buried at this cemetery.  The townsfolk did not erect a marker, but instead built an iron fence around her grave, which was next to an old tree.  An indentation next to the tree inside the fence marks her grave. Whether or not you believe that “witches” were sacrificed on the hills near Athens, Ohio, the little concentration of rocks that lies on these hills is a great opportunity for fresh boulderers, young and old to develop their problem solving skills.

Location

Witches Hills, Ohio
22245 SR 78 Nelson, Ohio
United States
41° 21' 18.7092" N, 80° 58' 25.914" W
US