Posted in Hiking, Northwestern Ohio, Park review

Sears Woods

Our recent visit to Sears Woods featured large trees and a close-encounter with galloping deer.

Sears Woods is a 137 acre state nature preserve in Crawford County. It is managed by the Crawford County Park District. The Sandusky River flows through the preserve which features an old-growth beech and maple woodland. There are two trails: the 1.25-mile Hiking Trail that loops through the woods, and a smaller, mown-path through a meadow that’s known as the Bluebird Box Trail.

View of the Sandusky River from the flood plain




At the entrance there is a paved driveway with a nearby sign and kiosk.

Parking lot for Sears Woods

The trail map on the kiosk shows you your choice of trails. We briefly checked out the Bluebird Box Trail, then set out on the Hiking Trail toward the Sandusky River.

The mown path to the left leads to the 1.25-mile Hiking Trail that passes through the woods toward the Sandusky River. The mown path to the right is part of the Bluebird Box Trail and it passes through meadow.
This trail map was displayed beneath glass at the kiosk (click the image to enlarge it).
The Bluebird Box Trail is a mown path that loops through a meadow that is adjacent to the woods.

The Hiking Trail is a loop. We hiked it in the clockwise direction. There was a gentle ascent that soon took us to a bluff overlooking the Sandusky River.

Near the start of the trail

We were on the rim of the bluff when we heard a commotion ahead on the trail. Two deer, an adult female and her almost full-grown fawn were galloping down the trail straight at us. I looked down to power up my camera. When I looked back up the adult female had veered into the forest to steer clear of us, but the fawn remained on the trail and continued to race directly at us. At the last moment the fawn also veered away and darted by us. Alas, all I got was a very blurred photo as it receded into the forest.

We were on this bluff when a fawn came charging down the trail at us.

At one point there was a path descending to the floodplain so we could get a better look at the river.

View of the Sandusky River from the flood plain

Sears Woods is known for its old-growth beech and maple trees.

Mature trees near the trail

There are several footbridges leading over small, wet areas.

One of the footbridges on the Hiking Trail

Instead of using blazes, the trail was marked by faded, red ribbons that were tied to trees along the way.

On the far left, note that the ribbon tied around the young tree. The trail was marked with such ribbons.

Below are a couple of additional photos to give you an idea of what the the woodland was like.

There was very little undergrowth present during this portion of the trail.
View of the woods to the side of the trail

If you have the opportunity to visit in May, there is supposed to be an impressive display of spring wildflowers. Since we were visiting in July, we spotted a few summer flowers.

Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria)
These are the tiny blossoms of Enchanter’s nightshade (Circaea lutetiana).
Yellow woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta)
At the end of this stem are the buds of the Narrow-leaved Wild Leek (Allium burdickii).

Mayapple is one of the forest plants that bloom in the spring. We saw its developing fruit during our July visit.

Beneath the foliage hangs the fruit of the mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum).

Deb’s currently collecting photos of damselflies, and she was able to add a couple of new ones to her collection during this trip.

I believe that this damselfly is a female, Powdered Dancer (Argia moesta).
Female, Blue-fronted dancer (Argia apicalis). It turns out that the male has a blue front, but the female doesn’t.

We also saw a couple of interesting fungus specimens, but we aren’t sufficiently knowledgeable about fungus to be able to identify them.

Reddish fungus
Some type of coral fungus, so-named because the branches of the fungus remind people of structures formed by the marine animal.

All-in-all, the Hiking Trail provides scenic views of the river and some old-growth trees. My one and only complaint is that I wish the trail was longer. Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed our walk there.

Additional information
  • TrekOhio: Crawford County Parks & Preserves — This is the county where Sears Woods is located; check out this page for links to the official site and for information on nearby parks and preserves.




Location
  • Address: 1486 Mt Zion Rd, Bucyrus, Ohio 44820
  • GPS Coordinates: 40.7767349,-83.0475108
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions


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© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2012 to 2017

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