John Bryan State Park
Guide

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Introduction

John Bryan State Park staff claim that this is the most scenic state park in Western Ohio. Once you see the area, you'll see why. The park is not just one of the most scenic in Western Ohio, but in all of America, highlighted by a dazzling limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River. The gorge is designated as a state and national scenic river, with some of it also designated as a national natural landmark. It drops from 980 feet above sea level down 130 feet through different layers of bedrock, with each drop characterized by different levels of erosion.

The park came to be after businessman John Bryan transferred his 335 acres to the state of Ohio. In 1925 the land became one of the state's first forest parks. The park is also home to more than 100 different trees and shrubs and over 340 species of wildflowers grow within the park during the varying seasons.

The Little Miami River is the centerpiece for recreation in the park. Here you will find people boating, swimming and fishing during the summer, while outside the water the rock climbers will be scaling the walls of the gorge. Hiking is another popular activity at the park with trails available for people of all ages and experience.

The camping area at John Bryan State Park has 52 non-electric partially shaded sites and 9 electric sites. Amenities here include drinking water, a dump station, picnic tables and fire rings. The park is open year round and peak season runs from the start of April until the end of October.

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Transportation in John Bryan State Park

Driving

John Bryan State Park is located in the middle of Clifton and Yellow Springs. The entrance to the park can only be accessed from the Yellow Springs side, so if you are coming from the east you will have to drive around it to enter the park. The park is close to both Springfield and Dayton and can be easily accessed by RVs throughout the year.

From Clifton, head west on OH-343 for around two miles. Turn left onto OH-370 S and continue for around one mile. Follow the road into the park.

From Yellow Springs, take the US-68 North until you reach the OH-343 East. Take the OH-343 exit and continue for a mile. Turn right onto OH-370 South and keep going for another mile until you reach the park. The entrance will be on the left.

If you are coming from Springfield, take the left onto Yellow Springs St and continue for around four miles. Merge onto US-68 South and drive for three miles. Take the OH-370 South exit and follow this road to the park.

Parking

There are two different parking lots at John Bryan State Park. The main one is located near the park entrance on the Yellow Springs side of the park. The other is located on the Clifton side. If you want to park before you check-in for camping you will need to go to the Yellow Springs lot. The Clifton George lot can be used to access some of the hiking trails that are located on that side of the park.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in John Bryan State Park

Campsites in John Bryan State Park

Reservations camping

John Bryan State Park Campgrounds

The camping area at John Bryan State Park is built for mostly tents and RV's on the smaller side. A 40ft RV is the maximum you will be able to fit into a site and it will be a tight squeeze. Overall, there are 52 non-electric partially shaded sites and nine 50 amp electric sites that are non-shaded. The electric sites are usually booked out due to the small number, so make sure you reserve one before you get to the park. There are no shower facilities at this campground but there are pit toilets available. Other amenities here include drinking water, a dump station, picnic tables and fire rings and a camp store that you can find supplies at. Pets are allowed on leashes and you should be able to get phone reception on all of the networks.

The park is open year round and you can make reservations for the electric sites up to six months in advance.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in John Bryan State Park

In-Season

Rock Climbing and Rappelling

The towering limestone gorge isn't just for looking at! You can climb this beast thanks to the public rock climbing and rappelling area that is located on a section of the North Rim Trail. Top-rope climbing is permitted from dawn to dusk in the park but bouldering is prohibited. If you do want to do some climbing make sure you bring all your own equipment as none is provided. To access this area, take the trail from the parking lot on the south side of the park road.

Fishing

The Little Miami River has an excellent stream that will provide many fishing opportunities for RV campers who are anglers. There are over 70 different species of fish found in the river, so you could have a diverse catch. The most popular fish to try hook are smallmouth bass, rock bass and panfish, which are all in abundance. Make sure you don't venture too far as fishing is banned in the Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. If you do want to cast a line a valid Ohio fishing license is required.

Canoeing

The Little Miami River within John Bryan State Park is a very popular canoeing area. There is a canoe launch area located near the park on Jacoby Road that provides access to this stunning river. As the river twists and bends, you will uncover steep rock cliffs, huge sycamores and many historic sites along your paddle. Remember to notify staff if you are going for a long paddle and to wear a life jacket when you are out on the water.

Off-Season

Disc Golf

John Bryan State Park is also home to a nine hole disc golf course known as the The Larry Silver Nine. The five five holes are located in an open old growth tree area across from the first parking lot when you enter the park. The more challenging back four holes start just past the camp store back towards the park entrance. These are located on the other side of the road from the first five holes. Bringing your own disks is necessary as the park has limited equipment for you to borrow.

Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers rejoice! There are separate trails for you at John Bryan State Park, with ten miles of interconnected single use and multi-use trails. The trails will suit beginners to the experienced, with ramps, log jumps, climbs and creek crossings providing challenges to make riding in the park really fun for intermediate cyclists. The longest trail is known as Great Scot. It is four and a half miles and has some small climbs, a few creek crossings and the biggest ramp in the park. Make sure you sign in at the park kiosk before you ride and they will give you the latest information on trail activities.

Hiking

There are plenty of hiking opportunities in John Bryan State Park with 10 different trails traversing the park. The trails vary in length from the 0.1 mile Poplar Trail to the three mile North Rim Trail. The two most popular trails are the Pittsburg-Cincinnati Stage Coach and the South Gorge Loop. These two trails will take you along the river where you can expect to see small waterfalls if there has been rainfall in the area.

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