Why is this site important?
As a nature preserve located at the very edge of glaciations, Wahkeena has a unique position in Ohio. The Hocking Hills region is made up of Blackhand Sandstone, which held back the flow of ice during the age of glaciers over 14,000 years ago. However, one lobe of ice extended down the Hocking River valley to Sugar Grove, 1 mile east of Wahkeena, and on the north, the glacier halted ½ mile from the preserve.
As a result of this unique positioning, the hills and valleys of Wahkeena support plants that would normally be in a more northern climate and also some southern species. The hemlock trees which line the Shelter Trail are the most notable northern examples, while rhododendron and mountain laurel represent the south.
What to know about the site:
Dr. Frank Warner of Columbus gave his wife, Carmen, a tract of old farmland in 1931. Over the next 20 years, the Warners expanded and improved the property until it comprised 150 acres of tree-covered hills and a large pond. Today, their legacy is a popular outdoor classroom and a quite retreat for nature enthusiasts.
Other interesting flora at Wahkeena include: 30 different kinds of ferns, nine native orchids including the showy orchids and pink lady’s slipper, and an abundance of spring and summer wildflowers.
Wahkeena is a great birding area. Well over 100 birds have been documented at the site. Nesting records include Cerulean Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, and Summer Tanager.
Wahkeena is a popular open air classroom for nature study and school groups. Along with other nature preserves, Wahkeena serves as an outdoor laboratory in which you can learn about the complex relationships of the living and non-living components of our natural environment.
Key things to see or do while visiting the site:
Be sure to see the exhibits and live education animals in the Nature Center. Also, walk on the self-guided interpretive nature trail. Have questions? Get them answered by one of the naturalists.
While in the area, go to the five museums in Lancaster. You will find plenty of places to eat or just sit and have a beer. http://www.visitfairfieldcountyoh.org/
And here is the historical parks guide, complete with local area covered bridges and the Rock Mill. http://historicalparks.org/map.pdf
2200 Pump Station Rd
Sugar Grove, Ohio 43155
Wahkeena is located 6 miles south of Lancaster off of US Hwy. 33 in Fairfield County.
April – October: Wednesday – Sunday: 8:00am – 4:30pm
Free to all visitors! Donations are welcome.
This site is managed by the Fairfield County Historical Parks.
Ohio Association of Garden Clubs
Wahkeena Nature Preserve Blog
Hocking Valley Birding Trial
Fairfield County Historical Parks
Wahkeena Nature Preserve on Facebook