Ohio Top Ten Adventures

From hiking to fishing to birding, The Nature Conservancy’s network of preserves offers something for everyone, amid some of the state’s finest lands and waters.

The following is a sampling of some of our favorites.

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#1 Explore the Grand River Conservation Campus © Kent Mason

There is so much to do at the Grand River Conservation Campus.  Discover the new Dr. James K. Bissell Nature Center that opened in October 2017.  Play on the playground that overlooks the campus.  Go fishing in Bliss Pond or the Wild and Scenic Grand River that is just steps away from the nature center.  Put in your kayak or canoe to explore the river while on the water or follow the trails on foot that lead by the river and into our Morgan Swamp Preserve.  

#2 Follow the boardwalk at Herrick Fen Nature Preserve © Terry Seidel

The easy, one-mile, round-trip trail with boardwalk at Herrick Fen Nature Preserve offers an outstanding opportunity to views seeps and fen plants. See if you can identify rare plants like the bayberry or the round-leaved sundew.

Woman photographing butterflies at Kitty Todd Preserve
#3 Search for rare species at Kitty Todd Nature Preserve © Angie Cole

Kitty Todd Nature Preserve offers one of the highest densities of rare species in Ohio. Bring your field guide with you on the easy loop trail and keep your eyes open for wild lupine, which is the larval host plant for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly.

#4 Take in the view of Buzzardroost Rock © Randall Schieber

One of the best overlooks in Ohio exists at Buzzardroost Rock at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve. Hike the 4.5-mile, round-trip trail and explore unique plant communities and diverse geologic history on your way to the overlook.

Kayaking through the water lotus at Great Egret Marsh Preserve.
#5 Go paddling at Great Egret Marsh Nature Preserve © Eric Albrecht

Great Egret Marsh Nature Preserve offers a unique opportunity to get up close with a Lake Erie coastal marshland. Drop in a canoe or kayak or walk the trail for views of water lotus or great egrets congregating in the marsh’s shallow water.

#6 Hike the wetlands at Morgan Swamp Nature Preserve © Ian Adams

You’ll be exploring one of the state’s largest privately protected wetlands when you walk the trail system at Morgan Swamp Nature Preserve. You'll hike through a peaceful hemlock forest, a lively prairie and at times you'll find vernal pools.  Look for evidence of beaver or river otter, or look up to spot cerulean warblers.

#7 Go Birding at Kitty Todd Nature Preserve © Angie Cole

The 1,000-acre Kitty Todd Nature Preserve is home to one of the finest remaining examples of Northwest Ohio’s Oak Openings Region, a bird-watcher’s paradise. A stop along the Lake Erie Birding Trail, the preserve is home to the federally endangered lark sparrow.

A sunny day on the Lynx Prairie Trail
#8 Experience the beginnings of The Nature Conservancy at Lynx Prairie © Randall Schieber

The Edge of Appalachia Preserve is one of the most biologically diverse collections of natural systems in the Midwest. Bring a field guide as you hike part or all of the 9.5 miles of trails in search of some of the 100 rare species that can be found throughout the preserve. Start with the E. Lucy Braun Lynx Prairie Trail and you'll be walking in the footsteps of E. Lucy Braun, renowned botanist.  Lynx Prairie was one of her favorite places to visit and study. Lynx Prairie was The Nature Conservancy's very first preserve in Ohio.

Ferns cover the forest floor of Brown's Lake Bog along the board walk as the sun shines through the trees.
#9 Discover Brown's Lake Bog Nature Preserve © Emily Speelman

Visitors should bring cameras and binoculars to Brown’s Lake Bog Nature Preserve to help spot and document some of the preserve’s 20 rare species. Enter the enchanted forest and follow the trail to see a floating sphagnum moss mat from the boardwalk, or try to spot the carnivorous pitcher plant.

Interpretive signage at the Big Darby Creek Headwaters Preserve
#10 Learn about stream restoration at Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve © Eric Albrecht

Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve offers the chance to see a recently restored section of Big Darby Creek, one of the most biologically diverse streams in the Midwest. Read the interpretive signs as you walk the trail system to discover which plants and animals you might find nearby.