Located in Pleasant Valley of Richland County, Malabar Farm is representative of the diversity of the glaciated Appalachian Plateau region and was the dream of sustainable agriculture for the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and conservationist, Louis Bromfield. The park has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.
Today, visitors can see the Farm, tour the Big House, hike nature trails, drive atop Mt. Jeez, and participate in recreational activities just as they did in Bromfield's time. As a working farm, you can meet a variety of animals raised on the farm, and also browse Malabar farm products available for purchase. The hills are contoured with strips of small grain crops and hay, while the scenic trails are adorned with nature's bounty.
The Malabar Farm State Park Campground offers Non-electric campsites that can accommodate equestrian campers. Pets are permitted. The Maple Syrup Cabin offers a unique overnight experience (no pets). Reservations are required.
Day-use Rental Facilities
The Pugh Cabin is a day-use facility and includes tables and chairs for groups up to 50 people. This 1940s log cabin can be rented for meetings and group functions from 9am-11pm. Features include full kitchen, bathroom, heating and AC, WiFi, wood-burning fireplace, and outdoor charcoal grill and picnic tables.
The Shelter House is an outdoor day-use facility for groups up to 50 people. Amenities include electrical outlets, picnic tables, and a charcoal grill is available. Playground and parking are located nearby.
Both facilities require reservations which may be made online at reserveohio.com or by calling (866) OHIOPARKS.
Malabar's Main Barn is a popular wedding venue and large group event; accommodates up to 200 people. To make reservations or learn more, contact the park office.
Currently, events at Malabar Farm are on hold due to the pandemic. Some events may be held virtually:
Malabar is planning to hold the 44th Annual Ohio Heritage Days on September 25-26. The vision of Heritage Days is to preserve past knowledge and promote future innovations of rural life through education and outreach. To learn more about being a vendor at Heritage Days, call (567) 483-4070, email email@example.com, or visit @MalabarFarm on Facebook.
Spend the day relaxing and fishing the ponds of Malabar Farm, where catches of bluegill and catfish are plentiful.
The Main Barn houses some of Malabar’s furry friends. You will find goats, sheep, cattle, horses, and ponies along with rabbits and our resident barn cats. Spring brings newborn goat kids and lambs, and in summer, pigs add animal life to the barn. All ages welcome, free of charge, every day from 8 am – 5 pm (occasionally times may vary).
Several picnic areas have tables and grills. Some have drinking water and latrines are nearby.
Tours of the Big House and Wagon tours will resume when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Find us on Facebook to learn more about the history and workings of Malabar Farm, and to learn about things you can do when you visit.
From beautiful wildflowers to interesting rock formations, the park's hiking trails are sure to please the adventurer in everyone. A multi-use natural trail offers scenic views of the farm and park for horseback riders and hikers.
- Butternut Trail - .83 Mile - Easy
- Doris Duke Woods Trail - 1 Mile - Easy
- Jungle Brook Trail - .7 Mile - Easy
- Pleasant Valley Bridle Trail - 7 Mile - Bridle Trail (hiking permitted)
Visitor Center and Gift Shop
Exhibits in the Louis Bromfield Visitor Education Center include topics in agriculture, wildlife, energy, conservation, recycling, and literature through interactive displays. The Gift Shop offers great Malabar farm products, as well as Ohio-made products for sale. It also features Malabar Farm souvenirs, freshly made fudge, snacks, and refreshments in addition to Louis Bromfield books and memorabilia. We offer an expanded line of book titles on sustainability, nature, agriculture, and natural living.
Under the proper conditions, park guests can enjoy sledding, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing.
More to Do
- Mohican State Park
- Ohio Bird Sanctuary
- Ohio State Reformatory
- Oak Hill Cottage
- Richland Carousel Park
History & Natural Features
In the rolling countryside of Richland County, Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and dedicated conservationist, created his dream -- Malabar Farm. Inspired by his love of the land, Bromfield restored the rich fertility of the farmlands and preserved the beauty of the woodlands.
