Best Easy Day Hikes Columbus  by Susan Finch

Best Easy Day Hikes: Columbus Guide Book

by Susan Finch (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Columbus  by Susan Finch
Discover a region of diverse scenery and natural beauty- an area of wetland preserves, dense forests, rim trails, jagged outcroppings of blackhand sandstone, elaborate gardens, swamp forests, and gorge trails.

© 2009 Susan Finch/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: Columbus" Guide Book
Displaying trails 17 of 17.

Displaying trails 1 to 17 of 17.

Ancient glacial activity helped create the present-day A. W. Marion State Park and the surrounding Till Plains eco-region. Like many of the wetland areas and native forests of Ohio, the land was drained and converted to farmland by white settlers. Hike among the rolling hills around Hargus Lake for forested trails that are home to red foxes, ring-necked pheasants, Canada geese, turtles, and white-tailed deer.
Circleville, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
The Dyer Mill Trail is part of Battelle Darby Metro Park, the largest in the system. Dubbed one of the “last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere” by The Nature Conservancy, the park boasts oak-hickory forests, open meadows, a diverse ecosystem, and stunning views over Little and Big Darby Creeks. Frequent educational programs, festivities, group activities, winter hikes, and night hikes are scheduled year-round through the nature center. Leave the city behind and get lost in nature on this 2.5-mile hike. Follow along Little Darby Creek and loop into tall grass meadows and secluded woodlands. Hikers will get a taste of scenic river views, wildlife spotting, and open, tranquil fields.
West Jefferson, OH - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
The largest park in the system, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park features 6,786 acres of rolling fields, forests, and open prairies with 11 miles of trails ranging from easy to difficult. Hikers can choose from a selection of secluded walks, popular footpaths, guided hikes, and dog-friendly multipurpose trails. Hike your way from flat, easy terrain to sloping forest woodlands and get a taste for what the region’s largest metro park has to offer. The park is also popular for its ongoing efforts to preserve local rivers and wildlife.
West Jefferson, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
Walk along the rim of a sandstone gorge cut by the Licking River. Learn more about the park’s mysterious Native American legacy and ancient namesake. Hikers are rewarded with views of a quarry from the 1800s, towering cliffs, jagged rock, and sandstone outcroppings. Blackhand Gorge was named for a mysterious ancient petroglyph, or rock drawing, of a large hand impression on its wall. Legend has it that the soot-colored hand marked the boundary of a sacred Native American territory where no man was to raise his hand against another. Another story says it was a directional sign to the flint deposits in neighboring Flint Ridge. It’s thought that the region beyond the black hand and around Flint Ridge provided neutral territory for tribes looking for the valuable flint. The hand was destroyed when workers dynamited the walls of the cliff during construction of the Ohio-Erie Canal towpath in the 1800s, but the name of the gorge stuck.
Toboso, OH - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 1.8
The oldest metro park in the system, this 643-acre park features relatively undisturbed forest and wildlife with open meadows, fields, and seasonal ponds. Blacklick Woods officially opened to the public in 1948, making it the oldest metro park in the system. Its combination of paved multiuse trails for joggers and dogs and mostly untouched forestland nestled within a nature preserve also make it one of the region’s busiest metro parks. The park currently receives nearly one million visitors a year.
Reynoldsburg, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.9
Hike through oak-hickory and beech-maple forests along stream-cut ravines in a park renowned for its birding activity. Opened in 1951, 650-acre Blendon Woods Metro Park features stream-cut ravines nestled between beech-maple and oak-hickory forests. The park includes the 118-acre Walden Waterfowl Refuge with its 11-acre lake. This spot is popular with bird-watchers, who come here year-round.
Westerville, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
Hike along a ridge trail more than 150 feet high offering dazzling views of the Columbus skyline from the observation deck, blackhand sandstone, and woodland beauty. The sloping ridge along the 486-acre Chestnut Ridge Metro Park is 4,500 feet long and considered the first ridge among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. As the park’s name implies, the looming sandstone ridge was once covered with a thick forest of chestnut trees that were a valuable food source for Native Americans and locals.
