Glen Helen Preserve
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Ohio Birding Day Hike
The Inman Trail is a 1.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail at Glen Helen Preserve that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. A number of interesting features can be viewed from the Inman Trail whose trailhead is located at the parking lot of the main entrance. After following the trail down to the creek’s flood plain and crossing the creek via a footbridge, you arrive on the east side of the Yellow Springs Creek. A little way farther to the east, Inman Trail becomes a loop. Turn left (northwards) to follow the loop in a clockwise direction. Shortly after starting the clockwise path you will come to a boardwalk. Just beyond the boardwalk there is a side trail to Pompey’s Pillar.
Continuing on there is a boardwalk that juts off the Inman Trail to the west. Following it leads to the Talus Trail on the western side of Yellow Springs Creek. Disregard this trail and continue the clockwise path on the Inman Trail. Soon afterwards you will see the remnants of an old dam. In the early 1900’s there was a resort in Yellow Springs. This dam created a small lake which was used by visitors to the resort for recreational boating and ice skating.
The Inman Trail turns to the right (east) and goes upwards. Arrive at the Yellow Springs which gives the town its name. Its vivid color is due to the large amount of iron in the soil here. Continue eastward on the northernmost part of Inman Trail loop and pass through a woods. A Hopewell Indian mound is in the woods to the south of the trail.
As the Inman Trail loop began to turn southward you reach Helen’s Stone. The land that became the preserve was donated to Antioch College by Hugh Taylor Birch in memory of his daughter, Helen Birch Bartlett. Shortly beyond Helen’s Stone you approach another creek, known as the Birch Creek. It’s a tributary that flows into Yellow Springs Creek. Arrive at Birch Creek near a waterfall.
There is a nice vantage point for viewing the falls. After taking in the falls you have a choice between continuing on the Inman Trail Loop on the western side of Birch Creek, or following Birch Creek Trail that runs parallel to it on the eastern side. There are many miles of trails at Glen Helen, if you wish to extend your hike.
About Glen Helen Preserve
Glen Helen, a nature preserve owned by Antioch College, is the legacy of alumnus Hugh Taylor Birch, who, in 1929, donated the wooded glen to Antioch College in memory of his daughter, Helen. With this gift, the College accepted the responsibility of preserving the land in perpetuity. Additional gifts expanded the preserve, which now encompasses 1000 acres, all accessible from a 25-mile network of footpaths. Today, that mission is carried forward by Antioch College through the Glen Helen Ecology Institute, which manages the land and coordinates the educational programs of “The Glen.” On even a short walk, visitors can view spectacular wildflowers, 400-year-old trees, limestone cliffs with waterfalls and overhangs, and the beautiful yellow spring for which the town is named.
The Glen is an integral part of the legacy of the College and will be an important resource for the development of its curriculum. For Antiochians, the identity of the College and Glen Helen are inseparable. For nature enthusiasts, the glen is a valuable resource for hiking, birding, and exploration.
From Glen Helen Preserve webpage
About Clifton Gorge
“Clifton Gorge” actually encompasses Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve at the east end, John Bryan State Park in the middle, and Glen Helen Ecology Institute at the west end. All are accessible to the public, except for part of the nature preserve – the scientific area on the south side of the river, which requires a permit for access.
This gorge, which was carved by the Little Miami River as it passed through dolomitic bedrock, is perhaps the most scenic area in western Ohio. Steep limestone cliffs are draped with White Cedar, a rare tree in Ohio, and spring wildflower displays are spectacular.
Many rare plants are protected here, too, and the site is of great interest botanically. All told, over 1000 acres are in protection, and most of this is accessible via a network of well-maintained trails. In addition, Glen Helen maintains an outstanding raptor rehabilitation center, and hawks and owls can be seen up close there.
Most entrances are located along OH-343, between OH-68 and OH-72, south and west of Springfield, Ohio. The western end of the area abuts the east side of the town of Yellow Springs.
From Ohio Ornithological Society
Birds of Interest by Season
Most of our common winter woodland species, and winter finches are sometimes attracted to the conifers. Also, the visitor’s center at Glen Helen keeps feeders stocked, and those are always worth checking.
Good numbers and diversity of neotropical migrants. Migration periods can be particularly good birding, as the heavily wooded gorge is an oasis for birds in an area that is heavily agricultural.
Many of Ohio’s more common and widespread woodland breeders are easily found. Louisiana Waterthrush and Yellow-throated Warbler are easily found along the river, as are Belted Kingfisher and Wood Duck. Prothonotary Warbler is found on occasion. Upland, successional habitats often support Yellow-breasted Chat, and Blue-winged and Prairie Warblers.
Good numbers and diversity of neotropical migrants.
Restrooms on site.