Observe curious rock formations at secluded park in Lewis Center
Take your water shoes to Shale Hollow Preserve in Lewis Center and spend a few hours wading in Big Run, a tributary of the Olentangy River that meanders through this 190-acre park that’s relatively hidden among retail stores and housing developments.
Opened in 2013, the park is one of 11 sites operated by Preservation Parks of Delaware County, which cares for the area’s unique, natural habitats in one of the fastest-growing counties in Ohio.
The park offers a nature center with clean restrooms, picnic area, a mile-long crushed-gravel hiking trail and, best of all, an off-trail exploration area, which your family will love.
It’s natural Ohio at it’s best. Walk a muddy path to the shallow creek filled with shards of shale – perfect, flat stones for skipping to your heart’s content.
Alongside the creek is a four-story cliff layered in shale and curious, spherical rock formations called concretions – that we like to call dinosaur eggs. Some of these “eggs” also are in the creek, popping above the water’s surface like tiny islands.
What else can you do? Take your binoculars and hike the 1.1-mile Great Horned Owl Trail. Spy wild turkeys, woodpeckers, owls and migrating songbirds, as well as read signs to learn about trees like the buckeye, sycamore, cottonwood, beech and sassafras.
The park is open 8 a.m. to sunset year round, so visit in the winter for cross-country skiing.
Shale Hollow Preserve is located at 6320 Artesian Run, Lewis Center, Ohio. (Enter off U.S. Rt. 23.) Learn more.