Carroll, OH - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 1.9
Drive past “Leaning Leena” and hike along Clear Creek before ascending through a forest and accessing a secluded rim trail. Clear Creek Metro Park, one of the most pristine parks in the Columbus metro park system, is often overlooked. Located about 30 miles southeast of the Interstate 270 outer belt in the Hocking Hills region, the park is a jaunt for a day hike from Columbus. But for those looking for a hiking alternative from the city’s urban setting, Clear Creek provides a secluded atmosphere tucked away in the wilderness.
Rockbridge, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6
Hike along the rim of the hollow for sandstone overlooks, rock outcroppings, and tumbling waterfalls on one of the best scenic trails in Ohio. Afterwards, hike through the belly of the gorge for a look at the caves, grotto, and springtime wildflowers below. Conkle’s Hollow is one of the more unusual and scenic hiking spots in the entire Hocking Hills region. The park features towering cliffs of blackhand sandstone rising some 200 feet from the valley floor, a narrow rim trail, waterfalls, caves, and a grotto.
South Bloomingville, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Hike through rolling meadows and make a loop through an ornate Japanese garden, conifers, and wooded forests. Stop by the lake and take a walk through a deciduous cypress garden. Nature enthusiasts Beman and Bertie Dawes founded Dawes Arboretum in 1929. Beman originally worked in the lumber industry and developed an intense passion for trees. Today Dawes Arboretum includes upwards of 1,800 acres and 8 miles of hiking trails featuring more than 15,000 plants, a Japanese garden, an azalea glen, an all-seasons garden, Ohio buckeyes, a conifer glen, a bonsai garden, a cypress swamp, and a museum.
Jacksontown , OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
Now surrounded by farmlands, Glacier Ridge was named for the moraine that was left by the retreating Wisconsinan glacier. Today the area features a restored 250-acre wetland, a boardwalk, and an observation tower for a leisurely and informative hike. The 1,037-acre Glacier Ridge Metro Park offers multiuse trail options in a condensed area known for its wetland education access and public programs. One of the newer metro parks in the system, Glacier Ridge features agricultural land, woodlots, successional areas, and large open fields. The paved multi-use trails are both bike and dog friendly. Plastic bags for canine cleanup are available from the wooden kiosks located along Ironweed Trail.
Worthington, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.4
Wind through Edward F. Hutchins State Nature Preserve and stop by the observation deck for a 110-foot-elevation view of the Olentangy River. Meet up with Dripping Rock Trail for a hike through hardwood forests and shale outcroppings to see why this area has been designated a National Natural Landmark.
Lewis Center, OH - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 4.1
Hike along a sandstone gorge past waterfalls, rocks, and caves to discover the mystery of Hocking Hills’ hermit. Stop to see the unique streambed formation of Devil’s Bathtub and view the Sphinx Head rock formation.
South Bloomingville, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.1
Hike through a scenic nature preserve featuring over 2,000 species of plants, a rock garden, flowerbeds, and woodlands.
Westerville, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
Take a walk along the Scioto River in downtown Columbus for skyline views, outdoor pavilions, an interactive museum, and a touch of history. North Bank Park lies just north of downtown Columbus and in front of the city’s Arena and Pen West Districts. A member of the Scioto Mile network of downtown parks, North Bank is a part of the Mayor's plan to revitalize Columbus’s downtown to attract visitors and locals alike. Paved trails from the north connect the park to the Olentangy and Scioto Greenway Trails. To the south, visitors can walk to Battelle Riverfront Park, Bicentennial Parks, and Avenue of Flags. Today the park’s events are generally clustered around the pavilion along West Long Street and the outdoor amphitheater in front of the COSI Museum. The museum area features water fountains, a panoramic view of downtown, lawns, paved trails, and room to lounge.
Columbus, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
Hike through 762 acres of open meadows and bur oak forests before taking a stroll alongside Schrock Lake. 3.2 Arrive at the Honda Wetland Education Center. Unless you’ve arranged for a shuttle, retrace your steps.
Westerville, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
Take a walk through some of Ohio’s protected wetlands, explore a glacial outwash bank, and see migrating birds and more along the wetland boardwalk.
Royalton, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
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