John Bryan State Park
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Ohio Birding Day Hikes
John Bryan State Park Trails
Ten hiking trails traverse the park:
Big Furnace Trail (Camp Trail) – 1 mile
Quarry Loop Trail – .47 mile
North Rim Trail – 2.7 miles
Pitt-Cinci Stage Coach Trail – 1.3 miles
Poplar Trail – 0.1 mile
Ridge Trail – 1.5 miles
South Gorge Trail – 1.2 miles
Orton Memorial Trail – .4 mile
Gorge Trail (John L. Rich Trail) – 1.3 miles
Narrows Trail (John L. Rich Trail)- .6 mile
One hiking trail also allows bicycles:
Arboretum Trail (Observatory Trail) – 1.2 miles
Adjacent to the park, Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve also offers additional hiking trails which can be accessed from the park, however, pets are not allowed in the state nature preserve.
Mountain bikes are permitted on 9.7 miles of interconnected single use and multi-use trails.
Descriptions and maps of hikes on trails in John Bryan State Park are on the AllTrails website.
About John Bryan State Park
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. Springs feeding small waterfalls and cascades are common.
The glaciers did not only affect the land forms, they also had an effect on the vegetation found here. As the last glacier retreated and the climate warmed, the cool shaded recesses of the gorge valley provided a suitable habitat for several Canadian plant species: Canada yew, redberry elder, mountain maple, arborvitae and even a few hemlocks.
More than 100 different trees and shrubs have been identified in the park. More than 340 species of wildflowers grow wild here. Snow trillium, Virginia bluebells, bellworts, wild ginger, Dutchman’s breeches, Jack-in-the-pulpit and wild columbines are only a few to be seen in the park. The dominating trees are oaks and maples, but large numbers of sycamores and cottonwoods can be found along the river. Wildlife is also abundant in the park. For instance, more than 90 different varieties of birds live in or visit the park area during the year. To fully appreciate the beauty of John Bryan, one needs to experience it during all four seasons.
From John Bryan State Park 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 at locations identified on John Bryan State Park map.