December 21st, 2014
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9 Listings for Designated Nature Preserves

Adams Lake State ParkAdams Lake State Park

47-acre lake with boat ramp. Electric motors only.


The adjoining Adams Lake State Nature Preserve has two short loop trails for approximately 1/2- mile total hiking. Both are considered easy hikes, The Prairie Dock Trail is yet another example of small prairie openings common in Adams County. The Post Oak Trail features a short hike through an oak-hickory forest.




14633 State Route 41
West Union, Ohio 45693
Directions/Map

740-858-6652

Chaparral Prairie State Nature PreserveChaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve

A blackjack-post oak prairie opening with outstanding summer prairie wildflowers and butterflies. This is an outstanding cedar barren prairie with post and blackjack oak. It supports one of the most extensive populations of rattlesnake-master in the state. Prairie dock and spiked blazing-star are also unusually abundant at this site. Eleven state-listed species have been recorded from the preserve including spider milkweed, prairie false indigo, pink milkwort and Carolina buckthorn. Little bluestem is the dominant prairie grass. Several rare lepidoptera, such as Edward's hairstreak butterfly, have been reported from this preserve.


The 3/4-mile Hawk Hill Loop Trail that winds through the prairie features a brilliant display of late summer wildflowers. Considered an easy hike, the prairie is best viewed during July and August. The fire break trail around the perimeter of the preserve adds another mile of hiking.




209 Hawk Hill Road
West Union , Ohio 45693
Directions/Map

Website for Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve

Davis Memorial State Nature PreserveDavis Memorial State Nature Preserve

This 88-acre nature preserve, set in an area of exceptional scenic beauty, is of interest primarily to geologists and botanists. The preserve contains an impressive geologic fault, dolomite cliffs, a cave, and a diverse flora. There are two richly forested hiking trails. Diverse site with rare species and excellent spring wildflowers. Davis Memorial Preserve is an outstanding geological as well as botanical natural area. There is a cave, Cedar Fork Cave, and occasional sinkholes in the preserve as well as excellent Silurian dolomite cliffs. Both Greenfield dolomite and Peebles dolomite are exposed. Ohio black shale occurs on the tops of the knobs. An impressive fault, causing vertical displacement of 30 feet, exposes adjacent cliffs of Greenfield and Peebles dolomite. A classic sinkhole occurs along the Buckeye Trail at the south end of the preserve. The dolomite cliffs provide habitat for white cedars and sullivantia. American aloe, dwarf hawthorn, hairy wing-stem, side-oats gramma grass and purple coneflower are found in the prairie openings. Other significant species present include tall larkspur, limestone Adder's-tongue fern, narrow-leaved bluecurls and Walter's violet.


This preserve contains two loop trails approximately one-half mile each, connecting with the Buckeye Trail for a total of two miles of hiking. Good year round hiking, the trails vary from easy to moderate. Hikers will see a display of spring wildflowers, geological formations, and fall colors.




2715 Davis Memorial Rd
Peebles , Ohio 45660
Directions/Map

Website for Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve

Edge of Appalachia Preserve System Edge of Appalachia Preserve System

Amid rocky slopes, rolling meadows and deep moist ravines, relict plant communities have persisted for thousands of years. The Ohio chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Museum of Natural History & Science at Cincinnati Museum Center own and manage a series of 10 nearly contiguous preserves, collectively called The Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve System, the largest privately owned protected natural area in Ohio. The Edge of Appalachia provides critical habitat for some 100 rare species of plants and animals. Four areas in the preserve, Lynx Prairie, Buzzardroost Rock, Red Rock and the Wilderness, are registered National Natural Landmarks, testimony to their national significance. The eminent ecologist E. Lucy Braun first called attention to the biodiversity of 'The Edge' in the 1920s. Her students, Richard and Lucile Durrell, were early leaders in the effort to preserve this outstanding natural area.

A private preserve of 14,000 acres of forest, prairies, waterfalls, gorges, and mountains, containing over 100 rare species of plants and animals. Administered jointly by the Nature Conservancy and Cincinnati Museum Center, the preserve contains and protects such local landmarks as Buzzardroost, Cedar Falls, Red Rock, The Swirl Hole, and Lynx Prairie.


