Goll Woods State Nature Preserve near Archbold, Ohio is one of my favorite places to visit. The preserve contains the last remaining virgin forest in Northwest Ohio.
Their hard work would eventually produce some of the most fertile farmland in the state. It also destroyed some magnificent old hardwood trees.
Fortunately one of the settlers of German township, near Archbold, Ohio had the foresight to set aside 100 acres of his land.
Peter Goll and his family preserved the “big woods” and left it untouched from when they bought it from the government in 1837. They sold it to the state of Ohio as a nature preserve in 1966.
A day trip to the preserve is well worth the time. As you walk the trails you gain an appreciation of what the early settlers must have encountered when they lived here.
Our first trip to Goll woods was in July during a wetter than normal summer. The mosquitoes were ferocious. We were well coated in insect repellent but there was a constant swarm and buzzing sound the entire time we were in the woods.
Its no wonder malaria was rampant among the pioneers of the Black Swamp. There is just no escaping the bugs.
A trip in early spring or in the fall is a much better time to go if you don't like bugs.
The most awesome part of walking through Goll Woods is the size of the trees there.
Many of these hardwood trees were large when the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts in 1620 so you can imagine the size of them now.
Some of the old Burr Oaks are over 400 years old, over 4 feet in diameter at the base, and some over 120 feet tall.
There is no other place in this part of the state where you will see hardwood trees this size. It’s rather sobering to realize that at one time all of Ohio was covered with forest like this.
The trails at the preserve cover about 4 miles and are an easy stroll. Make sure you stop at Goll Cemetery which is near the northern part of the preserve. This is the family burial plot with lots of history on the grave stones.
(Click the images for larger pictures)