Plum Run Prairie Preserve

Nestled within the bounds of Adams County, Ohio, lies the Plum Run Prairie Preserve. Spanning 140 acres and part of the illustrious Arc of Appalachia Preserve System, Plum Run holds the secrets of one of the state’s few remaining prairie remnants. Within its reaches, you’ll find echoes of the midwestern plains in a tallgrass prairie and the eastern resonance in a cedar glade.

Here, in the spring, woodland wildflowers emerge, reaching their zenith in May. The late fall brings seas of rippling tall grasses, while August showcases the spectacular bloom of prairie flowers.

In Ohio’s diverse ecological landscape, two primary biomes dominate: the temperate deciduous forest and the prairie. These neighbors have co-existed, expanded, contracted, and competed for resources for over 20 million years.

Prairies, resilient ecosystems, withstand heat and drought. Yet, their shorter stature often leads to their undoing, succumbing beneath the shade of dense forests.

Nature’s dance is evident. During wet seasons, forests encroach upon prairies; in times of drought, heat, and fire, prairies regain ground.

Ohio’s history, once dominated by forest, is also shaped by two prairie types. The fire-sculpted tallgrass prairie once flourished to the west, towering up to 10 feet high. This biome’s extensive root systems fostered deep, fertile soils that attracted agriculture and led to the displacement of more than 95% of America’s tallgrass prairies.

The tallgrass prairie at Plum Run stands as an isolated geographic outlier. One possible explanation lies in the nearby railroad, where flares were used to clear plant growth, allowing fire-tolerant prairie species to thrive.

Another unique feature at Plum Run is the cedar glade prairie or cedar barren, growing on the thin, dry soil derived from limestone bedrock. Red cedar, a remarkable tree that tolerates drought and heat, is a notable resident of this terrain. These cedar glades are usually small and have been largely destroyed by agricultural conversion into marginal pasture lands.

Ohio’s wetter climate in contemporary times continues to push prairies into shrinkage, a pattern that may yet reverse with global warming, providing compelling reasons for protection.

Remarkably, Plum Run is the sole known place in Ohio displaying the full characteristics of both the tallgrass prairie and the cedar glade prairie. It stands as a living museum for these nearly vanquished plant communities and is an exceptional site for plant and insect biodiversity.


Plum Run Prairie Preserve features 2.4 miles of easy trails.

Allegheny Mound Trail

Allegheny Mound Trail weaves a 1.3-miles through verdant prairies, punctuated by the impressive handiwork of the Allegheny Mound Builder Ants: towering conical mounds that can span up to ten feet wide and reach heights of three feet.

Plum Run Trail

Plum Run Trail is a 1.1-mile loop trail that winds along the murmuring Plum Run and through a small prairie. Come early to mid-April, the forest floor transforms into a painter's palette, adorned with dense spring wildflowers, including the delicate Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla), a spectacle that seems to capture the very essence of spring's rejuvenation.

From Peebles, follow Steam Furnace Road east for 1.1 miles. Cross over OH Route 32 and continue on Mendenhall Road for .7 miles. The trailhead is on the left.


Plum Run Prairie Preserve Weather

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