Trail: Tallgrass Prairie Trail
Geographic Location: east of
Length: 0.7 miles
Difficulty: 2/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: June 2013
Overview: A short loop featuring a restored tallgrass prairie.
Park Information: http://www.greatparks.org/parks/miami-whitewater-forest
Google Map: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=196304
Directions to the trailhead: Near the
state line, take I-74 to Dry Fork Road
(exit 3). Exit and go north on Dry Fork
Rd. Drive Dry Fork Rd. 1 mile to West
Road and turn right on West
Rd. Drive West
Rd. 0.2 miles to Timberlakes
Drive and turn right on Timberlakes
Dr. Drive Timberlakes
Dr. 1.3 miles to the trailhead parking area on the
The hike: For my general comments on
, see the Oakleaf/Badlands Trails blog entry. The Tallgrass
Prairie Trail is the shortest of the three nature trails at Miami Whitewater
but it is also the only trail in the park to feature a restored tallgrass
prairie, a habitat that once covered large sections of Miami
Whitewater Forest Ohio. Despite the trail’s name, it actually travels
most of its distance through shady broadleaf forest. Thus, this trail remains comfortable to hike on
warm July/August days when the prairie wildflowers are at their peak.
|Trailhead: Tallgrass Prairie Trail|
The trail dips through a somewhat steep wooded ravine and, at 0.15 miles, enters the heart of the tallgrass prairie. Upon entering the prairie, the gravel trail surface changes to grass undergirded by some cement blocks that keep the dirt surface firm after a rain. Many unusual plants live in the prairie, including purple coneflower, big bluestem, Indian grass, and black-eyed Susan. An interpretive sign helps you identify these plants. Take some time in the prairie to see how many you and find.
|Hiking through the tallgrass prairie|
After spending a couple hundred feet in the prairie, the trail returns to the shady forest, and the trail surface turns back to gravel. As you dip through the ravine on the return trip, you might expect to quickly close the loop. Instead, the trail meanders through the forest on an angular course cutting no corners.
|Hiking through the woods on gravel trail|
At 0.5 miles, you use a boardwalk to cross a wetter area of forest. I most recently hiked this trail just before sunset, and the bright yellow tape on the edge of the boardwalk helped me stay on the trail in low-light conditions. Past the boardwalk, the trail rises slightly to close the loop, where a right turn is required to return to the trailhead and complete the hike.