Samson/Obrist Woods is one-of-a-kind, in the sense that it is the only preserve in the Arc’s system created entirely by donation from benevolent landowners. Nestled just north of the ancient Teays River Valley, in an area comprised of ridges and ravines, the preserve projects a mature forest composed of oaks, maples, dogwoods, and sassafras trees. Click here for more preserve information

Trail Offerings & Details:  Samson/Obriest consists of one trail, a 1.3 mile loop. The Cinnamon Fern Trail offers a variety of features, from rich and abundant ferns and acidic soil loving plants, a hemlock grove, towering oak trees, and a large natural recessed sandstone cave. The trail descends toward the recess cave, with a small 20 foot waterfall cascading over its edge, then follows along the rich banks of the McConnell Creek, where large verdant cinnamon ferns grow in profusion.  As the seasons shift into fall, the ferns change into a brilliant yellow, along with the vibrant colors of fall forest foliage. Before hiking, click here for hours and directions.

Be sure to review hiking regulations before visiting. Click here to view. You are entering a highly protected nature preserve. Regulations include staying on the trail at all times, and not collecting nor disturbing any plant including wildflowers, nor animals and minerals. Please help us keep the preserve a true Sanctuary for the plants and animals, and future visitors.

Important Safety Warning: Trails are narrow and unlevel. Although all Arc Preserves have ticks, Samson/Obrist Woods Preserve is one that has unusually high tick populations spring through fall, peaking in June and July. Even short off-trail excursions, which are prohibited by our regulations, in any case, can result in picking up hundreds of ticks, both large and small, as well hundreds of chiggers, which are extremely small but are still visible, looking like VERY tiny dark freckles the size of a sentence period. Obviously, this can lead to not only a potentially miserable experience for hikers, but it could also be dangerous since the smaller ticks sometimes carry disease and in any case, their bites take longer to fully heal.

Although dogs are permitted on leash all year round, we discourage their entry during the growing season because of their tendency to wander off trail where they can pick up numbers of ticks and chiggers that could be hazardous to their health.

If you are hiking during the growing season, we encourage you to stay strictly on the trail, apply some kind of deterrent (we like using a rose-geranium essential oil diluted with alcohol spray), and absolutely perform a careful tick and chigger check after you come off the trail, giving special attention to skin beneath socks and waistbands, folds in your body, and wherever fabric lies close to your skin. A trusted friend’s preening is a great benefit! We don’t know why some lands have more ticks than others. It’s a mystery we are still trying to figure out!