A nature preserve is a living museum. Wahkeena Nature Preserve is a fine example of such living history. It is a 150-arce natural area managed by Fairfield County Parks for Ohio History Connection. This popular outdoor classroom and quiet retreat for nature lovers is located on the southeastern boundary of glaciation in Ohio. The preserve hosts an abundance of plants and animals typical of the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau. It offers exceptional opportunities for birding and observation of wildlife.
Twelve of Ohio’s native orchids such as Showy Orchis and Pink Lady’s Slipper and approximately 30 kinds of ferns have been identified. Wahkeena is also home to rhododendron and flame azalea, state-threatened and state-endangered species respectively. There are more than 100 species of birds and 35 species of mammals including the pileated woodpecker, numerous warblers and beaver. Wetland areas host more than 30 species of amphibians and reptiles and provide excellent viewing for dragonflies and damselflies. Throughout the year, numerous wildflowers attract a rich assortment of butterflies and moths. See photo gallery below.
Visitors enjoy the first-class nature center with displays of wildlife, plant life, and the area’s geology and history. The nature center includes a gift shop; in it are books on a wide range of natural history topics. Visitors can obtain a seasonal, self-guided trail map of key features along two of the trails: the half-mile Shelter Trail and the one-mile Casa Burro Trail.
There are two permanently-injured raptors – a Barred Owl and a Red-shouldered Hawk – living onsite. Their injuries do not allow them to hunt for themselves. Wahkeena has obtained permits so they may be sheltered and used for educational programs.
Wahkeena is open from mid-March through mid-November, Wednesday through Sunday, 8:00am-4:30pm. Admission is free. Guided nature walks and other programs are offered throughout the season. All group visits are by reservation only. No pets or picnicking is permitted in the preserve – see Site Rules below or visit the ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) website, specifically Natural Areas & Preserves – Rules and Regulations, to see a full list of rules regarding the use of state nature preserves.
A STATE OF OHIO NATURE PRESERVE
As mentioned above, Wahkeena Nature Preserve is a State of Ohio Nature Preserve administered by the Ohio History Connection and managed locally by Fairfield County Parks.
WAHKEENA NATURE PRESERVE WEBSITE
Wahkeena also maintains a website that includes a wildflower bloom list and more about the flora and fauna one might expect to find, footage from their trail camera, an interesting blog, more. Their calendar of programs and environmental education can be found at Wahkeena Nature Preserve’s website.
Our own Programs & Activities page includes events at Wahkeena and our other parks and preserves.
HOURS, LOCATION & DIRECTIONS
Open from mid-March to mid-November
Wednesday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed Monday-Tuesday)
Wahkeena Nature Preserve
2200 Pump Station Rd
Sugar Grove, OH 43155
Wahkeena is between Lancaster and Logan (Hocking Hills area) off US-33. There are easy-to-find signs on US-33 from both directions.
Driving directions from US-33 (Memorial Dr) and US-22 (Main St) in Lancaster
South on US-33 (name of road changes to Logan Lancaster Rd SE as you travel south), toward Hocking Hills
– drive approx 4.39 miles
Turn right onto Tarkiln Rd SE
– drive 0.28 mi
Turn left onto Old Logan Rd SE
– drive 2.35 mi
Turn right onto Pump Station Rd
– drive 0.75 mi.
Wahkeena Nature Preserve is on the right.
Use of a State Nature Preserve is for passive recreation, nature observation, research, and education. Certain activities are prohibited for the safety and preservation of the plants and wildlife. Below are a few points to remember:
- Visitors are required to stay on trails.
- No pets (except assistance animals)
- No collection of any plant, animal, or other substance
- No hunting and fishing on nature preserve and natural areas
- 150-acre nature preserve
- 12 species of native orchids
- ± 30 kinds of ferns
- ± 100 species of birds
- ± 35 species of mammals
- ± 30 species of amphibians and reptiles
- 1½-mile trail system
- boardwalk over pond and wetlands
- educational programs
- nature center
- gift shop