Posted in Uncategorized

Thayer Ridge Park

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 Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Char-Mar Ridge Preserve

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 Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Shallenberger Nature Preserve

Twenty one thousand years ago two-thirds of Ohio was covered with a thick layer of ice from the Wisconsin glacier. In what would later be Fairfield County, two adjacent knobs made of Blackhand sandstone successfully resisted this glacial onslaught. Instead of engulfing these knobs, the ice sheet flowed around them on its southward journey that stopped just short of the Hocking Hills. Today they're known as Allen and Ruble knobs, and they're the main attraction of the 88 acre Shallenberger State Nature Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Blacklick Woods Metro Park

Blacklick Woods Metro Parks is located in Reynoldsburg, an eastern suburb of Columbus. This 634 acre park has hiking, jogging, and bicycle trails, an abundance of picnic tables and shelters, playgrounds, a golf course, and a nature center. Blacklick Woods was the first of the area Metro Parks, opening in 1948. It's extensive picnic / shelter areas are very popular and likely to be quite busy in good weather. A system of multi-use trails are often filled with strollers, joggers, and Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Rhododendron Cove Nature Preserve

Rhododendron Cove is a spectacular place, but not the easiest preserve to find. Until quite recently, you needed a permit from the state to visit. It's open to the public now, but it's still a fairly well-kept secret. It's as though there's a secret Rhododendron Cove Club whose first rule is: don't talk about the secret Rhododendron Cove Club. I will tell you how to get there. But first let me tell you why you might want to go. A mowed path leads from the trail with a line of trees Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Chestnut Ridge Metro Park

This Metro Park gets its name from a tree that has largely disappeared from North America: the American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata). The American chestnut tree dominated America's forests in the east and in the Ohio Valley until the start of the 20th century. A true giant, the tree grew to be 100 to 150 feet tall (30 to 45 meters) and up to 10 feet (3 m) in diameter. It crowned the ridgeline of the Appalachian mountains; when in bloom, its white blossoms made the mountains look as though they Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Cranberry Bog: The World’s Only Floating Island

Previously I've pointed out that Jackson Bog and Cedar Bog aren't really bogs. Now it's time to look at a nature preserve that really is the bog that it claims to be: Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve. However it's not like any other bog in the world since the entire bog is floating in the middle of a lake. Here's what happened. For thousands of years Cranberry Bog was an ordinary bog located in what came to be known as Big Swamp. In 1830 Ohio decided to build a dyke in Big Swamp Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk

Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk is part of the Hoover Nature Preserve operated by the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. It is one of the best birding sites in central Ohio. In the fall the city lowers the water level in Hoover Reservoir, so it's more hospitable to migrating shore birds. The area around the boardwalk is also used for fishing and launching kayaks, and I've seen crew teams training here. Beyond that, the site is just lovely. One Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve

It had been a good hike so far. During the past several miles, we had enjoyed seeing rocky outcroppings, mature trees, and carpets of ferns. As we climbed a steep hill toward the top of the ridgeline, the trail widened and grew brighter. Distant buzzards soared effortlessly in the bright, blue sky. We found ourselves standing on a rocky cliff. A few hundred feet below, forest stretched out to the horizon. It sounds a bit like the Hocking Hills, doesn't it? But it wasn't. It was Christmas Rocks. Christmas Read more ➜
Posted in Uncategorized

Emily Traphagen Preserve

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 Read more ➜