Ninety year-old Ralph Hohman’s favorite hiking trail is a certain path at the Beaver Creek Wetlands Reserve in Greene County. This winter he has been driving all the way from his home in Belmont near downtown Dayton to hike this favorite trail. He will only hike the trail at this particular location.
What does this 90 year-old hiker know that we don’t know?
Well, maybe it’s that winter can be one of the best times to go hiking and that our fantastic area wetlands offer premier places to do that hiking. Additionally, just maybe, hiking is a healthy thing to do if you want to live into your 90s.
He’s absolutely correct on all counts!
After all, in the winter the leaves are off the trees resulting in better views of scenic vistas rarely seen in the heavy brush of the summer.
Plus, it’s not hot and there are no bugs to speak of. And, if it snows that’s an added bonus that completely changes the scenery to a snowy white terrain with picture postcard views. What could be better than that?
“I really like hiking here, it’s very quiet and beautiful and there are no bugs in the winter,”said Hohman, who is originally from Kansas. “I’ve been hiking here the last two years. Once I discovered this place, I’ve made it the only place I hike, it’s my favorite. Sometimes I might even see a deer and the views all around here are very scenic. I like the tall trees also, in Kansas trees don’t grow very tall like these.”
Find some time to get out for a refreshing, healthy hiking adventure this winter. Hohman does, so maybe you can too!
Below are six of the 11 nearby wetlands hiking areas operated and managed by one of the premier wetland organizations in the nation; the Beaver Creek Wetlands Association. Collectively called the Beaver Creek Wetlands Corridor, this slice of paradise is one of Greene County’s greatest natural assets.
Thanks to the foresight of Dave Nolin, Greene County has the crown jewel of wetlands arguably in all of inland Ohio. The very modest Nolin, who is founder and president of the Beaver Creek Wetlands Association and the retired director of conservation with Five Rivers Metro Parks, really knows his stuff and has worked tirelessly for more than 30 years preserving and restoring natural areas. Many would easily consider him the “Father of Conservation” in this part of Ohio.
Most trails at these select wetlands below are relatively quick and easy to do which is perfect for a short brisk winter hike. Pick one location a week throughout the rest of the winter to explore and get your winter hiking trail series adventure on!
So bundle up, be safe, and get to know some of your area wetland “gems” this winter.
Koogler Wetland Prairie Reserve
Enjoy 1.5 miles of trails at this beautiful 47 acre preserve, prairie and swamp. Check out a real beaver dam on the real Beaver Creek — what a photo op! Hike the incredible winding boardwalk system that meanders throughout the wetlands. Witness its many “moods” in the winter from wet to frozen to snowy landscapes. The entrance and parking lot is on Beaver Valley Road just south of New Germany-Trebein Road.
Beaver Creek Wetlands Reserve
At this hidden gem, located at 2090 Dayton-Xenia Road in Beavercreek, you will encounter wet, frozen, or snow covered marshes, woodland pools, prairies, and the actual Beaver Creek. Enjoy beautiful hiking trails including the 1.25 mile loop trail with bridges and boardwalks that meander thru the woods and along the prairies on the edges of the Beaver Creek.
This newest member of the Beaver Creek Wetlands is a stunning property with an enormous boardwalk trail. Located at the headwaters of the Beaver Creek, you will venture into the wet and wild wilderness (maybe even frozen and snowy) for unmatched scenic views.
Pearls Fen is located at 4535 Byron Road in Fairborn and its trail system also connects to the adjacent Oaks Quarry trails.
Oaks Quarry Park
When you enter this quarry, it has the look and feel of a small canyon. The two-mile upper rim trail traverses the perimeter of the canyon with beautiful panoramic views. Small ponds in the belly of the quarry will freeze over and large icicles sometimes hang off the the cliffs of the quarry walls. Variables such as sun, snow, rain, and ice create the many changing moods of this unique “grand” little canyon. Oaks Quarry Park is located on State Route 235, just east of I-675.
Considered the crown jewel of the wetlands corridor, you can find the entrance to this gem on Fairground Road just east of Beaver Valley Road. Hop along the one-mile trail where you will encounter a boardwalk and an observation tower that overlooks the beauty and splendor of this place.
Did you know Fairborn has it’s own marsh? Check it out by traversing the one-mile loop trail. You will encounter the largest natural open marsh in the wetland corridor and a quaking fen also at this 52 acre hidden gem.
Check out the observation deck for panoramic views. You can access the entrance on Deercreek Drive via the Fawn Ridge neighborhood.
For even more places to hike in the Beaver Creek Wetlands corridor visit beavercreekwetlands.org.
Ron Brohm is a free lance writer for Greene County News.