For those who enjoy hiking by cliffs, outcroppings and caves, Saltpetre Cave State Nature Preserve is a tiny preserve in Hocking County with an abundance of such features. Although it is only 14 acres in size, it contains four significant recess caves. Two of the caves have 8-foot tall ceilings, mouths that are more than 100 feet wide, and chambers which extend back more than 120 feet into the bedrock. Another cave actually consists of three, vertically stacked recess caves. And a final cave has Read more ➜
Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve is one of the more interesting geological sites in Ohio. There are six fault lines in Adams County. Surprisingly, one of these fault lines is visible within the preserve. In addition Adams County is one of the few places in Ohio where you can observe rock outcroppings made of dolomite (sometimes called dolostone). Dolomite and limestone are both said to be calcareous due to their high calcium content, and both are alkaline. They even resemble each other visually. Read more ➜
Howard Collier is a 115-acre state nature preserve located in Seneca County in northwestern Ohio. The preserve is named after a former state budget director who was instrumental in allocating funds for the acquisition of park land. The Collier preserve features a loop trail with an impressive staircase/boardwalk that leads down into the flood plain. The Sandusky River can be viewed from a couple of short side trails off the loop. There is also one more extensive side trail that leads to a township Read more ➜
Goll Woods State Nature Preserve is a 321-acre preserve in Fulton County with 5.25 miles of trail. The trail system approaches the Tiffin River in two places, and it also passes by the Goll Cemetery and the preserve office for the Northwest Preserve District. One hundrd acres of the preserve are old growth forest (sometimes referred to as "virgin woods"). Some of the trees in this region are up to 400 years old and have reached a diameter of 4 feet. Among the largest trees are bur oak, white oak, Read more ➜
Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve occupies 646 acres and contains about four miles of trail; it was Ohio's first state nature preserve. It is located in Lake County at Mentor, Ohio which is about forty miles east of Cleveland. The preserve is just southwest of Headlands Beach State Park.
If you are just interested in exploring the preserve as a hiker or bird watcher, feel free to skip to the section on Getting Oriented.
Mentor Marsh becomes a brackish habitat
Salt mining Read more ➜
The full name of this preserve is the Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. The research center studies the local "estuary," a word that usually refers to the region where fresh-water in a river mixes with the salt-water of an ocean. However in this case it is referring to a region where the fresh-water of a creek mixes with the fresh-water of Lake Erie.
The preserve is 572 acres in size, and it features hiking trails, an observation deck, and a handicap-accessible Read more ➜
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 ➜
We recently visited Robinson Falls (aka "Corkscrew Falls") at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve. The waterfall is located off-trail at the preserve, so we obtained a free permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to visit the falls. Along with the permit, they sent us a map showing the falls, where to park, directions, and preserve rules.
The ODNR-provided map directed us to a small pull-off from the road that holds a couple of cars. We located the trail-head across the Read more ➜
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 ➜
This past Friday we visited Raven Rock State Nature Preserve. It was our first visit to a permit-only preserve. We'd planned a visit to Shawnee Lodge and had applied for a permit more than two weeks before our trip.
It was a cool, overcast afternoon when we parked near the trailhead for Raven Rock. There were two parking spots, one of which was already occupied. The trail is 1.25 miles (one way) and ends at a cliff 550 ft above the start with a stunning view of the Ohio River and the hills of Read more ➜