“The Big House,” as Bromfield fondly referred to his dwelling, began with a small existing farmhouse as a base and was enlarged into this 32-room home. The house, designed by both architect Louis Lamoreux and Bromfield, is a blend of Western Reserve architectural styles and was built to appear as if it had been added to over the years. Bromfield furnished the house predominantly in a French style with the original paintings and antiques collected during his world travels. Today, the Big House uses geo-thermal technology for heating, cooling, and humidification. This system helps preserve the contents of the house. The main barn is the largest building on the farm, with a colorful mural of farm animals painted on the door.
After Bromfield’s death in 1956 the farm was nearly lost as one perspective buyer wanted to turn it into a country club, while another a suburban-style housing development. The Friends of the Land, with financial help of Doris Duke, the movie star James Cagney, and a collection of Ohio businessmen, raised $140,000 to buy the farm from Bromfield’s estate and ensure a measure of financial security for his daughter Anne. After the Friends of the Land faded in the late 1950’s the farm was taken over by a foundation plagued by internal conflict and financial troubles, the Noble Foundation, which held the mortgage, agreed to erase the mortgage and accrued interest -- about $280,000 -- when the State of Ohio accepted Malabar Farm as a gift to the people of Ohio.
In his book, Pleasant Valley, Bromfield wrote, "Every inch of it (the house) has been in hard use since it was built and will, I hope go on being used in the same fashion so long as it stands. Perhaps one day it will belong to the state together with the hills, valleys and woods of Malabar Farm." Bromfield's prophecy came true in August 1972, when the State of Ohio accepted the deed to Malabar Farm. The state pledged to preserve the beauty and ecological value of the farm.
From 1972 to 1976, Malabar Farm was operated jointly by Ohio's Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture. Then in 1976, Malabar became one of Ohio's state parks. As a park, Malabar Farm is dedicated to perpetuating Bromfield's farming philosophies, preserving the Big House and its many artifacts, and providing a place where visitors can explore life on a farm and the beauty of nature.
On April 4, 1993 the main barn tragically burned to the ground. Through volunteers of the Timber Framers Guild of North America, a new barn was raised in September 1994. Although modified for modern building standards, the new structure used the same traditional construction methods perfected by the colonists.
Mt. Olivet Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Pleasant Valley, holds the many characters referred to in Bromfield’s Pleasant Valley. Dating back to the 1820s, it is the resting place of the Bromfields and early pioneers from the valley.
The natural features of Malabar Farm are representative of the diversity of the glaciated Allegheny Plateau region of Ohio. This area is renowned for its interspersion of woodlands, lakes, streams and bogs along with villages, fertile valleys and grain farms. Located in the Pleasant Valley of Richland County, Malabar's forests and fields offer visitors a glimpse of both the cultural and natural history of the area. The rolling countryside and fertile farmlands of Malabar recreate the pleasure of life on the farm, while the wooded ridgetops support an abundance of natural wonders.
Glaciers pushed up and over the hills of the area depositing rich soils in the valleys. The woodlands are diverse with beautiful stands of beech and maple along with remnant stands of eastern hemlock in the ravines. Sandstone outcroppings adorn the slopes covered with ferns and mosses. Trillium, spring beauties and wild blue phlox carpet the forest floor. The woodlands are home to the wood thrush, barred owl, fox squirrel and raccoon while the fields support populations of bluebird, red-winged blackbird, cottontail rabbit and red fox.
Once called Poverty’s Knob, Mt. Jeez stands towering above the valley and offers a superior overlook of Malabar Farm. The high valley wall opposite of Mt. Jeez is where Ferguson Meadow is located. Ferguson is the setting of Bromfield’s story about “Zenobia” and is a frequent mention in Bromfield’s books, Pleasant Valley and Malabar Farm. The horse trail passes through the meadow and is the location of several important landmarks and features including the ‘Ferguson Rock Shelter and Falls’ and the foundation of the Ferguson home.
A visitor favorite, the Butternut Cave offers recreational needs for your adventurous side. Walk through the cool cave on a warm day for that natural, cooling refreshment.