Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve

About this Location

This 268-acre preserve protects one of the most spectacular dolomite and limestone gorges in the state. Registered as a National Natural Landmark in 1968, Clifton Gorge encompasses a 2-mile stretch of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River, just east of John Bryan State Park.

  • One of the finest examples of a post-glacial canyon cutting
  • Scenic waterfalls and rapids on the headwaters of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River
  • Excellent spring wildflower viewing
  • Parking lot, trails, interpretive signs, and overlooks are provided.
  • No pets are allowed at Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve

Geologically, it is an outstanding example of interglacial and post-glacial canyon cutting. At one point, the river funnels through a deep, narrow channel, which was apparently formed by the enlarging and connecting of a series of potholes in the resistant Silurian dolomite bedrock. In other sections of the gorge, cliff overhangs have broken off forming massive slump blocks scattered along the valley floor.

The shaded, north-facing slopes provide a cool, moist environment for northern species including hemlock, red baneberry, Canada yew, arbor-vitae, and mountain maple. This is one of the most spectacular sites in the state for viewing spring wildflowers including the rare snow trillium.

Located in Greene County on OH-343, .25 mile west of Clifton at the east end of John Bryan State Park.

Notable Trails

Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve Trails
Trails at Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve include:
Narrows Trail – 0.5 mile
Gorge Trail – 1 mile
Rim Trail – 1 mile
Orton Trail – 0.5 mile


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

  • Roadside viewing

Content from Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve webpage and Bethany Gray