Oak Opening Preserve
The Oak Opening Preserve covers over 3,700 acres offering trails and nature preserves throughout the Toledo area. This eco system consists of endangered plants that are native to northwest Ohio. Botanists enjoy studying the animal life and plants that grow wild in the region. One unique attribute of the Oak Opening Preserve park is the sand dunes. In the yellow sand dunes, cactus, wild lupine and black oak are some of the plants and trees that can be found here. There is a horseback riding trail that covers 20 miles. The trail makes its way through the nearby Maumee State Forest. There are several outdoor picnic areas, hitching posts, restrooms and shelter areas.
The Towpath Trail is located between two metro parks---Farnsworth and Providence. This is an impressive 8 mile path that many outdoor enthusiasts use to bike, hike and walk the area. When hiking the trail, you can see the Miami Erie Canal. This canal is washed out and dry in most areas. There is both a smooth and a rough section to this trail. The smooth area is more designed for casual walkers and beginner to intermediate bikers. This is located in the Farnsworth Park. The Providence Park has backcountry routes trailing along the Maumee River with a great deal of wooded and rocky terrain for more advanced hikers.
Wabash Cannonball Trail
At 63 miles long, the Wabash Cannonball Trail is one of the longest bike trails in Northwest Ohio. This area used to be a railroad bed. It carves out the bike trails seen in the park today. This trail is both paved and gravel so there are plenty of options for bikers and walking enthusiasts. It is split into two sections; the north and south fork. The north fork has both paved and unpaved sections for biking, hiking and some horseback riding in designated areas. The south fork has a few miles of paved roads but the rest is mainly remote gravel and backcountry paths. This trail is great for a few hour hiking trip or an all day bike trip. In the winter, cross country skiers enjoy the winding paths.
Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve
The Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve is part of the Oak Opening Region. It is mainly comprised of a sedge meadow. The terrain here is sandy leaving behind a wet meadow or prairie full of tall grass and sand. The boardwalk trail at this park is what attracts many visitors. Because the area is wet, the boardwalk allows visitors to walk and experience the natural setting without trekking through the mud and water. Kids especially love observing the ducks, pied billed grebes and sora rail birds. The area is also plentiful with turtles including the spotted, painted and blanding turtles.
River Bluff Trail
This is a compact trail at 2.7 miles but it is packed with plenty of beauty and natural settings that nature buffs love. Along the trail, guests can stop off at the Isaac Ludwig Mill to experience an operational mill. There is also a dam along the trail from the Maumee River that carries over to the Mary Jane Thurston State Park. This is a good trail for mountain bikers as the trail leads up a path to a bluff offering a stellar view of the river below. There is also a canal boat in which guests can acquire tickets for a small ride down the river.
Article Written By Julie Boehlke
Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.