Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve

Last June, a friend and I went to Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve in west-central Ohio.  This is a unique place geography-wise and species-wise and was worth the trip!

As usual, back roads and small towns are always fun to travel-

Then we were there, just south of Utica, Ohio.

Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve is a fen left behind by the retreating glaciers of the Wisconsin glaciation about 12,000-18,000 years ago. A protected area of about 450 acres of fen remain from the original area of approximately 7,000 acres.

Cedar Bog is located in Champaign County, Ohio, United States, near the city of Urbana. Ground water from the Mad River Valley and the Urbana Outwash percolate through hundreds of feet of gravel left behind by the glacier in the Teays River. The Teays River is an underground river that existed before the Wisconsin glacier which, before the glacier, rivaled the Ohio River in size.


Even though I am an Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) member and could have gotten in free, I gladly paid the $5 entrance fee because The Cedar Bog Association needs the money- they get no state funds.

In addition to the water that feeds the bog, the glacier also left behind plants that are unique to Cedar Bog. Many of these plants are rare or endangered. The sedges and other plants that grow here left behind by the last glacier were the food for mastodons and giant sloths that once roamed the earth. Also, trees found here like bog birch and northern white cedar are more commonly found in the more northern boreal forest. Cedar Bog is also the home of the endangered spotted turtle, massasauga rattlesnake, and Milbert’s tortoise-shell butterfly.

Cedar Bog was purchased in 1942 by the Ohio Historical Society and was the first nature preserve purchased with state monies. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1967.

An Eastern Phoebe hung around the nature center- they love to nest on human structures

This sign is very true- last year I went and it had rained recently, and the wood was slick

This sign gets one’s attention- rattlers are rare in central Ohio!

The boardwalk takes you through the fen, with exotic plant sights all around you


There were some wetland wildflowers you don’t see very often

In the clear cool stream, there were young Wood Ducks and fish

There were nice spots to sit and take it all in

This Fritillary Butterfly seemed to like the vivid colors on a map sign

As we left near the nature center, we spotted this Skink Lizard scrambling across our path.  Once again, this was a sight I’ve not seen in central Ohio very much.  Cedar Bog is a place to go for the exotic.

We ended our day at a favorite restaurant.  And a good day it was!