Take a Walk Back in Time Through Goll Woods

Goll Woods Entrance
Entrance to the preserve

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.

A Little History 

Northwest Ohio was once covered by dense hardwood forest. When settlers came here in the early to mid 1800s they began the back breaking task of clearing the forest and draining the swamp.

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.


Swamp Forest at Goll Woods
Swamp Forest

A Must See!

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.


Take Insect Repellant

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.


A giant Bur Oak
Looking up a giant Bur Oak

The Trees are Huge!

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.


Hiking & Walking Trails

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. 

A downloadable map of the trails


Picture Gallery of Goll Woods

(Click the images for larger pictures)

Another towering bur oak
Towering Trees
A massive bur oak trunk
The base of an old oak tree
They're all this big!
A tall straight poplar tree!
Poplar Tree
Goll Woods memorial plaque
Memorial Plaque
A tree hugger
Tree Hugger
Yellow Buckeye Picture
Yellow Buckeye
Goll Cemetery sign and a bit of history!
Goll Cemetery
Goll Cemetery
Goll Cemetery

Lunch Afterwards?

Moms diner
Mom's Diner
After your walk through the woods a good place to go afterwards in Mom’s Diner in downtown Archbold; its only 5 minutes or so from the preserve. It’s a neat little place done up in 1950’s décor. It also has an ice cream counter. The food is great and the people in Archbold are the friendliest anywhere.

Sauder Village is also a good place to stop if you are looking to spend a whole day in Archbold.


Additional links for Goll Woods:

Goll Woods (Ohio DNR)


NW Ohio Nature Oak Leaf