Walking Guide

Defiance County General Health District, along with agencies across Defiance County, are proud to present several options of walking-trails in Defiance County! Spending time outdoors can benefit different dimensions of our wellness (emotional, physical, social, environmental, spiritual). Explore the different trail options below. Do you have a favorite walking trial not found below? Contact us to have the trail added to our webpage.

Independence Dam State Park

Independence Dam State Park

Independence Dam State Park covers 591-acres situated along the banks of the beautiful Maumee River. This park is located approximately 3 miles east of Defiance on St. Rt. 424 and offers recreational opportunities including boating access, hiking trails, camping, fishing, scenic drives, and picnic areas.

A hiking trail, once the towpath for the Miami/Wabash/Erie Canal, meanders between the old canal and the river for a distance of three miles ending in Florida, Ohio. This trail offers imaginative trips into the colorful past of Ohio’s canal era.

The Dam is located at 27722 State Route 424, Defiance, OH 43512 

Thoreau Wildlife Reserve

Thoreau Wildlife Reserve

Thoreau Wildlife Reserve is now open to the public for the enjoyment of Nature with it’s 4 nature trails that highlight meadows, woodlands, wetlands and old growth forest. The Reserve covers approx. 250 acres with 2 miles of trails.

Thoreau Wildlife Reserve is working with the Audubon Sanctuary Program to encourage blue birds, wood ducks and mallard ducks to nest on the property. Parking is limited and hours of operation are from dawn to dusk. Visitors must stay on designated trails and only foot traffic is permitted in the preserve. Dogs are permitted but always on a leash. To safeguard the preserves natural resources we ask that all visitors abide by the “leave no trace” rules of conduct.

Numerous signs can be found along the trails with reference to the thoughts of H.D. Thoreau who inspired the Reserve.

Thoreau Wildlife Reserve is located at 10485 Haller Road, Defiance, OH 43512


Defiance Reservoir & Walking Trails

Defiance Reservoir & Walking Trail

The Reservoir Nature Trail is an 8’ wide, multi-use trail extending from the Defiance Reservoir parking lot through about 2500′ of natural wooded area. It connects to the ‘lower’ pathway around the municipal reservoir. This walkway offers opportunities for recreational uses such as bird watching, leaf-peeping, or just enjoying quiet walks through nature. It is intended that habitat improvement projects would be performed all along this walk to increase an already robust wildlife population.

The ‘upper’ trail is a 1-1/4 mile stone walkway around the top of the reservoir that provides unobstructed views of the reservoir and occasional waterfowl.  Benches are spaced along the walk and handicapped parking is provided near the boat ramp.

The Reservoir trails utilize a section of the historical Miami & Erie Canal along Canal Road and connects to the Buckeye Trail which, in turn, connects Defiance to the scenic 7-state North Country Trail.

The Reservoir Trail is located at 1129 Precision Way, Defiance, OH 43512


Oxbow Lake & Wildlife Area

Oxbow Lake & Wildlife Area

Oxbow Lake lies 10 miles northwest of the city of Defiance, and can be accessed from State Route 15 at Schick Road. Fish of Interest for Anglers include Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Green sunfish and Bullhead.  The operation of watercraft with any motor is permitted but at idle speed only without creating a wake. There is a small boat launch located on the northern shore of the lake.

The Oxbow Lake Wildlife Area is a 416-acre area situated in the glaciated lake plain of Ohio and has a slightly rolling topography. Some steep land lies adjacent to Mud Creek, which bisects the area. Large cottonwoods and sycamores are found along Mud Creek. The upland woods consist mostly of oaks and hickories.  Migrating shorebirds and songbirds can be observed utilizing the lake edges and woodlots during spring and fall. Other types of wildlife such as tree swallows and great blue herons make Oxbow Lake their home territory for the summer months.

Oxbow Lake is located at 9 Schick Rd, Defiance, OH 43512

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