Indianfield Bluffs Park

Indianfield Bluffs Park is a small, but scenic park in the Knox County Park District. It is 25.5 acres in size with a 1.5-mile, double loop trail. Since hikers will have to repeat sections of the trail if they walk its entire length, it ends up being a longer hike than that. The GPS trace for our hike at Indianfield Bluffs indicated that we had walked about 2.4 miles. The trail is marked with blue blazes. Pets are permitted in the park if they are kept on leashes and if the owner cleans up after Read more ➜

Ariel Foundation Park

Ariel-Foundation Park is a 250 acre park owned by the City of Mount Vernon in Ohio. It is operated by the Foundation Park Conservancy. The park is located on a former industrial site that housed the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company (now PPG). History and Overview The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company opened in 1907 and manufactured plate glass for automotive windshields. The plant was a sprawling complex of brick and steel girder buildings totaling 1,000,000 square ft. A number of gravel Read more ➜

Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve

Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve is a remnant of the Darby Plains prairie. While most of Ohio's prairies were converted into farmland, its status as a 19th-century pioneer cemetery meant that the land was never cultivated. Fortunately this has allowed it to preserve the original prairie grasses and wildflowers. The is a one acre preserve is located in Madison County. We visited three prairie remnants west of Columbus on the same day: Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve, Bigelow Cemetery Read more ➜

Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve

Last summer we visited two of Ohio's smallest state nature preserves: Bigelow Cemetery and Smith Cemetery. Within these two preserves are remnants of prairie that once extended over 5% of Ohio. Because both sites were 19th century cemeteries, they were undisturbed by the plowing that converted 99% of this rich, prairie soil into Ohio farmland. Today I will discuss the half-acre Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve, and I'll save the nearby Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve for a later post. Read more ➜

Mt. Gilead State Park

Mount Gilead is a 181 acre state park in central Ohio which offers some nice hiking trails as well as opportunities for fishing, camping, and horseback riding. The park is located in the town of the same name which is about 45 minutes north of Columbus. The centerpiece of the park is a pair of lakes formed by earthen dams on Sam's Creek. The lakes are stocked with trout and are popular with fisherman. The lakes are in a small valley with hills rising on either side of the lakes. On Read more ➜

Milford Center Prairie State Natural Area

Between eight and four thousand years ago what later became Ohio experienced a prolonged drought. This allowed the drought-tolerant plants of the Great Plains to displace Ohio's more typical, water-loving plants. This eastward thrust of the prairie into Ohio has been referred to as a "prairie peninsula." The prairie peninsula encompassed nearly 400 square miles of the Darby Plains in western, central Ohio. Today only 1% of this prairie survives. There are a number of MetroParks in the Columbus and Read more ➜

Ramser Arboretum

Ramser Arboretum is a 680-acre arboretum in Knox County that is privately-owned, but open to the public (except during deer-gun season). It features more than five miles of hiking trails that may be used by cross country skiers during the winter. The entrance contains a gravel parking lot, picnic tables, a port-a-potty and a kiosk with information and post cards with a map of the trails. A relatively short drive from Columbus (30-40 minutes), Ramser is a nice spot for a walk in the Read more ➜

Dawes Arboretum

Dawes Arboretum located in Central Ohio consists of 1,800 acres of formal gardens, fields, ponds, and forests, including eight miles of hiking trails. Among its facilities are a visitors center, rest rooms, picnic areas and shelters. The meticulously maintained formal gardens are a popular venue for weddings. The arboretum was established by Columbus residents Beman and Bertie Dawes. They purchased an old farm in Licking County, renamed it Daweswood and planted trees and established gardens. Read more ➜

A.W. Marion State Park

A.W. Marion State Park is a 309-acre park with a 145-acre lake within its borders. The lake, known as Hargus Lake, has been stocked with largemouth bass, muskellunge, bluegill and channel catfish. Currently the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) only permits boats to use electric motors. Although the lake doesn't have a beach, boaters are allowed to swim from their boats in one corner of the lake (the swimming area is marked on the park's map). I visited the park twice in late April of last Read more ➜

Shale Hollow Preserve

Shale Hollow is Delaware County's newest park having just opened in December. It is named for a small canyon of 20 to 40 foot shale cliffs rising above a stream named Big Run. We visited Shale Hollow a couple of times in the past month. The park consists of 188 acres encompassing a ravine, forest, and meadowland. A gravel roadway leads to a parking area next to a nature center. The nature center features a small exhibit explaining the natural history of the area including the 375 million Read more ➜