COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering several spring hikes in April as Ohio’s spring flowers showcase their colors. Enjoy spending time outdoors and getting fit naturally during 2016 at Ohio’s 74 state parks and 136 state nature preserves. To learn more about upcoming organized hikes, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/calendar or naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/calendar.
The next Wildflower Hike at Hueston Woods State Park will be on Saturday, April 16. Meet at the nature center at 2 p.m. for a relaxing hike through the woods to look for spring wildflowers. Hikers are asked to wear appropriate footwear. After meeting at the nature center, the hikers will drive their own vehicles to the trailhead.
Other hikes across the state include:
• Wildlife Detectives Hike at Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve – Focus on finding wildlife in and around the marsh on this early spring hike. The event begins Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, call 440-257-0777.
• Wildflowers of Clifton Gorge at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve – The dolomite cliffs of this site support a wide diversity of plant life and the spring wildflowers are one of the gorge’s best features. See what’s blooming along the gorge trail on Sunday, April 10, starting at 3 p.m. Interested individuals can meet at the nature center located at 2381 State Route 343 in Yellow Springs.
• Miller Nature Sanctuary Hike at Shawnee State Park – Hikers will meet in the Shawnee State Park Lodge lobby at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, before enjoying a moderate 3-mile hike through the Rocky Fork Gorge to enjoy beautiful wildflowers, dolomite cliffs, a natural arch and the raging Rocky Fork. It is important for hikers to pack a lunch, dress in layers and wear sturdy hiking boots.
• Spring Woodcock Walk at Maumee Bay State Park – Witness the spectacular courtship flight of the American woodcock, also nicknamed the “Timberdoodle.” The walk will be held on Saturday, April 16, and Saturday, April 30. Participants can meet at the campground office where the walk will begin at 7:45 p.m.
• Amphibians Adventures Hike at Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve – Hike vernal pools and learn about amphibians and other animal life in wooded wetlands. Wear footwear and clothing that can get muddy. Meet on Sunday, April 17, at the nature center at 2 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, call 440-257-0777.
• Garlic Mustard Pull and Wildflower Hike at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve – The newly acquired Robinson Tract at Boch Hollow contains a beautiful display of spring wildflowers as well as an extensive population of invasive garlic mustard. Help remove the non-native garlic mustard and then enjoy a wildflower hike up to the waterfall. Bring gloves, water, snacks and sturdy footwear. This event will take place on Sunday, April 17, from 2-6 p.m., and people should meet at the Boch Hollow office at 7211 Bremen Road, Logan. People should RVSP by contacting Levi Miller at 740-380-8918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Wildflowers of Gross Woods at Gross Memorial Woods State Nature Preserve – Discover spring jewels in one of Shelby County’s least disturbed mature forests on Sunday, April 17, at 2 p.m. This hour-long hike will begin at the parking lot located at 19575 Botkins Road, Jackson Center.
• Udder Nonsense 5K Walk/Waddle/Run at Malabar Farm State Park – Get “moo-ving” with this family friendly cow-themed event. A $20 entrance fee includes an “Udder Nonsense” t-shirt for those who pre-register. Food will be available at the event, which begins on Saturday, April 23, at 9 a.m.
• Spring Wildflower Hike at Shallenberger State Nature Preserve – Situated on the glacial edge of impact against Blackhand Sandstone, Shallenberger hosts a significant native wildflower display. Naturalists will highlight the natural history of plants and human interactions. People should wear sturdy hiking shoes. Children are welcome, but no pets are allowed. Participants can meet on Saturday, April 23, at 9 a.m. at the parking lot located at 2470 Beck’s Knob Road, Lancaster.
• Wildflowers and Waterfalls Hike at Hocking Hills State Park – Observe nature’s carpet of wildflowers and sparkling waterfalls at beautiful Hocking Hills. The hike begins on Saturday, April 23, at the parking lot at Ash Cave at 10 a.m.
• Wildflower Hike at Lake Hope State Park – Hikers should meet at the Lake Hope Nature Center before driving their own vehicles to the start of the hike. During the hike, there will be a variety of wildflower hotspots to see throughout the park. The event will be held on Saturday, April 23, at 11 a.m.
• Understory Glory Hike at Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve – Hikers should meet at the nature center to discover springtime wildflowers and animals in the upland woods at the edge of the marsh. The event begins on Sunday, April 24, at 2 p.m., and people should dress for the weather conditions. For more information or to RSVP, call 440-257-0777.
• Night Hike at Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve– Interested in looking for frogs and animals of the night? Bring a flashlight and the kids for the night hike on Saturday, April 23, from 7-9 p.m.
• Wildflower Hike at Malabar Farm State Park – Delve into Malabar’s wildflower world with a guided hike through the area, sure to be blooming with a lot of wildflowers. Pre-registration is preferred. The hike will be held on Sunday, April 24, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Call 419-892-2784 to pre-register and for more information.
For more information on spring wildflowers in Ohio, check out the Ohio Wildflower Bloom Report at naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/wildflowers. ODNR and TourismOhio encourage people to take spring wildflower photos and upload them to social media using the hashtag, #OhioWildflowers. Follow @ohiodnr and @DiscoverOhio on Twitter, @ohiodnr on Instagram and Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Discover Ohio on Facebook to see more spring wildflower photos.