Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), photographed in August
Thayer Ridge Park features a picnic area (without restrooms), a frisbee disc golf course, and some multi-use, dirt trails going through woodland and meadows. The trails are open to horseback riders, mountain bikers and hikers. I have hiked there twice (in April and in August); in my opinion the trails are probably best suited for those on horseback. On each of my two visits it was clear that the trails were being used regularly by riders. Here’s why I think the trail conditions are less than ideal for hikers.
Pond at Char-Mar Ridge.
Char-Mar Ridge is part of Delaware County’s preservation park system. It features a wooded trail that passes over gently rolling hills. The trail itself is packed earth and gravel that remains in good condition even when it’s rainy. A 0.25 mile trail connects the parking lot to a loop trail. The loop trail is 1.5 miles and is very popular with joggers who often do multiple laps. Like most of Delaware County’s parks, visitors are allowed to bring their leashed dogs along with them. “Mutt mitts” are provided at the entrance to facilitate clean-ups. I almost always encounter people walking their dogs there, and they have been doing a super job of keeping the trail clean.
The Earl H Barnhart “Buzzards Roost” Nature Preserve is a large (1330 acres) preserve run by Ross County Park district. We visited in the early afternoon on a hot sunny day in late May. The preserve is on a plateau that ends in a cliff overlooking the Paint Creek valley.
View of Paint Creek Valley from Buzzards Roost
We only sampled a small part of the offerings at Caesar Creek State Park, but we liked what we saw! Caesar Creek caters to a diverse variety of interests. Whether you want to hike, camp, swim, fish, mountain bike, ride on a bridle trail, go boating, or even hunt fossils, Caesar Creek has it all.
Boating on Caesar Creek Lake
The Emily Traphagen Preserve is part of Delaware County’s Preservation Park system. There are two short trails in the park:
- White Tail Loop (0.6 miles), and
- Meadow Trail (0.5 miles)
Both trails are loops. As you might expect, Meadow Trail is a mown path. However the White Tail Loop is an improved dirt trail that passes through the woods and by a marsh area. From White Tail Loop there is a side trail to what’s called the Pond Overlook. I spotted the red-shouldered hawk pictured below while visiting the overlook.
Red-shouldered Hawk near the Pond Overlook
Boyer Nature Preserve is wonderful, mini-wetland that sits in the middle of suburban Westerville, Ohio. The site’s main feature is its stream-fed pond. Although it may look like an ordinary pond, it’s actually very special due to the way that it was formed. During the last ice age, Westerville was beneath approximately one thousand feet of ice (305 m). As the climate warmed, a large fracture formed near the edge of the melting glacier. Once that fracture became large enough, a huge slab of ice separated from the main body of the glacier and landed with a great thud in what is now known as Boyer Nature Preserve. When huge chunks of ice break off a glacier like this, it’s called calving.
It turns out that the immense glacier over Ohio had eroded great quantities of land as it moved south from Canada, and this eroded material became frozen inside the glacier while it was still growing in size. However as the glacier melted and shrank, it released the sand and gravel that it had carried with it. Together this sand and gravel is called glacial sediment. So much glacial sediment was deposited in what’s now Westerville that it buried the calved-off chunk of ice under a thick layer of sediment, and this sediment kind of insulated the calved ice. When that calved chunk of ice eventually melted, the layer of glacial sediments that used to be on top of the ice sank lower and lower as the ice melted. This created a low area that filled with water from the melting ice. A body of water that’s formed in this way is called a glacial kettle.
The glacial kettle in Boyer Nature Preserve
Posted in Central Ohio, Geology, Nature
Tagged "Boyer Nature Preserve", "dog friendly", "Franklin County", "glacial kettle", "Ice Age", birds, Park Review, vocabulary, waterfowl
Knox Woods is a State Nature Preserve and Wolf Run Regional Park is a Knox County Park. Because there are connector trails between the two parks, together they make for a great hike. I’m going to recommend starting at Wolf Run, passing through Knox Woods, and then returning to Wolf Run via a different trail. I recorded my hike and uploaded it to Google Maps; it’s at the bottom of this post if you’re interested.
Bridge on one of the meadow trails at Wolf Run
Gallant Woods Preserve is part of Delaware County’s Preservation Parks system. In contrast to many of the parks that we have discussed which are tourist attractions in their own right, Gallant Woods is more of a local community resource. It consists of 231 acres of mixed habitat including old growth woods, a wetlands woods, a meadow that’s being converted into prairie, and glacial moraine. There’s now 1.8 miles of developed trail with more trails planned for the future. The existing trails are all loops, so it would be possible for joggers to up their mileage by doing multiple loops.
This is a picnic shelter. There’s a playground to the left of the shelter.
Cedar Falls is a scenic waterfall situated on the trail halfway between Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave. The falls was named by early settlers after the nearby cedar trees, of which there are none. The settlers misidentified the native hemlock trees as cedars.
Our daughter checking out the falls in August
Mohican State Park is one of my favorite places for hiking. The park contains a scenic gorge with the Clear Fork branch of the Mohican River flowing through it. The park is 1,120 acres with the 4,795 acre Mohican Memorial State Forest adjacent to it.
View from Pleasant Hill Dam;
Photographed in November
Posted in Nature, Northeastern Ohio
Tagged "Ashland County", "covered bridge", "dog friendly", "horseback riding", "Mohican State Park", "Richland County", fishing, hiking, Park Review, waterfall