Five-Star Trails Columbus  by Robert Loewendick

Five-Star Trails: Columbus Guide Book

by Robert Loewendick (Menasha Ridge Press)
Five-Star Trails Columbus  by Robert Loewendick
Five-Star Trails: Columbus is the most current and comprehensive guide to hiking the area and rates hikes on the following factors: scenery, trail condition, difficulty, appropriateness for children, and solitude. Each hikes also includes detailed landmarks, flora, fauna, and local history. In this Columbus guide, an impressive collection of routes ranges north, east, south, and west from the metro center, as well as within the urban setting. This capital city is rich in metro parks, natural areas and preserves, state parks, and state forests. And this diversity of hiking terrain invites all levels of abilities and skills. Thus, this guidebook is geared not only to avid trekkers seeking more challenge than a paved neighborhood path, but also to families and senior citizens. Outdoor enthusiasts of every stripe will have reason to grab this book and, well, take a hike.

© 2013 Robert Loewendick/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Five-Star Trails: Columbus" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 31.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 31.

A canoe gliding across the surface of Hargus Lake is only one of the pleasant scenes a hiker may encounter while circling the shore. Hargus Lake Trail runs through a hardwood forest, up and down ridges, and crosses ravines and tributaries feeding the pretty lake. Pause atop a lakeside bluff and gaze down at the water lightly licking the southern shoreline. The west side of the lakeshore is dotted with picnic areas and playgrounds, which are the only locations in this quiet little park that get busy.
East Ringgold, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
This 300-acre park is packed with a network of hiking trails covering it all. Our hike starts at the lodge overlooking the park’s easily accessed fishing lake. A wide, groomed stone path sneaks out of the lodge parking lot and climbs a forested ridge. After reaching the top, it spills over the south side and arrives at a remote lake. Enjoy a waterside break, then travel around the ridge at a lower point to return to the main lake. Cross a dam, and then explore a smaller ridge viewpoint before returning down to the lodge parking area. This hike includes the Blackhand, Lakes, Twin Lakes, Alley, Buck Run, and Christmas Ferns Trails.
Lancaster, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
Battelle Darby Creek is the largest park in the Metro Park system. The Big Darby and Little Darby Creeks, both designated State and National Scenic Rivers, run through its center. The Ancient Trail travels along the Big Darby where American Indians once maintained a village. The Terrace Trail explores a forest standing 100 feet above the fertile creek bottom. The blend of prairies, woodlands, and waterways creates an oasis for wildlife—and wildlife observers. The 7,060-acre park offers lots to see and do, and a hike is a great way to get started.
West Jefferson, OH - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.9
Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve offers hikers two options—a level, paved roadway path and one that caters to the more adventurous. If you prefer solitude on the trail, then the Marie Hickey Trail is your best bet. It rambles over the hills and through the woods, providing views of distant ridges and peeks down 50-foot bluffs to the Licking River below. Add the short Oak Knob Trail and you have a complete set of woodland trails. The trail skirts along the top edges of ravines rich with wildlife. Go slowly so as not to spook the show.
Toboso, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
A brick paved path welcomes hikers at the parking area and then leads to the nature center and the trailhead. This hike connects the Buttonbush, Walter A. Tucker, Maple Loop, and Beech Trails to make one round route. The first section runs along the edge of a woodland swamp and a forest, while the second section explores deeper into the hardwood forest. The third section encircles a woodland pond and passes through a picnic area and playgrounds.
Reynoldsburg, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
A walk in the woods drops down a ridge to stroll by a woodland creek that includes two crossings on footbridges. A short stint on a connector trail brings you back by your vehicle, but before leaving, a level, paved trail cuts through a woodland and ends at a waterfowl refuge with two wildlife observation blinds. A nature center filled with flora and fauna demands a visit before wrapping up a day in this pretty park. This hike combines the Brookside, Overlook, Ripple Rock, Pond, and Hickory Ridge Trails.
Hoover Reservoir, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
The Ridge Trail is all uphill for the first quarter of this hike. The climb through forested ridge is invigorating, but also informative thanks to several interpretive signs strategically placed along the trail. Once at the ridgetop, you’ll find two observation decks, the first offering a view of the Columbus skyline. Drop to a lower elevation on the Meadows Trail to cross a creek meandering through a mixed grass meadow.
Carroll, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.9
Walk through a creekside meadow of wildflowers to reach the start of a 4-mile stretch of seclusion and serenity. After climbing a steep switchback to the ridgetop, cruise along a mowed service road. Views of neighboring ridges sporadically open up on both sides of the forested crest trail before you descend into a mature hemlock forest. Maneuver around and over mossy boulders through the thick forest, before bursting out of the woods to follow the Clear Creek once again. This hike includes the Cemetery Ridge, Hemlock, and Creekside Meadows Trails.
Rockbridge, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
Conkle’s Hollow features a fine representation of what the popular Hocking Hills region is all about, and without a lot of company on the trails. Cruise the concrete Gorge Trail up the center of the deep and colorful gorge for an easy walk and awesome view of geological wonders. Return to the gorge entrance, and if you are adventurous and not overly scared of heights, climb the wooden stairway up nearly 200 feet to the edge of the gorge rim. The East and West Rim Trails form a 2-mile loop with several toes-to-the-edge views of the deep hollow below.
South Bloomingville, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
