Before Ohio was full of corn and soy fields, it was home to some beautiful prairies.
The Darby Plains were full of prairie grasses, beautiful prairie wildflowers, and a variety of wildlife. As European settlement increased, the prairies of Ohio were slowly lost. Now, only small pockets of these once vast fields exist.
One of these pockets is the Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve. The half acre park has never been plowed or grazed and it boasts some beautiful and rare species. The largest population of the threatened royal catchfly can be found here, along with the ruby-throated hummingbirds who you’ll frequently find near those flowers.
Throughout the park, you’ll catch glimpses of the many historic tombstones. The cemetery was a place for pioneers to rest in peace and there are headstones for people of all ages. You can read more about the cemetery and its history here.
The park is small but the scenery is worth it. The best time to visit to catch the flowers in bloom is July-August. Open from dawn until dusk, the park is for humans only (sorry, no pets) and visitors are asked to remain on designated trails.
Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve is located at 600 Rosedale Rd, Irwin, OH 43029, about 35 minutes outside of Columbus. For more information, you can visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.