You might be surprised to learn that Ohio State Parks protect some pretty incredible wildflower collections! In early spring, delicate phlox, violets, bluebells and many other woodland varieties signal the return of warmer weather.
Yet, it's the summer wildflowers that steal the show, blossoming into a joyful array of vibrant pinks, purples, reds, yellows and oranges in the more vast, open spaces in the state.
And now's the time to go exploring in search of wildflowers (and more!) in Ohio State Parks. But before we share some of the best state parks in Ohio for wildflower viewing, here are a few summer blooms to be on the lookout for:
- Grass pink orchid
- Butterfly weed
- Spiked blazing-star
- Eastern prickly pear
- Northern pitcher plant
- Swamp rose mallow
- Prairie dock
- Grey-headed coneflower
- Wild bergamot
- Purple coneflower
- Nodding onion
- Azure bluet
Wildflower enthusiasts are undoubtedly familiar with most, if not all, of these summer beauties. For those interested to learn more about Ohio's unique wildflowers on display, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website can help you out.
Ohio State Parks Featuring Summer Wildflowers
Naming the best state parks in Ohio for viewing wildflowers is impossible since there is a unique and equally enchanting experience to have at each park every time you visit. However, these show-stoppers won’t disappoint!
Strouds Run State Park
Strouds Run is a beautiful state park in southeast Ohio. The state park encompasses Dow Lake, popular in the summer months for boating, fishing and swimming.
The park also features several hiking and mountain biking trails ranging from a half-mile to a more rugged seven-mile trek—all excellent for spotting summer wildflowers!
Caesar Creek State Park
Just south of Dayton, Ohio, sits Caesar Creek State Park. Not only can you find an array of wildflowers in the sunny meadows of this Ohio State Park, but some of the oldest rock formations in the state are waiting to be discovered here—dating back to prehistoric times.
Hike one of the park's more than 13 trails ranging from easy to difficult in intensity, and you certainly won't be let down by the diversity of wildlife and views along the way!
Quail Hollow State Park
Just one hour southeast of Cleveland in northern Ohio sits Quail Hollow State Park. This state park is home to diverse plant and animal communities due to its lush rolling hills and swamp-like wetlands.
Several low-intensity hikes (no more than a mile and a half long) traverse this frontier homestead-turned state park, making it easy to spot blazing stars and other summer prairie flowers.
Lake Hope State Park
If you're looking for a state park in Ohio to escape the stressors of modern-day life, Lake Hope has what you need!
Here you'll be surrounded by natural beauty in the Zaleski State Forest, with lush oak and hickory groves providing shade and protection for many different wildflower species. The scenic views overlooking Lake Hope are postcard-worthy, too!
Hocking Hills State Park
And less than 30-minutes from Lake Hope sits the internationally-acclaimed Hocking Hills State Park. Stunning in every way imaginable, this Ohio State Park is home to seven hiking trails ranging from easy to complex and from a quarter-mile to four and a half miles in length.
The wildflowers play only a small (but nonetheless significant) role in making this park so attractive. It also features cascading waterfalls, dramatic cliff views and long-standing hemlock groves.
Shawnee State Park
In southern Ohio, near the Kentucky border, you'll find Shawnee State Park. Otherwise known as the "Little Smokies," this rugged area offers visitors the opportunity to explore the Appalachian foothills where the Native American Shawnee tribes once hunted.
Ten trails varying in length and intensity showcase the park's natural beauty and diverse wildlife, from mushrooms and wildflowers to beaver dams and more!
Wildflower Field Notes
There's just something poetic about summer wildflowers. Perhaps it's their bold, vibrant colors swaying in a soothing summer breeze. Or maybe you enjoy the culmination of their sweet, earthy fragrance while viewing busy pollinators going about their age-old work.
If wildflowers (or nature, in general) fills you with emotion and inspiration, an Ohio State Parks Bucket Journal is the perfect place to record your thoughtful reflections.
Imagine making it your goal to explore the breathtaking scenery at all 74 Ohio State Parks and documenting your inner landscape as you stand in awe of the Buckeye State's natural beauty!
Which Ohio State Park are you most excited to explore?
PIN IT FOR LATER!