Deep in the wildflower-filled forests of Licking County, the fairies have returned. 

The fairies, first noticed during the annual “fairy migration” in 2018, stumbled upon the beautiful blooming forests in Infirmary Mound Park, and have returned each summer along a hiking trail, according to Licking Park District Program Manager Anne Balogh. 

“The fairies found out how nice this place was and thought, ‘we’re going there,’” Balogh said. 

Every year since then, Balogh and a small group of volunteers organize a tour through the quarter-mile wildflower fairy trail, lined with tiny fairy homes hidden in trees and plants in Infirmary Mound. 

Along the trail are countless wildflowers that bloom this time of year, including the Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants and the Dutchman’s Breeches. Also in bloom: local pawpaw trees, which produce Ohio’s state native fruit.  

Visitors should be careful to stay on the trails however, as stinging nettle and poison ivy are commonly found in the forest, and visitors who stray from the trails risk causing harm to the more than 75 fairy abodes. 

Those tiny homes were constructed with the help of about 40 local businesses and organizations and include a fairy coffee shop, a tiny recycling plant, a firehouse and even a branch of the United Fairy Postal Service, where young visitors can send mail and receive letters from the fairies. 

Balogh said more than 2,500 letters were sent and received via the trail last year, and she estimated more than 5,000 people passed through Infirmary Mound Park in search of the fairy homes. 

Most of the letter writers are children, but occasionally some parents or other adults passing through will write in, thanking the fairies for choosing their park, because the trail provides some much needed reprieve and peace in what can be a very stressful world. 

Though the trail has existed each summer since 2018, images of the fairy homes went viral on social media in 2020, near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when families sought safe outdoor activities. 

The fairy trail officially opened for the season on May 5 and will remain open until September this year. It’s a quarter-mile loop located near Shelter 6 in Infirmary Mound Park, and maps are available near Mirror Lake. 

More information about the location and further events can be found on the official Licking Park District website here.

Hayden Mong writes for, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program, which is supported by generous donations from readers. Sign up for The Reporting Project newsletter here.