“The trails at Frohring Meadows are mainly through an open-sky, prairie environment—a rarity in the east.”
— Jonathan Engdahl
Birding · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Easy, paved or packed limestone trails.
There are two loops at Frohring. The inner, 0.7 mile loop (Dragonfly Trail
) is paved and circles the central marsh. The outer, 2.8 mile loop (Big Bluestem Trail
) is packed limestone, and is two-thirds prairie and one-thirds mature woodland. The 1.6 mile route I marked includes part of the paved trail and part of the graveled prairie trail.
Need to Know
There is no running water, but there are fairly decent pit toilets with hand sanitizer dispensers.
Starting at the lodge, the paved trail leads around the marsh to the observation platform. This is where I heard and photographed my first sora. A hundred yards past the platform, turn left, and take the connector to the outer loop. If you stay on the paved trail it will continue around the marsh and back to the parking lot. In the area of this junction, I have seen a lot of bluebirds.
Once you reach the outer trail, turn left and head south. The first quarter mile on the outer loop leads through some semi-marshy areas, though the trail remains dry, and then intersects a short connector which leads back to the lodge and restrooms. Along this section, I saw my first snipe. Continuing south the land rises a bit and becomes drier. Along this section, you are likely to see redwinged blackbirds, bobolinks, and rabbits. After 0.6 miles you'll cross the entrance road.
If you continue on the trail for another 0.2 miles, you have to make a decision. If you continue on the gravel path, you'll go through 1.5 miles of mostly deep woods before coming out into the open again, at which point you'll still be a half mile from your car. If you turn left, there is a 0.1 mile dirt footpath cutting through the field back to the paved trail. Where the shortcut joins the paved loop, there is a bench with a nice view of the park where you can rest to greet the joggers and dog-walkers before the final 0.2 miles back to the starting point.
This park is unique because virtually all other parks and trails in northeast Ohio are in wooded areas. Don't get me wrong—I love the woods, but I live in the woods, and it is refreshing to get out into the open at Frohring, and see the prairie and the wide open sky.
Flora & Fauna
Open field birds are common: savannah sparrow, goldfinch, redwinged blackbird, bluebird, and bobolink. Along the southern section, where the land is drier, there are many rabbits.