River/Creek · Views · Waterfall
The first part of this route offers some great views of the Ross Run gorge, complete with a couple of waterfalls and tall cliffs. In the winter, there are some great ice formations from the ice that seeps from the sides of the gorge walls.
Open dawn to dusk. Pets on a leash. No fires, bikes, horses, motorized vehicles, hunting, camping or fishing. Open year round.
Need to Know
No restrooms or water are available at the trailhead. Both creek crossings are within the first 1/2 to 3/4 miles. There are benches at various spots along the trail. Much of the grassy path will not have shade.
This run covers all of the trails offered in the preserve at this point. Just a short way down the trail from the parking area is a fork. We went to the right and the first part of this run goes through the woods and is more difficult than the other 3/4 of the outing. There are pretty views and it's only a moderate loop, not too strenuous, to the first waterfall (approx. 1/4 mile in).
There are 2 potential creek crossings depending on water level. The creek isn't too wide, and we were able to cross in winter without getting wet (the second crossing had more water than the first). After about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile, you'll be out of the woods and on to the wide, mostly flat grass path through a fairly young pine grove. There is a short boardwalk through a small wetlands area around mile one.
To shorten the outing, you could take only the outer loop and none of the inner paths or cut across one of the inner paths to make a shorter loop. The paths and trail are well maintained (at least they were clear in the winter) and easy to follow. I highly recommend not missing the first part of the route if you are at all interested in the views!
History & Background
This area features many cliffs, fossil reefs, waterfalls and flumes, a result of the Silurian aged Limestone in the area. Ross Run, a tributary of the Wabash River, makes its way through a deep gorge where these geologic features can be admired.
In addition to the incredible geologic features, this area boasts biodiverse forests, as well as natural cliff communities.