John Bryan State Park is located near the villiage of Yellow Springs which locals know as the "weird, hippie" town and also where we happen to spend our weekends when not on the trail. It's just a short hop from Springfield, OH and boasts some great hiking worthy of review.
We hiked the North Rim Trail accessed from the Wingo Picnic area. Our original plan was to hike for 30 minutes and then turn back. We weren't prepared to make a loop hike since we were unfamiliar with the trails and the trail maps provided at the camp office were rather useless. Add to this several un-marked spur trails, and we felt better just sticking to what we knew. However, once we reached the first footbridge at the intersection of Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, Rob decided he wanted to make a go for it and hike the bottom Pittsburgh-Cincinnati Stage Coach trail back to the top. Since we felt pretty good and our 9 month old baby was enjoying the hike, we decided to press on.
According to the trail map, there should be an access trail linking the two trails (the rim and the bottom of the gorge). However, we found no such trail, so we believe the trail map to either be outdated or incorrect. We hiked to the second footbridge and found an access trail that looped back to the North Rim Trail. It did, however, add quite a bit of time to our trek! By the time we reached our car, our baby was fussing after being angelic for the previous hour and a half on trail. It was the longest hike we've take to date with her, and I'm really pleased how well it all went!
We ran into several other hikers, despite the nippy weather of the early morning. Several groups were out hiking and a few looked to be training for backpacking. We did see a camp of boyscouts in the campground on our way in, so it must have been them (we later ran into these boyscouts while lunching at Youngs Jersey Dairy just a few miles from the park). There was even a class going on at the Rim for rapelling, which we passed during the beginning of our hike.
We'll definitely be returning to John Bryan for more hiking and possibly some camping (the camground boasts spacious and well-shaded sites located throughout a hillside). Next time, we may venture into the Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve and over the Little Miami River for additional trails.
With all there is to do both within the park and the surrounding area, John Bryan State Park is a worthy destination for any nature loving person or family.