Kobe Hollow is a Cardinal Land Conservancy preserve that was recently opened to the public. Their website notes that over 100 species of native plants have been documented there and that the site features the Kobe bedrock formation that is unique to Southern Ohio and Indiana. Kobe bedrock is the result of the accumulation of materials at the bottom of a sea that was in the central North America area millions of years ago. The Kobe strata is alternating layers of shale, which is dried clay, and limestone, with 75% of the layers being shale.
The trail is largely an out and back path with a small loop at the end. But notice that the preserve property extends out beyond the loop, on the other side of the creek.
We laughed when we saw the collection of walking sticks at the trailhead, as noted in the title photo – sort of a hiking “little library”. Interestingly, several of them were of bamboo which caught our interest.
The trail enters a rolling terrain with shin high grass that may have been an old farmstead driveway
The trees were primarily healthy Black Walnut and American Elm.
The old homestead perception was reinforced when we saw large clumps of the ornamental Hellebores, which is also known as Lenten Rose.
We continued on the slight curve around the hill when we saw this – a 120 foot run of dense bamboo – which explained the source of the bamboo walking sticks that we saw at the trailhead.
And there were some substantial specimens whose girth was too large for the native bamboos – again suggesting that this entry was an old homestead with some holdover landscape plants.
Leaving the bamboo behind we entered a somewhat young open wood.
This decrepit rock wall probably bordered a past farm pasture.
The landscape remained the same until we neared the loop section. There we saw some rock outcroppings up on the hillside to our left, as well as some more mature trees. Here Roup’s Run Creek came into better view.
We reached the loop section more quickly than we anticipated. There was a branch off the trail that took you down into the limestone creek bed that featured waterfalls, although they were under performing given the dry July weather.
In the creek bed one could appreciate the Kobe Formation – the layering of shale and limestone that is unique to this region.
After we left the creek we wandered around the loop area, making sure that we did not miss an extending path. From there we could look across the creek to the part of the preserve on the other side of the stream – it was an inviting more mature woods but clearly that area was not for public experience.
From the loop and creek we headed back toward the parking area. And once again an elusive Yellow Billed Cuckoo began calling from the canopy – still heard but not seen. Along the way Caroline, the stand-in photographer, found some small scale beauty to celebrate. (Spiderwort, Elf Cups, Tall Bellflower, moss and colorful fungi on a rotting log, and a mushroom).
The last item was this – it was about the size of a nickel and caught with a telephoto lens about 10 feet off the trail. Its source has me stumped.
In summary, our hike at Kobe Hollow was a quick jaunt. I enjoyed seeing the Kobe bedrock and researching its geology. To be honest, I did not see the plant diversity that was presented on the website, but with sticking to the developed trail one may not enter all the micro habitats that allows for varied plant populations. The conservationist in me recognizes that you can not turn the public loose in a critical habitat, especially with steep terrain. I suspect that many of the unique features of the property are off the beaten path, and perhaps on the preserve land across the stream that looked so inviting. I will keep my eyes open for the opportunity to tour the property with the Cardinal Staff as perhaps then we could get full exposure to this protected habitat. In addition, Kobe Hollow could be a great outing in the winter or spring when the open understory would allow for good visualization of the many waterfalls in the creek. From a cardiovascular point of view I would say that the steady grade in the July heat was a good workout for Caroline and I.
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Photo credits to Caroline Burns Grizzle.
Location – 5051 US State Route 52, Ripley, OH 45162, about 50 miles from downtown Cincinnati.
Parking – gravel lot for 8-10 cars.
Trail Conditions – grass and bare dirt. The route we hiked totaled 1.2 miles.
Benches – none.
Picnic Tables – none.
Kids – 6 and older should do well here.
Suggested Paired Hikes – Crooked Run Nature Preserve is 14 miles west of Kobe, also on State Route 52. It has 1 mile of trails in a wetland habitat.