While Columbus is experiencing rapid urbanization, it is bordered by extensive forests and glacial remnants, making for excellent hiking paths in and around the city. Efforts to protect and maintain parkland have aided in the creation of chances for city inhabitants and outdoor enthusiasts to get their hiking fix without having to drive far. Within the city limits of Columbus, as well as in Metro Parks throughout the city, there are hundreds of hiking routes. Great parks can be found in the Columbus suburbs and in state parks within a short drive from the city center. If you are living in Ohio and looking for hiking trails near me, then this post is a must-read for you.
Plan your excursions with our list of the best hiking trails near Columbus, whether you’re out for a brief stroll or an all-day hike.
1: Scioto Mile
Most hiking trails within Columbus city limits are more akin to walking trails, although the Scioto Mile multi-use path is one of the best in the city for a brisk stroll. The paved trail goes along the Scioto River in downtown Columbus, through North Bank Park, the Arena District, and the Whittier Peninsula, as well as green space and nine parks. The urban trail serves as the focal point of downtown Columbus.
If you need a break, you can relax on one of the numerous seats along the walks, find a shady tree, or listen to the outdoor music that is frequently played at Bicentennial Park’s pavilion. If you need to refuel throughout your trek, stop into Milestone 229 restaurant. The Scioto Mile links to a network of other paths throughout the city and surrounds.
Address: 233 Civic Center Drive, Columbus, Ohio
2: The Hemlock Trail
The Hemlock Trail at Clear Creek Metro Park is ideal for a brief but tough stroll. The steep terrain that takes you past a ravine and sandstone walls makes the 1.5-mile trek difficult. Because of the shade given by the enormous hemlock trees and forest cover, this trip is ideal for a hot day.
The park is famous for its over 2,000 plant and animal species, including carpets of ferns. Please keep in mind that this is a one-way route, so plan ahead of time with enough water and time to return to your car.
Address: 185 Clear Creek Road, Rockbridge, Ohio
3: The Overlook Trail
The Overlook Trail within Blendon Woods Metro Park is a pleasant, family-friendly hiking trail near Columbus. The Overlook Walk is a 0.6-mile wooded trail that is ideal for beginners. This trail links to the 0.4-mile Ripple Rock Trail, which has gravel terrain and some steep sections. It also links to the Hickory Ridge Trail, which is 0.3 mile long and runs through the woods.
Combining all three routes and then adding the 0.3-mile walk to the Walden Waterfowl Refuge and Thoreau Lake, all of which are preserved areas rich in animals and birds, would make for an excellent trip in Blendon Woods.
Address: 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road, Westerville, Ohio
4: Rocks and Roots Trail
Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, just north of Columbus, features a number of excellent hiking routes, including the Rocks and Roots Trail, which has a North and South Loop option. This is a somewhat difficult trail that is also popular with runners searching for demanding terrain and elevation variations. The Rocks and Roots North Loop is a six-mile hike that offers stunning views of the forest and a lake.
This trail’s South Loop is 6.1 miles long and meanders through lovely forested terrain, attracting a broad diversity of bird species. Because the South Loop passes through public hunting zones, it is recommended that you wear bright colours if you hike this trail. A trailhead and parking are accessible near the Alum Creek State Park office parking lot, right off Peachblow Road.
Address: 3615 S. Old State Road, Delaware, Ohio
5: Camp Chase Trail
The Camp Chase Trail is a 10.9-mile paved stretch of Ohio to Erie Trail, which runs from Columbus to London. Because full Ohio to Erie Trail is 326 miles long, you can extend your journey by doing several portions at once.
The elevation difference of 231 feet if you walk the full route is the trail’s distinguishing feature. It follows an active train track and runs through rural areas, providing scenic views while sharing the path with bikers and other hikers. As you travel through Columbus, you will also have the opportunity to see the Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery. Parking is accessible at the Columbus trailhead, which is located near the trail’s eastern end.
Address: 275 S. Wilson Road, Columbus, Ohio
6: Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve
The Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, located 45 minutes southwest of Columbus, has some of the best hiking trails in the state. The trail winds through a steep gorge, with lookouts along the way. Because the route passes through a state nature preserve, you will see wonderful unspoilt beauty such as little waterfalls (which are lovely frozen in the winter), limestone rocks, tiny wildflowers on the forest floor in early spring, and rushing water through the valley. The views and fragrances of this natural setting enhance the hike.
There is a trailhead and parking lot in Clifton, or you can begin your trip near Yellow Springs at John Bryan State Park, which connects to Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. Near the Clifton trailhead, you can take a break or eat lunch at the historic Clifton Mill.
Address: 2381 State Route 343, Yellow Springs, Ohio
7: Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve
The hiking trail that goes through Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve in southern Ohio is a 45-minute drive from Columbus, but it’s well worth the trip for a day outside. The paths through this preserve are exceptionally lovely because they are located in the Hocking Hills Region, which is one of the most popular hiking places in Ohio.
Because of the high sandstone cliffs and 200-foot drop-offs that make this walk tough and beautiful, this is not a trail for novices. There are two gorge trails, each with its own set of plant and wildlife characteristics. This is a recommended trail if you want a variety of natural challenges and have already completed the other trails in the region.
Address: 24858 Big Pine Road, Rockbridge, Ohio
8: Buckeye Trail
The 1,444-mile Buckeye Trail circles Ohio, but a lovely stretch near Columbus runs through Caesar Creek State Park, which is only about a 45-minute drive southwest of Columbus. The Buckeye Trail segment that runs through the park provides approximately 20 miles of dirt hiking.
You can stay on the Buckeye Trail or branch out to enjoy some of the other hiking paths in the park, which include a waterfall and a swinging bridge. The Perimeter Trail is particularly lovely. The 0.81-mile walk circles a beautiful part of Caesar Creek Lake. This trail is best for Columbus residents who are looking for hiking near me.
Address: 8570 East State Route 73
9: Rockbridge State Nature Preserve
The Rockbridge State Nature Preserve has another wonderful hiking track just outside of Columbus (about 45 minutes). This 2.75-mile trail is wonderful since it incorporates the gorgeous landscape of the Hocking Hills region while being less crowded than other hiking locations such as Old Man’s Cave.
The natural rock bridge that extends across a ravine and is 100 feet long and just 10 to 20 feet wide is what distinguishes this trail. It is Ohio’s greatest natural bridge and one of several natural wonders you will discover along this walk.
This walk is best suited for individuals going for a more relaxed stroll and who want to enjoy the natural surroundings, which include sandstone outcroppings, which are abundant in this area, wildflowers, birds, and waterfalls.
Address: 11475 Dalton Road, Rockbridge, Ohio
10: Overlook & Dripping Rock Trail
The combined Overlook and Dripping Rock route at Highbanks Metro Park is one of the most popular in the Columbus Metro Parks system. The 5.8-mile trail is one of numerous within the park, but it is a favorite with hikers due to the rolling terrain and beauty, as well as the loop that allows you to start and end at the visitor center.
The park is located along the banks of the Olentangy River, with shale bluffs and steep ravines. The Dripping Rock Trail and the Overlook Trail are both moderate hikes through the woodland and the state nature preserve. One of the most memorable parts of this trek is stopping at the Overlook platform, which lies 100 feet above the Olentangy River, to search for nearby nesting bald eagles.
Address: 9466 US-23, Lewis Center, Ohio