Gertrude S Lawrence is one of the nature preserves around Hoover Reservoir. There are 15 nature preserves protecting the waterways and wetlands of the Big Walnut Creek watershed north of Columbus. This watershed provides 60% of the water for the City of Columbus. The 4,700 acres of land protected in these preserves offers a refuge for birds and animals that depend on wetlands.
Nine of the nature preserves have hiking trails, so Tom and I decided that we would explore these trails. Today I am starting with the Gertrude S Lawrence Nature Preserve because it has the most extensive and beautiful trail.
Parking for the Gertrude S Lawrence Nature Preserve is at the Twin Bridges boat ramp along Red Bank Road in Galena. The nature preserve is just across the road with a gate across the entrance. It is unlocked so that the preserve is accessible anytime. The trail in the preserve is very unassuming and we had no idea how beautiful it would be.
The preserve is named after a woman whose land was bought to create the reservoir. Her son donated an additional 30 acres for flood control with the understanding that the area would be named after his mother.
The hiking trail in the Gertrude S Lawrence Nature Preserve is about 1.5 miles of a lollipop. But, when you reach the sign that says “End of Trail” another trail stretches enticingly along it. We followed this trail along a ridge and through a pine forest to a church retreat center. A sign at the retreat center said that Overbrook Presbyterian Church had placed the land in a conservation easement. Ten primitive camping sites and a basic playground were part of the retreat center.
We were impressed by the height of the ridge we walked along to get to the retreat center. A creek cut through the ravine next to us and we could see that the water often flooded and cut away more of the land.
We really enjoyed our walk through Gertrude S Lawrence Nature Preserve and the church retreat center. By the time we returned to the car we had walked almost four miles. It was a beautiful walk through an awesome woods along a lovely ridge.