This time of year can be especially prime for hiking because of the cooler temperatures and colorful, ever-changing trees. Be sure to make an effort this fall to step away from our busy new normal, and enjoy nature. Here are some of the best spots to hike in Ohio:
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers over 125 miles of hiking trails and is made up of 33,000 acres. This is Ohio's only national park and boasts beautiful fall colors this time of year. It is located in Northeast Ohio between the Cleveland and Akron area. There is no entrance fee for the park, and there are hiking options for every comfort level. Brandywine Gorge Trail is a simple 1.5 mile hike that features a waterfall.
The most popular is the Ledges Trail. It is a moderate 2.2 mile hike that features a gorgeous overlook and rock formations mixed with fall foliage. The Buckeye Trail is known for its peace and quiet. Blue Hen Falls is located within The Buckeye Trail and hosts lovely water views. This trail is known to be more challenging due to its elevation and longer duration.
Sugarcreek MetroPark consists of multiple trails and is both pet and family-friendly. It is recognized for offering a variety of scenic nature experiences and foliage. Orange Trail, an easy 1.3 mile trail, is perfect for a quick view of nature's beauty. Orange Trail is known for its breathtaking Osage Orange Tunnel. Clusters of trees curve to form a tunnel perfect for you to admire while walking through. Orange Trail also features the "Three Sisters," dubbed that name for three ancient white oak trees within the park. Two currently survive and are 550 years old. "Big Sister," the largest of the three, reaches an incredible height of 141 feet. To learn more about Sugarcreek MetroPark, visit its website.
Hocking Hills State Park
Located in Logan, Hocking Hills State Park is the perfect nature getaway. It is open year-round from dawn until dusk. Hocking Hills also provides rental cabins, cottages and a campground, so you can spend multiple days exploring all this park has to offer. The numerous trail systems are all one-way this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The seven different hiking areas include Conkle's Hollow, Hemlock Bridge Trail, Cantwell Cliffs, Ash Cave, Rock House, Old Man's Cave and Cedar Falls. Whether you are looking to explore cliffs and caves or walk immersed in trees, Hocking Hills State Park has it all.
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail
This trail is a part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park system. However, the trail deserves its own section due to its multiple access points, incredible length (87 miles) and an excellent fit for any age. The Towpath is a relatively flat gravel path suitable for walking or biking. There are 48 trailheads along the 87 miles stretching across four counties (Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas).
The Towpath provides more than just exercise; history is woven throughout the trail. It was used from 1827 to 1913 as a course for mules to pull canal boats along the Ohio and Erie Canal. The key visitor centers, located on the route, provide historical and cultural lessons.
John Bryan State Park
Yellow Springs is home to this picturesque 752-acre park. There are 10 hiking trails to choose from, ranging in length.
Gorge Trail features the limestone gore, cut by the calm waters of the Little Miami River. According to their website, more than 100 different trees and shrubs have been identified in the park, making an excellent spot to admire fall foliage. Once you are done hiking, you can continue the fun by boating, rock climbing, camping and more at this state park.