Hike the Devil’s Backbone

Sunday, October 22 2-4pm, Hike will begin at 19940 Nashville Rd. Greer 44628, just off of SR 514, 6 miles north of Danville.  Look for event parking signs.


The public is invited to view and hike the 400 feet high “Devil’s Backbone” near Greer.  This jointly-sponsored program by the Knox County Park District and the Danville Branch of the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County will be hosted by property owner Philip Chase. David Greer, owner of an adjacent property and a retired science teacher and local historian, will lead the hike.


The “Devil’s Backbone” is a narrow ridge rising nearly 400 feet above the Mohican State Scenic River as it flows south and east of the village of Greer. Hikers will have the opportunity to walk along the now abandoned “Wally” Railroad that ran from Loudonville to Coshocton for nearly 50 years, ending in 1940. Attendees can also view evidence of earth-moving preparations for the never-built 1850’s “Calico Railroad”.


Hikers will view some of the resulting ravines at roadbed level, then hike up the steep ridge and view the breathtaking valley and surrounding hills. With appropriate weather conditions, the hills and valley may be adorned by spectacular, colorful autumn foliage.


The hike may be strenuous at times. Mobility-challenged persons can be transported by ATV to the railroad sites and base of the ridge. Here, landowner Phil Chase will show his experimental American chestnut tree plantings which are hoped to be resistant to the chestnut blight that decimated Ohio’s native chestnut population 100 years ago.


The hike traverses through a hemlock forest and near a wetland and the guide will address how glaciers affected the area geology and the tree species found here and then participants will have an opportunity to view a recent sustainable timber harvest performed in a manner that conserved the water quality and soils.


A book about the Wally Railroad – Wally: The Story of the Walhonding Valley Railroad—its history and its lore, published in 2002 by Loudonville author Jim Sharp is available for purchase the day of the hike. The book, featured by the Danville Library in 2015 may be borrowed from the library beforehand or purchased in advance at the Knox County Historical Society.

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