Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve near Yellow Springs is a great hike any time of the year, but in the spring it is one of the prime locations to enjoy an abundance of Ohio’s wildflowers. Take advantage of the opportunity to shoot the unique wildflowers in the Gorge that are only present for a few weeks each year.
The spring wildflower season in Ohio is a small one. Buds emerge in southern Ohio first, usually beginning in early April and northern Ohio in late April/early May. The season ends when leaves are fully out on the trees, shading the delicate wildflowers from sunlight that gives them their burst of candy colors.
State nature preserves, like Cilfton Gorge, are where you have the best opportunity to enjoy a variety of wildflowers, some of them rare. The snow trillium and the lakeside daisy are two of the rarest finds in Ohio.
The snow trillium is related to the white trillium, and it only grows in central and west-central Ohio. The extremely rare lakeside daisy only grows on bare limestone, which is found in the northern part of the state near Lakeside, Ohio. The lakeside daisy, which resembles a dandelion, grows in specific places like the Marblehead peninsula and Kellys Island where there are abandoned limestone quarries. Your best chance to see them in bloom is around Mother’s Day.
“The reason we have wildflowers in state nature preserves is because those are areas that have been left alone for a long time. Wildflowers are sensitive flowers,” said Thomas Arbour with the Ohio Division of Natural Resources.
ODNR releases a wildflower report with weekly updates on the wildflowers in bloom in the State Parks and State Nature Preserves. It is a great way to plan your weekend hikes around the locations of peak blooms, which will change regularly during the season. To read the current report, click here.
Here are some of the best locations around Ohio to see the spring wildflowers:
- Southern Ohio: Clifton Gorge and Whipple Preserve
- Central Ohio: Gahanna Woods and Innis Woods Metro Gardens
- Northern Ohio: Goll Woods and Eagle Creek Nature Preserve
The search for Ohio’s wildflowers is a way to give purpose to your hikes and add some fun to the time you share with others. With the wildflowers peaking in April, you can hit a new location every week and enjoy different species and scenery every time.
For more outdoor adventure, Find It Here at Ohio.org.