Field Trip Gladys Riley Golden Star Lily Preserve
General Hike Location: Otway in Scioto County
Driving Distance from the Appalachian Forest Museum: Approximately 1hr, 42.5 Miles
Time & Meeting Location: For the hike, meet at 10:15 am at the Gladys Riley Parking Lot.
Length: Approximately 2.4 – 3.0 miles round trip, if we walk both of Gladys Riley’s trails.
Bring: We will stop for lunch along the trail, so be sure to bring a day pack to carry your lunch, a filled water bottle, and a piece of plastic to sit on since the ground will likely be wet. There are no restrooms at the preserves, please be prepared to relieve yourself in the woods.
Difficulty: The trail is moderate to difficult because of the rocky trails at the preserve, trail length, and the major ascent and descent of the Yellow Buckeye Trail which switchbacks up a steep hill and back down.
Description: Gladys Riley Preserve’s forests are unusually old, with many fine specimens of immense trees, including White, Black and Chestnut Oaks; Pignut, Bitternut and Shagbark Hickories, Yellow Buckeye, Black Birch, and Sweetgum. Even the rare Butternut or White Walnut thrives along the Rock Fork Creek that bisects the preserve. Wildflowers are very rich at the site in the lower elevations, including several that are rare. Ferns and mosses proliferate in the sheltered coves at the base of the steep-sided hill. Gladys Riley boasts very dense displays of celandine wood poppy, sweet William, starry chickweed, sweet white violet, wood betony, bluebells, mayapple, dwarf larkspur, rue anemone, and dwarf crested iris. Later in the year the lower elevations of the preserve are covered over with a thick blanket of tall ferns.
We will begin by hiking the White Walnut Trail which is a 1.50 Mile Loop. This trail traverses Rocky Fork’s floodplain, a tributary of Scioto Brush Creek. Watch your footing on the rock-strewn portions of this trail. If time allows in the afternoon we will also hike the Yellow Buckeye Trail. The lower elevations of this hillside are rich in Yellow Buckeyes, wildflowers and ferns that are just beginning to unfold. Here black birch, a relatively uncommon tree in Ohio, grows abundantly. The higher elevations grow oak and hickory trees well over 200 years old, bearing impressive girths.