LOGAN – The Hocking Hills region of southeast Ohio has just unveiled its new Butterfly Trail. Designed to educate visitors about the importance of pollinators, while offering one-of-a-kind experiences, the Hocking Hills Butterfly Trail is a project of Logan in Bloom with support from Hocking Hills Tourism Association. Outlined on both a colorful map and a passport, the trail includes 14 locations, each featuring a gorgeous pair of human-sized butterfly wings replicating a different butterfly found in the region. These “selfie stations” give visitors a colorful way to take home memories from each stop while learning all about the featured butterfly, including its habitat and food sources. Created from actual photographs of each species, the massive wings accurately depict the butterfly species they represent. The wing stations are open to the public sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise noted on the Butterfly Trail map.
“Hocking Hills Butterfly Trail encourages stewardship of our natural areas by demonstrating how important pollinators are to the wellbeing of the very thing visitors come to here to experience: nature and wildlife,” said Explore Hocking Hills Executive Director Karen Raymore. “A diverse group of partners came together to implement the trail, creating outstanding visitor experiences that educate while making each stop fun and interactive.”
In addition to photo ops and education, two stops on the trail offer visitors unforgettable hands-on opportunities for a deeper dive into local pollinators. The monarch waystation and butterfly garden at Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center offers travelers the chance to witness the entire lifecycle of monarchs, from young caterpillars feeding (May-August) to their becoming chrysalides and finally, emerging as monarchs (late August-October). Guests can then take part in monarch migration research, tagging and releasing the butterflies as they begin their migration to Mexico. At Butterfly Ridge Conservation Center, guided hikes traverse 21 acres of native pollinator-friendly prairie, forest and gardens. There are workshops, tools and even seeds available to help visitors create butterfly habitat at home. After-dark moth lighting events take visitors on a one-of-a-kind safari every second-fourth Saturday, June-August.
The printable map, passport and bonus butterfly coloring book pages further add the experience. Travelers are urged to visit https://www.explorehockinghills.com/hocking-hills-butterfly-trail/ before heading to the Hocking Hills to download their map and passport. Both are also available at the Regional Welcome Center, 13178 State Route 664 S. in Logan, along with a special butterfly trail sticker. Visitors are also urged to join in the educational mission of the trail by sharing their Butterfly Trail photos on social media with the hashtag: #hockinghillsbutterflytrail.
The 14 featured butterflies and their stops include:
-Monarch, Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center, Monarch Waystation #20927
-Great spangled fritillary, Capital University Primmer Outdoor Learning Center
-Orange sulfur, Hocking Valley Community Hospital
-Silver-spotted, skipper, Worthington Park
-Clouded sulfur, The Bowen House
-Red admiral, Hocking County Historical and Genealogical Society
-Pipevine swallowtail, Hocking Soil & Water Conservation District, Hocking County Fairgrounds
-Viceroy, City of Logan Community Garden
-Red-spotted purple, Logan High School
-Pearl crescent, Chieftain Elementary School
-Hackberry emperor, Rockbridge State Nature Preserve
-Eastern Tiger swallowtail, Appalachia Ohio Alliance Conservation Demonstration Site
-Spicebush Swallowtail, Bishop Educational Gardens
-Eastern comma, Butterfly Ridge
Located 40 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio, Hocking Hills offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make every day feel like Saturday, with plenty of Admission: FREE activities, including the John Glenn Astronomy Park. The region boasts a wide variety of affordable lodging, from glamping, cabins, cottages and luxe woodland lodges to hotels and inns. In addition to hiking trails, parks and forests, the Hocking Hills offers rappelling, guided hikes, kayaking, boat rentals, off-road segway tours and zipline canopy tours. Stellar stargazing at the John Glenn Astronomy Park, unique galleries, gift and antique shops; canoeing; horseback riding; birding; fishing; spas and more add to the allure of Hocking Hills as the perfect place to unplug. Complete traveler information is available ExploreHockingHills.com or 1-800-Hocking (800-462-5464).
Info from ExploreHockingHills.com