The Oak Trail is the longest hiking trail at Dawes Arboretum, which gives hikers the most interaction with this special place. The numerous collections of trees and plants are grouped in sections, and the Oak Trail finds its way through nearly every assembly. With all the beautiful displays, the hike is over before you know it. A short companion loop will have you walking on stones a few inches above the pond surface in the Japanese Garden. Near the end of the Dawes adventure, hikers enter a deep wood and take a boardwalk stroll through a cypress swamp, which will keep the camera shutter clicking.
Jacksontown, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.7
Explore a wide valley floor and its meadows, tree rows, and ponds flourishing with wildlife. Stay on the trails, as you will see many red flags marking various research plantings. Enjoy the forest of mixed hardwoods before arriving at a stand of mature conifers. Travel up and over a series of ravines covered with a forest canopy interrupted by a few brushy runs on sunny open sections.
Licking County, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.4
The American Indians considered this wide ridge an important source of the vital mineral flint. Today, the material and the efforts to extract it remain the highlight of the place. Trails lead trekkers through the maze of ancient flint quarries and the surrounding deciduous forest that covers the ridge and its slopes. Allow extra time to pause and reflect on the edge of the shallow quarries and ponder the lives lived here hundreds of years ago.
Toboso, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.7
The partnering of a city park with a neighboring state nature preserve creates a quick but nature-filled getaway without leaving the city. Walk a paved maintenance road to escape the parking area, and 100 yards later a few grassy trail options appear. Travel a figure eight through a woodlot tucked behind a subdivision where tall pines provide a peaceful setting and a pleasing aroma. Pop back out at the parking lot and then glide into a more secluded portion of the hike. The Gahanna Woods State Nature Preserve hosts the southern half of this trek; it’s fairly quiet except for the jets from Port Columbus International Airport 2 miles away. Nearly the entire hike is immersed in woodlands, and more than half traverses swamp habitat.
Reynoldsburg, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.9
Walk the prairie covering a rise in the flat landscape that was created by a receding glacier 15,000 years ago. Urban sprawl has worked its way up from Columbus, but is held at bay by the Glacier Ridge Metro Park. The Marsh Hawk Trail takes hikers in a big circle, but it’s not a boring stroll in the park. Vernal pools, wetlands, woodscapes, grasslands, and a wind and solar learning center are the life of this hiking party.
Worthington, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
The trip begins with dozens of steps down stone stairs to a valley bottom crossed with flowing creeks. The trail rises slowly from the creek bottom to rock formations created by nature, and remnants of a man-made dam. Bypass a small waterfall and then a colorful spring emerging from stone that gave the supporting town its name—Yellow Springs. Cross a footbridge over a cascading creek and descend a forested ridge alongside a cliff edge. Do a creekside loop before re-crossing the footbridge to explore the cascading creek and returning to the starting point.
Yellow Springs, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
Although hatcheries are usually about fish, it’s the birdlife here that attracts hikers. The 25-acre wetland will hold your attention as you tread along and through the carefully managed swamp. In the fall, multiple species of waterfowl pause there to rest in mid-migration to the south. You should pause yourself to listen and watch for flocks of ducks lining up a landing or taking off. Green herons and the larger blue heron are regularly heard croaking overhead. A jaunt through the 50-acre wet woods will surround you with a variety of wildlife and birdlife calling to each other and offering photo ops galore. Pack extra camera batteries. The park was designated a Watchable Wildlife Area by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Buckeye Lake, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
Before the hike, tour the comprehensive nature center to learn about the landscape. Tread through a forest to an observation deck at a meadow’s edge. Continue your walk through the woods and cross a few creeks on footbridges before arriving at the Overlook Trail. Pause at a small collection of gravestones and learn what life was like here two centuries ago. Pass through a break in prehistoric earthworks and reach the deck overlooking the Olentangy State Scenic River. Rejoin the Dripping Rock Trail and visit an Adena Indian mound before returning to the nature center.
Lewis Center, OH - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 4.8
Walk through a gorge with some of Ohio’s most-visited geological wonders at Hocking Hills State Park. Follow Grandma Gatewood’s Trail past Old Man’s Cave and several impressive rock formations created by water and time. This popular trail crosses a few bridges and pauses at a few waterfalls. As it distances itself from the visitor center, the crowds vanish. Climb over rocks and up, down, and through fallen cliff boulders on the way to Cedar Creek Falls—the turnaround point. Return to the heavily visited cave via the Gorge Overlook Trail while passing by a remote trout lake.
South Bloomingville, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.7
Two trails, Woodland Ridge and Pinegrove, lead hikers through two primary forest environments, deciduous and evergreen. The loops are linked with a ravine crossing on a 40-foot wooden bridge, and a set of stairs on each side of the ravine. The two loops are easy walking (with little elevation change), and the crushed limestone trails are well groomed. At the southern point of the Pinegrove Trail, a wood wall with viewing slots provides a fun wildlife blind along a pond. At the end of the hike, the Mary Barber McCoy Nature Center offers multiple displays with interpretive signage.
Kilbourne, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.1
The trail travels over diverse topography, including prairie lands, steep hillsides, and mixed forest. Each turn exposes a change in wildlife habitat, which creates equally diverse viewing opportunities. Some trail sections are popular among equestrians, so watch your step. The hike starts at a lake’s edge, and near the last leg of the trek, you will snake your way down into and back out of a wooded ravine. The varied terrain will keep your hiking boots limber.
Licking County, OH - Hiking - Trail Length: 4