Trail: Pin Oak Trail
Hike Location: Farbach-Werner Nature PreserveGeographic Location: Colerain Township, OH (39.23435, -84.59333)Length: 0.8 milesDifficulty: 1/10 (Easy)Last Hiked: June 2019Overview: A short loop through a small nature preserve with many habitats.Preserve Information: Route Map: Highlight:
Directions to the trailhead: On the northwest side of Cincinnati, take I-275 to US 27 (exit 33). Exit and go south on US 27. Drive US 27 south 1.6 miles to Poole Road and turn right on Poole Rd. The signed preserve entrance is only a couple hundred feet ahead on the left. Park in the only parking lot.
The hike: If you need further evidence that good things can come in small packages, then consider Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve. At only 22 acres, the preserve is one of the smallest parks in the Great Parks of Hamilton County, but it provides a haven for birds and wildlife in highly developed Colerain Township. The preserve contains many habitats including mature forest, succession forest, prairie, and pond/wetland. Many local people come here often, and I enjoyed coming here many years ago when I lived in the Cincinnati area. The preserve came to be when Alfred and Elizabeth Werner donated the property in memory of their family, Bertha Werner and Ada Farbach. Due to its size, the preserve has limited amenities, but it does offer a gift shop, a barn in which nature programs are held, and a butterfly garden. In terms of trails, the preserve offers only one short trail, but the 0.8 mile Pin Oak Trail is a good one. The Pin Oak Trail features a mixture of asphalt and gravel surface, and it explores all of the preserve’s many habitats.

Trailhead between barn and gift shop

Start on the asphalt trail that passes between the gift shop on the left and the barn on the right. Very quickly you pass the butterfly garden on the left. I did not see many butterflies here on my early afternoon visit in late June, but there were some nice colors and odors coming from this garden. After crossing the service road that accesses the barn, the trail curves right and comes to a complicated intersection. Turn left to continue southeast and arrive at a pair of small ponds. I saw several turtles sitting on logs here, but recent rain had greatly swelled and muddied the pond’s water.

Rain-swollen pond

As the trail passes around the ponds, the parking lot for Groesbeck United Methodist Church comes into view through the trees on the left. At 0.3 miles, you reach another trail intersection. To follow the longest loop possible, this hike turns left here to leave the asphalt and head into the southernmost corner of the preserve. The gravel trail makes a pair of right turns through the preserve’s nicest forest, which features some large maple and beech trees. I saw numerous common woodland birds here including robins and cardinals in addition to small mammals such as squirrels and rabbits. Where the gravel trail ends at the asphalt, turn left to continue the longest possible loop.

Tallgrass prairie

Wolf beech tree

Next the asphalt trail passes through succession forest that features some dying red cedar trees before passing beside a small tallgrass prairie. At the next intersection, turn left and soon pass a large beech tree. This type of tree is known as a wolf tree: its low branches indicate it grew here before the younger surrounding trees prevented sunlight from reaching these low levels. At the next intersection, turn left to pass the barn and return to the parking lot, thus completing the hike.