Glen Helen is a 1000-acre nature preserve near Yellow Springs, OH, with a collection of 20 miles of footpaths. At the south end, trails connect to the neighboring John Bryan State Park. At the northern end, The Glen is accessible from some less-well-marked trails that begin just northeast of downtown Yellow Springs. I spent a few days this fall exploring these trails and discovering how they connect to the rest of the named, color-coded Glen Helen footpaths.
To begin the hike, cross Yellow Springs Creek by hopping across the stones.
Walk along the bottom of the cliff line on the east side of the creek. The trail can be difficult to spot in sections, but as long as you keep the creek to the west, the cliff to the east, and proceed south, you will be going in the right direction.
The Yellow Spring
Once you reach the main trail network from a northeast route, it’s only a bit further to the famous Yellow Spring, from which the Village of Yellow Springs gets its name. You are now on the Inman Trail.
Oak Triangle Trail
From the spring, head east and go right at the first trail junction, heading south along the top of the cliff on the Oak Triangle Trail. Overlooks will provide views of the Pompey’s Pillar and the boardwalk below.
Follow the trail as it bends east. Birch Creek and the Inman Trail will be visible below.
Continue until you reach the bridge over The Cascades, a series of waterfalls on the Birch Creek.
Proceed down from the ridge and re-join the Inman Trail, heading west/southwest along the Birch Creek. Additional smaller waterfalls will be visible as you continue along the creek.
Stepping Stone Crossing
Eventually you will reach a stepping stone crossing near where the Birch Creek meets the Yellow Springs Creek.
Head north on the Inman Trail along the boardwalk to complete the loop back to the Yellow Spring, or head south to explore the rest of the Glen Helen trail network.