Stories in Ohio

Autumn in Ohio

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

Lush foliage of ferns and grasses with bronze-tinged fall foliage surrounds a wooden boardwalk.
Brown's Lake Bog Preserve Fall color along the boardwalk. © Emily Speelman

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 Conservancy 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).

A bird's eye view of bronze, red, orange and yellow fall foliage covering the forested hillsides with a green valley below.
Buzzardroost Rock Edge of Appalachia Preserve System © Eric Albrecht

The breathtaking overlook of the Christian and Emma Goetz Buzzardroost Rock Preserve trail in Southern Ohio changes from green into golds and 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.

Overlooking the fen filled with grasses and pink, white and purple blooming wildflowers; tall evergreen trees line the edges
J. Arthur Herrick Fen Enjoy a view from the boardwalk © Gabriel A. Peck

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 gets a deep red fall color. The Conservancy has worked to preserve and improve this habitat along with partner Kent State University.

Deep orange-red oak leaves line the branches of a young tree standing in a field of golden-brown grasses.
Kitty Todd Preserve Red fall color on a black oak tree. © Terry Seidel/TNC

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.

Overlooking a calm lake with marsh grasses in the foreground and surrounded by trees beginning to show muted fall colors.
Lucia S. Nash Preserve Snow Lake in autumn. © Ian Adams

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.

Animated leaves blowing in the breeze above a wildflower-filled field lined by a stand of trees, colored with fall foliage.
Morgan Swamp Preserve Dancing leaves across the field © Carl E. Feather

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 - wetlands, forest, river, prairie, pond.  Enjoy the fall colors of the trees and plants as you float on the river or hike the trails.  You may see beaver or otter on your visit.  You also may hear the sounds of school kids as they explore our Dr. James K. Bissell Nature Center and the preserve on a field trip with their classmates.

Forests showing fall color, line the banks of the Ohio River, and reflect on the calm water.
Ohio River A view down the Ohio River in Autumn © Kent Mason

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.

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