Stebbins Gulch Photo Tour


Stebbins Gulch is the crown jewel of The Holden Arboretum’s extensive natural areas, as well as one of the most unspoiled natural history preserves in northeast Ohio. 


It is a deep ravine environment with its own microclimate and multiple forest zones.  It displays one of the most complete sequences of exposed rocks in northeast Ohio, spanning 30 million years of marine sedimentation and five named geologic units.  A strong sense of isolation and remoteness is retained even though it is only 25 miles from downtown Cleveland.


The web tour previews Holden's most rugged hike to discover what is in store for you before you register for a guided, group tour.  The web tour is also a great way to review and learn even more about Stebbins Gulch after your tour.  Finally, it provides a safe way to navigate the Gulch if you know the hike would be too strenuous for you.


To register for an upcoming group tour see our online class schedule.

Stebbins Gulch Facts

  • Access is only by guided group tours
  • Area first settled in 1813
  • The ravine is 70 to 200 feet deep
  • The gulch is 300 to 500 feet wide
  • Annual temperature range from 0 to 75 degrees F
  • Guided tour covers 1.8 miles
  • Elevations range from 850 to 1150 feet above sea level
  • Five named geologic rock units
  • Designated by National Park Service (U.S. Department of Interior) as National Natural Landmark in 1967
  • Six cascades and waterfalls
  • Geology:  Horizontal Paleozoic marine sedimentary rock and glacial till
  • Geologic time span:  Late Devonian to early Mississippian or 370 to 350 million years before present
See video of Stebbins created by GCCreativeVideos.



Stebbins Gulch is one of Holden's two National Natural Landmarks and visitation to the area is limited for the protection of the gulch's wildlife and our guests. This photo tour will give you a idea of what a hike through Stebbins is like, as well as more information about the geology and plant life and hiking conditions along the trail.


Stop 1: The decent
Stop 2: Ancient trees
Stop 3: Getting Wet
Stop 4: Rock Lover's Paradise Stop 5: Geology basics
Stop 6: Puzzling patterns
Stop 7: Erosional chaos
Stop 8: Plants and fungus Stop 9: Lower falls
Stop 10: Towering cliffs Stop 11: Largest waterfall Stop 12: Ancient delta
Stop 13 Human activity Stop 14: Box canyon Stop 15: Journey's end
Our sincere thanks to Holden volunteer Pat Biliter, for creating the text and taking the photos to illustrate the beauty of Stebbins Gulch. All photos were taken by Biliter unless otherwise indicated.