Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southwestern Ohio

Kiser Lake Wetlands State Nature Preserve

Kiser Lake Wetlands is a 51 acre state nature preserve in Champaign County. It is located in a corner of Kiser Lake State Park. We visited this preserve in mid-May. The preserve has a 0.6 mile boardwalk / trail system that interconnects with the 0.7 mile Red Oak trail in the park making a 1.3 mile loop.

Bob on the boardwalk

The trailhead is near the southeast end of the lake on Kiser Lake Rd (CR-19), not far from the main campground. A kiosk marks the trailhead. Nearby is a sign for the park’s Red Oak trail, which is where you’ll exit upon completing the loop.

You’ll complete the loop by exiting here.
In front of the trailhead there is this pleasant picnic area.

Along the way, you’ll pass through marsh, walk along a pleasant creek that feeds into the lake, traverse two prairie fens, and end up back in the park walking through woods with a variety of tall trees (including tulip trees). All of the wetland areas feature boardwalks, but elsewhere the trail are dirt.

Dirt trail next to stream
Rippling water of the stream
Boardwalks help you to cross the wetter areas.
What wetland would be complete without skunk cabbage?
A large marsh full of cattails lies to the right. Your cross through this marsh toward the treeline in the distance.
At this point we reached the tree line, and we are looking back on the boardwalk.

Now we are joining up with the Red Oak Trail that’s part of Kiser Lake State Park. This will let us complete the loop and return to where we parked.

A view beside Red Oak Trail. The ground was covered with Mayapple plants.
Looking up at Tulip Tree leaves

Since we were there mid-May, there were a number of interesting plants and wildflowers.

Wild Columbine
A patch of wild ginger
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) in White
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) in Lavendar
The fluffy-looking greenery is a primitive, spore-producing plant related to ferns. It’s called Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense).
The fertilized flowers of Red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Since we visited on a cool, sunny day in spring, insects weren’t a problem yet. However if you visit the wetlands in the summer, you might want to consider using DEET. The wetland is located in Mosquito Creek Valley.

Additional information


You can use the Google Map below to get directions from your point of origin to the Kiser Lake Wetlands.

View Larger Map

More on Champaign County

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

2 thoughts on “Kiser Lake Wetlands State Nature Preserve

  1. very nice picture, dames rocket is that related to the phlox? I just found out when researching magnolias that tulip tree is actually a magnolia, who knew? that place looks really inviting, of course to far away, driving a truck has disadvantages in like sucking gas so we have to conserve but otherwise I wouldn’t mind visiting alot of the parks in ohio.

  2. It takes a lot of dedicated people to keep these trails groomed and the board walks built and signs erected to educate and keep people from destroying the natural habitat. Thanks to those who are involved in this work and to you for photographing the beauty

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