About Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve

Conkles Hollow is an Ohio State Nature Preserve located in Hocking Hills. One of the most scenic natural history regions in the state, the sheer sandstone cliffs rise nearly 200 feet above the lushly covered valley floor. There you’ll find a profusion of native plants, wildflowers, and hardwood forests so thick little or no sunlight reaches the floor in some places.

The trail leading up the narrow, half-mile ravine is surrounded by cliffs towering over 200 feet above and can be 300 feet or less from cliff to cliff in certain areas. At the top visitors are treated with magnificent views from some of the highest cliffs in Hocking Hills State Park. Experienced hikers may want to try the rim trail above the gorge. For an easier hike, the lower gorge trail was recently designed to accommodate visitors of all abilities.

The preserve is named after W.J. Conkle, an early visitor to the area known for carving his name and date into the western wall of the gorge in 1797.

The History

According to a local Hocking Hills legend, a group of Native Americans once hid stolen money in a small opening high up the gorge’s western wall. As legend has it, they robbed a group of settlers traveling along the Ohio River of a large amount of money, then journeyed to Conkles Hollow to hide the stolen goods. To reach the elevated opening on the cliff wall, they chopped down a tall hemlock tree and made a ladder. After hiding the money, they pushed the tree to the ground so it could not be used again. To locate the stash, they carved an arrow on the eastern wall of the gorge pointing to the secret hiding place. With the intentions of using a second tree to reclaim the money, a storm knocked the tree down before the natives could retrieve the money. Despite early settlers claiming to have seen the arrow, the legend suggests the money was never found.