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Boardwalk in forested area with sunlight gleaming through trees
Brown's Lake Bog © Emily Speelman

Stories in Ohio

Autumn in Ohio

The seasonal changes offer opportunities to explore our preserves and discover something new.

Brown's Lake Bog Preserve
Brown's Lake Bog Preserve Fall color along the boardwalk. © Emily Speelman
Turkey Tail Fungus
Turkey Tail Fungus (Trametes versicolor) Common in all parts of Ohio, but always stunning to see the wide range of colors displayed. © Emily Speelman
Brown's Lake Bog Preserve Fall color along the boardwalk. © Emily Speelman
Turkey Tail Fungus (Trametes versicolor) Common in all parts of Ohio, but always stunning to see the wide range of colors displayed. © Emily Speelman

Brown's Lake Bog Preserve

The trail at Brown's Lake Bog Preserve leads through woods and fields and out to an overlook of the floating sphagnum moss mat and kettle hole lake.  The preserve was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1968 and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is honored to protect this unique habitat that has become an important part of the local community. In the fall, the lush ferns turn bronze and yellow and you'll see different things pop up out of the foliage such as the fluffy plumes of the Tawny cottongrass (Eriophorum virginicum).

Buzzardroost Rock
Buzzardroost Rock Located at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Ohio. © Eric Albrecht
Buzzard's Roost Rock
Buzzard's Roost Rock Buzzard's Roost Rock at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Ohio © Jim McCormac
Buzzardroost Rock Located at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Ohio. © Eric Albrecht
Buzzard's Roost Rock Buzzard's Roost Rock at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Ohio © Jim McCormac

Buzzardroost Rock Trail at Edge of Appalachia

The breathtaking overlook of the Christian and Emma Goetz Buzzardroost Rock Preserve trail in Southern Ohio changes from green into golds, reds and browns. Follow the 5 mile round-trip moderatly difficult trail to get to this view. Buzzards can often be seen gliding high in the sky and other wildlife can be seen along the trail. Try to catch a glimpse of an eastern fence lizard or some of the migratory birds that use this preserve as an important stopover for food and rest as they pass through the preserve on their way south for the winter.

J. Arthur Herrick Fen
J. Arthur Herrick Fen Enjoy a view from the boardwalk © Gabriel A. Peck
J. Arthur Herrick Fen Enjoy a view from the boardwalk © Gabriel A. Peck

J. Arthur Herrick Fen Nature Preserve

Looking over the fen from the boardwalk at J. Arthur Herrick Fen Preserve in Northeast Ohio, you can see many forms of flora and wildlife. Make sure to follow the boardwalk all the way into the woods and visit the Tamarak trees. The tamarak is the only native Ohio conifer that sheds its needles each year. Other species to keep an eye out for include native cranberry and poison sumac that turns a deep red color each fall. TNC has worked to preserve and improve this habitat along with partner Kent State University.

Kitty Todd Preserve
Kitty Todd Preserve Red fall color on a black oak tree. © Terry Seidel/TNC
Little Bluestem Grass
Little Bluestem Grass A field of little bluestem grass in autumn with golden brown fall color and light brown seedheads. © Angie Cole
Kitty Todd Preserve Red fall color on a black oak tree. © Terry Seidel/TNC
Little Bluestem Grass A field of little bluestem grass in autumn with golden brown fall color and light brown seedheads. © Angie Cole

Kitty Todd Nature Preserve

A sea of little bluestem grass is the backdrop for the deep red fall color of a black oak tree at Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in Northwest Ohio. This preserve is part of the larger Oak Openings region. Many state and local organizations as well as individual landowners are working toward protecting and restoring this valuable unique landscape. In the fall, enjoy the vast prairies of grasses and other native plants along with forests of oaks, blueberry and lupines.

Lucia S. Nash Preserve
Lucia S. Nash Preserve Snow Lake in autumn. © Ian Adams
Trail with fallen leaves and ferns.
Lucia S. Nash Preserve Snow Lake in autumn. © Ian Adams
Trail with fallen leaves and ferns.

Lucia S. Nash Preserve

Early morning sun plays off the fall colors of the trees and grasses at Lucia S. Nash Preserve in Northeast Ohio. Snow Lake and several surrounding acres of wetlands and forest were added to our Lucia S. Nash Preserve in 2017. This land is part of a larger wetland complex known as the Cuyahoga Wetlands that supplies drinking water to the City of Akron. In the fall, you'll see colors from the wetland grasses and native plants as well as the trees surrounding the lake. Migrating birds will likely fly over and through the property. It's a great place to watch for waterfowl such as herons, ducks and occasionally a sandhill crane. Other wildlife will be scurrying about and preparing for winter. This preserve opened to the public in spring 2020 and boasts the Barbara A. Lipscomb trail that winds through the forest and along the lake.

Scenes from the Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve. © Anthony Sasson/TNC
WOPA051011_D165
WOPA051011_D165 Autumn at Big Darby Creek Nature Preserve © Harold E. Malde
Scenes from the Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve. © Anthony Sasson/TNC
WOPA051011_D165 Autumn at Big Darby Creek Nature Preserve © Harold E. Malde

Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve

The Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve near central Ohio includes a mix of wetlands and streamside forests that create the perfect backdrop to enjoy autumn’s colors. The coldwater springs and streams that run through the preserve flow into Big Darby Creek, which is one of the most biologically diverse aquatic systems in the midwestern United States. The preserve is home to aquatic species like central mottled sculpin, southern redbelly dace and least brook lamprey (which are indicators of good stream health), terrestrial wildlife like wild turkey, eastern screech owls and great crested flycatchers and flora such as marsh marigold, skunk cabbage, trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit and cottonwood.

Morgan Swamp Preserve
Morgan Swamp Preserve Dancing leaves across the field © Carl E. Feather
Morgan Swamp Preserve OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA © Kent Mason
Morgan Swamp Preserve Dancing leaves across the field © Carl E. Feather
Morgan Swamp Preserve OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA © Kent Mason

Morgan Swamp Preserve

Golden colors mix with oranges, reds and greens across the prairie at Morgan Swamp Preserve in Northeast Ohio. This preserve sits along the Grand River and offers a little bit of everything including wetlands, forest, river, prairie and pond. Enjoy the fall colors of the trees and plants as you float on the river or hike the trails. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of beaver or otter on your visit. Visitors may also hear sounds of school children playing as they explore our Dr. James K. Bissell Nature Center and the preserve on a field trip with their classmates.

Ohio River
Ohio River A view down the Ohio River in Autumn © Kent Mason
© Copyrighted by Kent Mason
Ohio River A view down the Ohio River in Autumn © Kent Mason
© Copyrighted by Kent Mason

The Ohio River

The Ohio River has been an important part of human civilization for hundreds of years. Transportation of goods and people as well as supplying fresh drinking water and food are just some of the benefits the river has allowed. In the fall, the river may grow a little quieter, but no less inpiring and needed. Hills can be seen on both shores along much of the river and their changing colors reflecting off the water along with blue skies is a sight to behold.

Happy Hiking

We hope you'll join us this autumn season in hiking the trails at one of our open preserves. Be sure to share photos and findings with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We can't wait to see what you discover!

Help Us Protect Ohio's Lands and Waters.