Wildflower Pilgrimage Guided Field Trips
– click on each photo for more info
The main highlight of the Pilgrimage are the two day-long field trips to wildflower destinations, led by some of Ohio’s most knowledgeable naturalists and botanists. Groups are limited in size to 16 or less, and the hikes begin right after breakfast and end in mid-afternoon. If you wish to take shorter hikes, choose hikes that shift locations mid-day, when you would have the option of departing early.
Links to directions will be emailed to you a few weeks in advance of the Pilgrimage.
To Register: Your first step is to pick your top four field trip choices. Then click on the registration button on the top menu. We will do our best to assign you to your top choices and will confirm by email.
Lodging: Registrants need to make their own lodging arrangements. Click on the Lodging menu above to see your options.
Moderate – 3 – 4 mi. Explore the swamp forest and vernal pool restoration project at Ridgeview Farm. Afternoon hike in the wildflower-rich tributary of Franklin Branch of the Rocky Fork Creek, featuring beautiful showcases of spring wildflowers and view the Sanctuary’s largest waterfalls.
Moderate – 2 mi. Explore the Easement’s 40-acre wetlands with photographer Doug Wechsler, our keynote speaker, as we look for signs of salamanders and frogs. Drausin Wulsin, Owner of Grassroots Graziers & Red Stone Farm, producer of organic grass-fed meats, will showcase ways he has transformed this working farm into a working nature preserve. Ray Stewart with the Ohio Wetlands Association, a non-profit promoting the conservation and expansion of vernal pools in Ohio. This hike is moderate only because we are sometimes hiking off trail. Otherwise relatively easy.
Difficult – 3 to 3.5 mi. Featuring the Arc’s newest land campaign project- Rock Run! The Arc owned, 400-acre preserve plays an important role in protecting habitat for an astonishing 28 species of ferns, 14 species of herps, bobcats, rare salamanders, and maybe even some of Ohio’s last colonies of Allegheny wood rats. Our current campaign seeks to add 192 acres to the preserve, and bring us even closer to our goal of making Rock Run one of the best protected watersheds in all of Ohio!
Moderate/Difficult – 3 – 4mi. This 600-acre hill country property is a current land campaign project. We will be hiking abandoned county roads and walking some of the distance off trail walking to navigate the heavily dissected hill country. Over 8 miles of creeks and streams drain the property – each one cutting a steep ravine whose sides are carpeted with wildflowers. Common flowers abound and the rock formations at Ohio Hanging Rock are spectacular!!
Easy but SHOWY – 1 mile total Harmony Trail on the floodplain Paint Creek may be the densest and the most diverse wildflower display in Highland County for its size. A flat easily accessible trail takes you through carpets of flowers that touch your ankles as you go by. Black Gum Woods Trail winds through towering old growth trees with a classic Appalachian forest wildflowers.
Moderate – 1-2 miles per day Enjoy the wildflowers while learning new techniques and perspectives from an award-winning professional photographer, Tom Croce. Additional $50/person. On one of the field trips you’ll explore the Barrett’s Rim trail- the Jewel of the Rocky Fork Gorge!
Moderate – 2.5 Miles The Barrett’s Rim Trail in the Rocky Fork Gorge is spectacular in April – truly a heady experience. The dolomite rock walls which line the Rocky Fork Creek like a sentinel, and fallen boulders along the trail support an incredulous density of wildflowers, presenting floral displays not only at one’s feet but also above one’s head.
Moderate – 3.5 mi. The Bluffs are the least remnant of the spectacular floral displays on the Silurian limestones facing the Ohio River. The density of wildflowers covering the steep hillside from river to ridgetop and carpeting the ravine in nearby Whipple State Nature Preserve is incomprehensibly mind blowing – well worth the drive. A side trip down Gilkison Hollow will take us to acres of blooming Blue Eyed Mary’s.
Moderate/Easy – 2.5 mi. Visit up to three notable natural areas in the Scioto Brush Creek watershed, Davis Memorial, Chalet Nivale, and Shoemaker, each one notable for its large numbers of state-listed botanical species and showy wildflowers. These Adams County forests display a prairie influence in their diverse flora..
Difficult – 4.5 mi. 1300 acre forest preserve boasts stunning floral showcases bordering Baker Fork. The rock formations are stunning and include a rock arch. Fort Hill is the oldest finest and largest contiguous forest in Ohio. A 2000 year old American Indian earthwork rims the ridgetop, bordering an ancient ceremonial site..
Moderate – 3.0 mi. The privately-protected 1/2 mile long Lewis Family gorge has dazzling flowers and stunning rock formations. Like a miniature Rocky Fork Gorge, this side tributary of Paint Creek has vertical rock walls of columbines, anemones and miterworts; and drifts of trillium and twinleaf on its steep loamy soils.
Moderate/Easy – 2.25 mi. This state nature preserve on the Rocky Fork Creek has many clear running streams, beautiful rock formations and dense floral showcases. This is Rocky Fork Gorge at its best, with well designed creek crossings. Highlight of the trip is a natural stone archway.
Moderate – 3 mi. Nature Conservancy’s 1,200-acre preserve boasts extremely high diversity of plants, many interesting prairie species, and high diversity of floral species.Strait Creek lies just south of Fort Hill in the botanically diverse Serpent Mound cryptoexplosion crater region where a meteor struck millions of years ago.