All About Richland

Take A Hike: No Matter Your Experience Level, A Great One Awaits

10 Sep , 2019  

Get in touch with nature before summer ends or plan a hike as the leaves start to change! Take advantage of the warm weather and explore all the beautiful, can’t-miss scenery the area has to offer. Spending time in nature has been proven to improve mental focus, lower stress levels, increase creativity, and even boost the immune system. Whether you want to take a stroll on a park path, trek through the woods, or just explore the local flora and fauna, we’ve got all your must-hike trails right here.

There are lots of great places for intense hikes and leisurely strolls around Richland County. From the wedding site of Bogie and Bacall at Malabar Farm State Park and the paved 18.4 miles of the Richland B&O Bike Trail to the amazing rich park landscapes at Gorman Nature Center and the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, each spot offers a different experience. Check out the list below to learn why you can’t miss these trails – click any of them for more information.


Clear Fork Valley Scenic Trail
341 Resort Dr.
Butler, OH 44822 (Clear Fork Adventure Resort)
State Rte 95 NE & Pleasant Hill Rd
Perrysville, OH 44864 (North end)
Difficulty: Easy to Hard

This 8-mile hike traverses 570 acres of nature preserves, incorporating old-growth forest, rolling terrains, and prairie flowers and grasses. This path connects with the B&O Bike Trail in Butler at one end and Malabar Farm and Mohican State Parks at the other. The 8 miles includes two spurs, including Valley View Spur, which with an elevation of 1,370 feet, is one of the highest points in Richland County. Skipping the two spurs will make the path about 6 miles.

Eric Miller, a trustee for the North Central Ohio Land Conservancy, pointed out three of the trail’s most popular features. Going from north to south, the first must-see element is native Ohio prairie “that is just shockingly colorful in the summer, with hundreds of wildflowers that bloom at different times,” Miller said. Heading farther south, you will then see Hemlock Falls, a waterfall that also goes past a cliff line. Lastly, there is an old-growth forest that was notably admitted to the Old-Growth Forest Network.

“It’s like a living museum,” Miller said of the trail. “These are areas that are good representations of what ancient Ohio used to be.”


Gorman Nature Center
2295 Lexington Ave.
Mansfield, Ohio 44907
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Gorman Nature Center, which is maintained by the Richland County Park District, consists of 150 acres of park land in various terrains, from open fields to woods and streams. Walk the 6 different intertwining trails totaling just over 3 miles, and stop in the Wildlife Watchtower to spot animals below.

The Gorman Nature Center also does work in conservation and education, with frequent public programs like bird walks, nature expeditions, and even creative writing seminars.


Malabar Farm State Park
4050 Bromfield Road
Lucas, OH 44843
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

The Malabar Farm grounds contain several trails, most through wooded hilly areas. Some parts are handicap accessible and good for beginners, while others are more difficult, crossing streams, cliffs and caves.

“This portion of Richland County is definitely a lot hillier than the rest, so there’s a lot of slope,” said naturalist Lori Morey. “Be prepared for a moderate hike.”


Ohio Bird Sanctuary
3774 Orweiler Rd
Mansfield, OH 44903
Difficulty: Easy to Hard

While the Ohio Bird Sanctuary is famous for its work with caring for and rehabilitating Ohio native birds, it is also a beautiful nature preserve. Over 90 acres feature 5 intertwined hiking trails. The Sanctuary has 4 miles of trails winding through meadow, riparian, and old-growth forest.

The Wood Duck trail, one of the longer paths, is most popular because it connects with the boardwalk, so you can walk through the marsh area. It is in the optimum birding habitat, and a portion of the trail is wheelchair accessible.

Stephanie Lewis shared a few things you should know if you are looking to visit the trails. “They get quite muddy, so if you’re coming to hike, be prepared and you might want to bring bug spray,” she said.


Pleasant Hill Lake Park
3431 State Route 95
Perrysville, OH 44864
Difficulty: Easy to Hard

Wander near your campsite along the lake or get your gear for the long haul. Pleasant Hill Lake Park has more than 15 miles of trails connecting with Malabar, Mohican, and equine trails. Easier trails are located within the official park, with further-flung trails extending around most of the lake.

Take a break from hiking, relax, and look out across the beautiful lake as you rest.


Richland B&O Bike Trail
18 miles between Butler and Mansfield
(Many stopping and starting points)
Difficulty: Easy

Bike or hike the historic Richland B&O Trail. Richland County became the 70th Rails to Trails project and now provides and maintains 18 miles of scenic trail through the heart of Richland County, connecting the villages of Butler, Bellville, and Lexington and the city of Mansfield. Expect to see new signage along the trail this summer.

Visitors will see mile markers, multiple parking areas, and benches along the trail. Rest stations in Bellville and Lexington offer restrooms and water fountains.

To discover even more trails and walking paths, visit Share your experience and pictures with us on Instagram and Facebook with #TravelOurTrails #DestinationMansfield #OhioFindItHere

Source: Destination Mansfield – Richland County

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