John Bryan State Park
History of John Bryan State Park
John Bryan State Park is part of a complex of parks that lie between Yellow Springs, Clifton, Cedarville, and Xenia, Ohio. John Bryan has 752 acres, but when combined with the adjacent parks of Glen Helen and Clifton Gorge State Preserve, visitors can explore over 2,100 acres. The park’s biggest feature lies in the gorge carved through the Cedarville Dolomites, Massie Shale, and Brassfield Limestone by the Litte Miami River.
In more recent history, evidence of the Shawnee resides all over Greene County Ohio, particularly along the river. Following the arrival of pioneers and settlers, the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh stagecoach trail passed through the ground serving the several industries that harness the power of the Little Miami River.
In 1896, a local businessman, John Bryan bought 335 acres along the gorge formed by the Little Miami River. He called the land Riverside Acres. The park and natural wonders exist today, due to his preservation efforts. In 1918, John Bryan donated the land to Ohio where it eventually became one of the state’s first forest parks in 1925. Today, the US Department of the Interior carries the Little Miami River Gorge as a National Natural Landmark.
John Bryan State Park Points of Interest
- Stone Entrance: This park entrance always fascinates me. In early spring, the pink Eastern Red Buds adorn its entrance and in late fall, the surrounding gold sugar maples generate their own light
- North Rim Trail: Hiking out of the gorge, one comes to this trail where in the autumn the Sugar maple trees catch the sunlight in amazing ways
- Orton Monument: Dr Edward Orton Sr. was a naturalist, geologist, and professor at Antioch College. This red granite monument was dedicated to his friend Hugh Taylor Birch.
- Slump Blocks: As the river readily erodes the Massie shale layers, it undercuts the Dolomites causing large sections to break off called slump blocks like Steamboat Rock.
- Cincinnatii-Pittsburgh Stagecoach Trail: Walking this trail in early spring reveals an impressive number of Ohio Wildflowers. My favorite are the Trilliums which line this trail.
John Bryan State Park Art Prints
This park is full of natural wonders, big and small. The gorge offers an impressive display of Ohio Wildflowers. In spring and autumn, John Bryan fills with brief displays of amazing color. In all, these scenes make for amazing art prints that celebrate Ohio’s natural wonders. Feel free to check out the Ohio fine art photography from these adjacent parks:
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