Visit Huffman Prairie State Natural Landmark and experience an explosion of color

The Huffman Prairie State Natural Landmark is in spectacular bloom right now in bright purples, yellows and reds.

“It’s quite the work of art out there, said Grace Dietsch, a biologist with Five Rivers MetroParks. “It’s a palette of many colors.”

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

This 112-acre prairie is one of the largest prairie remnants in Ohio and home to flowering plants, birds and insects, many of them rare.

The prairie became a state natural landmark in 1986 and today Five Rivers MetroParks and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base care for the site.

ExploreForest conceals long-forgotten amusement park, a 1930s Dayton hot spot

Wander along the three-quarter mile trail that loops through the prairie and you’ll find purple cone flowers, wild bergamot, bright red royal catchfly and more.

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Big bluestem, prairie cordgrass and dense blazing star stand tall along the path.

Grassland sparrows, short-eared owls and bobolinks, a “beautiful black and yellow bird you won’t find in your backyard,” can also be spotted.

“It’s a really breathtaking view to see that many colors in one location,” Dietsch said. “It’s also teeming with life with bees, butterflies and birds. It’s just exploding right now.”

The combination of rain, intense heat and sun has created a spectacular year for wildflowers and prairies. It will be showy for a couple more weeks, Dietsh said, but it is a wonderful place to visit year-round as the seasons change.

ExploreDaytonian of the Week: Grace Dietsch, Five Rivers MetroParks biologist

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

There are over 800 acres of prairie within the MetroParks system. Visitors should not pick flowers or plants because habitat loss leads to species decline.

“Every flower counts, every flower serves a purpose ecologically and it’s important to leave nature be.”


WHAT: Huffman Prairie State Natural Landmark

WHERE: The prairie is located off Route 444 east of Dayton and can be accessed using the Twin Base Golf Course entrance. The prairie is on Wright Patterson Air Force Base next to the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

HOURS: Park hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff

Credit: Lisa Powell / Staff


About the Author