Why is this site important?
As a nature preserve located at the very edge of glaciations, Wahkeena has a unique position in Ohio. The Hocking Hills region is made up of Blackhand Sandstone, which held back the flow of ice during the age of glaciers over 14,000 years ago. However, one lobe of ice extended down the Hocking River valley to Sugar Grove, 1 mile east of Wahkeena, and on the north, the glacier halted ½ mile from the preserve.
As a result of this unique positioning, the hills and valleys of Wahkeena support plants that would normally be in a more northern climate and also some southern species. The hemlock trees which line the Shelter Trail are the most notable northern examples, while rhododendron and mountain laurel represent the south.