One of the best kept secrets in the Hocking Hills is Butterfly Ridge Butterfly Conservation Center. This 21-acre property has been in the owner’s family since just after the Civil War and is basically a series of woodland and flower gardens designed as habitat for native butterflies. It is fabulous.
For just five dollars, you can either go it alone or take one of the two guided hikes offered each day at one and three. If you’re like me and just want to wander around, fifty cents will buy you a booklet that helps you out along the way.
The one mile trail guides you through wetland, woods and on top of a ridge to a prairie area. It is designed as a loop so you can bail out after a mile and get back to your car quickly. Personally, I think you’ll shortchange yourself doing that. I saw some interesting things on the way back that I either missed or couldn’t see coming from the other direction.
Professionally done signs identify plants and trees, help you stay on trail and tell some relevant stories about the farm, the pollinators and their habitat.
It’s July so most of the flowers are spent for the year but those remaining are prolific and attract a number of butterflies and other pollinators. I saw tons of butterflies and bees as well as a few dragon flies, lots of birds, chipmunks, squirrels and a couple of deer.
The folks here are doing their part to help the environment in other ways besides looking after butterflies. The facility is solar powered and they harvest rain water. In all, it is well done and I would recommend you go visit.
Oh! And the best part? A tree house in a hundred year old Black Oak tree! Climb the steps and sit a spell, taking in the cool breeze and view. You’ll thank me later.
I plan to go back next year to see the spring wildflowers. They have a spur off the main trail that features a number of native spring wildflowers. I’ll probably aim for doing a guided tour next time but, for today, was happy going it alone with my camera and booklet. I had already been out hiking and was hoping to catch Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and didn’t want to wait for the tour.