Best Fall/Winter Hikes Around Columbus, OHPosted By: herlihywp Comments: 0 Categories: Columbus
Just because a chill is in the air doesn’t mean you must hunker indoors. In fact, the cooler months are a great time to go hiking. After all, the trails will be less crowded, and you’ll get to see the changing seasons firsthand. If you’re moving to Columbus, Ohio, you will want to take advantage of these five open hiking trails year-round.
Shale Hollow Park
Named for the twisting, winding Shale Hollow Stream, this park offers more than 210 acres to explore. Here, you’ll find fantastic rock formations nestled in 40-foot-tall shale cliffs that tower above the river below. Visit the white oak, maple, and hickory forests in fall to marvel at the changing colors. Shale Hollow Park, Lewis Center, OH, has two main trails: the Great Horned Owl Trail and the Overlook Trail. Both are just over a mile-long loop trails that run through wooded areas and near creeks.
Scioto Trail State Park
Head to Scioto Trail State Park in Chillicothe, OH, for gorgeous hiking through fall and into winter. You’ll find over 200 acres of lush woodlands nested here within the even larger Scioto Trail State Forest. Walk along the river on the (flat) Scioto Mile for a more urban experience. Three other trails offer opportunities to hike or bike, including the family-friendly Friendship Trail, which is .4 miles long and appropriate for a range of abilities. For more exercise, hit the 1-mile 3-C Trail, rated as moderate, or the more challenging 2-mile Church Hollow Trail.
Visit Walnut Woods Metro Park in Groveport, OH, after the first snowfall of the year to experience a winter wonderland. With 1,455 acres to explore, you’ll have many hiking options. Follow the 2.6 Sweetgum Trail to see the Tall Pines area; this easy loop is perfect for a quiet winter walk. Other options include the 2-mile Buckeye Trail, which follows Walnut Creek, or the 1.3-mile Kestrel Trail, which meanders through wetlands and joins up with the Monarch Trail for a longer hike if you’re so inclined.
Antrim Park Lake Trail
If you want to blend a walk with some ice skating, visit Antrim Park. At just 120 acres, this urban park in Columbus, OH, may be small, but it has a lot to offer. In winter, the quarried lake at the park’s heart freezes and becomes a popular ice-skating spot. Of course, you can simply hike the Lake Loop trail anytime. It’s just over a mile long and is used by bikers and hikers alike. Plenty of benches along the way offer the perfect place to relax and enjoy some lake views.
Highbanks Metro Park
If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare, head to Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis, Center, OH. Named for the stunning bluff that rises over 100 feet over the Olentangy State Scenic River below, this park offers more than 1,200 acres to explore. There are many trails in the park used by hikers, bikers, and (in the winter) cross-country skiers. The 2.3-mile Overlook Trail offers a bit of exercise, and you’re rewarded with stunning views at the end.
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