Shallenberger State Nature Preserve
The trails at Shallenberger State Nature Preserve are the closest barefoot-friendly trails to Columbus that wind through the blackhand sandstone of Hocking Hills. The Preserve features two blackhand sandstone knobs that rise about 120 feet above the surrounding valley. The trails themselves mainly stay in the lower area, one circling Allen Knob, and the other making a circle to the north of Ruble Knob. However, for a bit of aerobic activity, there are access trails to the top of both knobs, with a circle trail atop Allen Knob.
The trails are mainly packed earth, and can get a bit muddy after rains. The occasional twig provides good sole stimulation without discomfort.
Keep an eye out for poison ivy, which has a tendency to get a bit too close to the trail in some spots.
Shallenberger State Nature Preserve is located close to US 33 near Lancaster, Ohio. From Columbus and I-270 take US 33 southeast to the Lancaster bypass. Follow the bypass to the SR 22 exit and turn left. Pass the 33 north on ramp and take the next left onto Beck's Knob Road. Go around the curve in the road and the Shallenberger State Nature Preserve parking lot is on the right. There is no water or restroom.
Shallenberger State Nature Preserve location and trail maps.
The Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves has a detailed page about Shallenberger State Nature Preserve.
Have questions? Write the Ohio Barefoot Hikers.
Trail description provided by Robert