  • The Edge of Appalachia Preserve has three hiking trails open to the public. All trails are marked and well maintained. Click here for trail maps.

  • Lynx Prairie Trail is 1.5 mile round loop trail. The Lynx Prairie is a National Natural Landmark and it best viewed in late summer when the prairie is blooming. It’s an easy hike that features over 200 species of plants and prairie flowers.

  • Wilderness Trail is 2.5 mile loop trail. A moderate hike through the 1,200 acre preserve will reveal an unbroken forest with limestone cliffs and over 50 rare plants and flowers. A good spring and fall hike.

  • Buzzardroost Rock Trail is 1.5 miles one way to Buzzardroost Rock. Buzzardroost is perhaps the most popular hike in Adams County and for good reason. A strenuous hike of three miles to the “Roost” and back rewards hikers with a spectacular view of Brush CreekValley at the trails end. Spring wildflowers, fall colors, and during winter, the surrounding landscape lays bare all its unique geological features for everyone to see include the nearby Tiffin cliffs. Excellent hiking year round.



Waggoner Riffle Rd
West Union , Ohio 45693
Directions/Map

937-544-2880
Website for Edge of Appalachia Preserve System

Highland Nature Sanctuary/The Arc of Appalachia PreserveHighland Nature Sanctuary/The Arc of Appalachia Preserve

The Arc's forest preservation work lies in the Arc of Appalachia, a region located in southern Ohio on the leading edge of the Cumberland Plateau which boasts unusually rich natural diversity and an uncommonly dense native forest cover. The Arc's first preserve region - The Highlands Nature Sanctuary -- was founded in 1995 - in the botanically and geologically rich cave region of the Rocky Fork Gorge. Among its educational services, the Highlands manages the Arc's visitor gateway -- The Appalachian Forest Museum -- which is open to the public from spring through autumn during selected hours. This beautiful preserve region, filled with springs, caves, rare plants and stunning rock cliffs, is already 2,000 acres in size and growing nearly every year.


7629 Cave Rd.
Bainbridge, Ohio 45612
Directions/Map

937-365-0101
E-mail: director@highlandssanctuary.org
Website for Highland Nature Sanctuary/The Arc of Appalachia Preserve

Johnson RidgeJohnson Ridge

208 acres of wilderness with summer prairie wildflowers. The preserve sets alongside an Amish community.


Johnson Ridge State Nature Preserve
West Union , Ohio 45693
Directions/Map


Ohio River Island National Wildlife Refuge Ohio River Island National Wildlife Refuge

The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge conserves the 'wild Ohio' within one of our nation's busiest inland waterways. Established in 1990, the refuge extends along 362 miles of the upper Ohio River with 22 scattered islands and three mainland properties. The refuge works to protect wildlife and habitats native to the Ohio River and its floodplain. Migratory birds and endangered freshwater mussels are among the important wildlife emphasized on the refuge. The two Manchester Islands are apart of this refuge.

- Across from
Manchester, Ohio 45144
Directions/Map


Robert A. Whipple State Nature PreserveRobert A. Whipple State Nature Preserve

270 acres filled with Dolomite cliffs, slump blocks, sinkholes and good spring wildflowers. Pull off parking and a sign are present. The preserve has a moderate 1-3/4 mile hike among the Ohio River hills.  During late fall, after the leaves are gone, hikers can view the Ohio River valley.




1194 State Rte 247 - The east side of St Rt 247, approximately 1 mile north of Rt 52
Manchester, Ohio 45144
Directions/Map

Website for Robert A. Whipple State Nature Preserve

Shoemaker State Nature PreserveShoemaker State Nature Preserve

Adams County's newest preserve featuring natural arches, dolomite cliffs and slump blocks. This preserve protects a tributary of the Scioto Brush Creek and includes a 1.5mile hiking trail that concludes with a loop. Hikers will see geological formations, spring wildflowers, and a large natural arch. The trail follows Cedar Fork a tributary of Scioto Brush Creek and is considered a moderate hike.




165 Pine Gap Rd
Peebles, Ohio 45660
Directions/Map