Top 10 Ohio Family Hikes (so far)
Since we are halfway through the year of adventure, I thought I would do a quick recap of our ten best Ohio hikes we’ve done so far.
10. Emily Traphagen Preserve – This was a nice easy hike, with a really great natural playground at the parking lot. There is also a nice trail down to the water and the girls and Jake had a great time throwing logs into the water. This one was jogging stroller friendly, so I could have easily done this one on my own with the kids.
9. Sugar Creek Metro Park – The main reason I liked this place was the GIANT trees. There are three trees here called the three sisters, which are estimated to be 550 years old. If you want to feel small, this is great hike to ogle some of natures finest work. It’s no California Redwood, but at least you don’t have to leave the state.
8. Highbanks Metro Park – This place has something for everyone, so it makes my list of favorites because you can’t go wrong here. There are several unique trails, as well as playgrounds, a natural play area, and a really nice nature center. The trails and scenery feel a million miles from civilization, but you are only ten minutes from the mall. The nature center here is amazing. When I was there with Abby she didn’t want to leave the kids area, and the library and viewing area was so cozy I could go back there with a good book and sit for hours.
7. Blendon Woods Metro Park – Another metro park with a great variety of trails and playgrounds. When we were there in March it was cold and rainy, and we still enjoyed the views and trails. If you are heading out on a lovely sunny day you could easily have a picnic, check out a playground, and have a choice of hikes. I really want to go back and explore this place more when it isn’t 50 degrees and raining. They recently opened a brand new natural play area that I can’t wait to check out.
6. Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve – The main section of this park is a multi-use paved trail that is great for strollers or bikes, and follows the Licking River for it’s entire 4 miles. It’s scenic and easy to access. If you are looking for a really neat hike with a slice of history, the Canal Lock trail is a must. I loved this little trail. Portions of an old canal lock can are still standing, and you can walk through.
5. Walnut Woods Metro Park – I would call this trail hiking lite. It has no elevation changes and is a wide paved or gravel path. This place is great for strollers. The trees here are really something though. There’s and an entire section of the trail called the tall pines area, that is full of tall pines! We were there in February, so the trees were pretty barren, and it was still neat. I can’t wait to go back when the park is full of green.
4. Christmas Rocks Nature Preserve – This place offers zero amenities, but the views make the hassle worth it. If you want to look out over miles of trees and farmland from a lovely rock perch then this one is for you. If you can’t do trail peeing, skip it. There’s no bathrooms or even a real parking lot. Personally those things don’t bother me much. We only saw one other couple hiking while we were here, so it felt incredibly private. This preserve is also rocking a very Disney forest vibe, there were hundreds of butterflies when we went at the end of May.
3. Char Mar Ridge Park – This is not a huge park, but it packs a lot into a small footprint. There is only one trail here, 1.7 miles, and a natural play area with the perfect creek access for little kids. We were first here in February and planned to hike, but ended up spending hours in the natural play area. It was a freak warm day, and the kids played in the creek almost the entire time. We went back in May to hike the trail. Since it was a gravel trail I took the stroller, but I really shouldn’t have. This trail has a lot of elevation change which is challenging with a double jogger. The girls loved this place and literally ran almost the whole trail. In May it was so green and peaceful, and I also love that it is only about 10 minutes from home.
2. Mohican State Park – This was one of our first longish hikes with the kids, and they did so well! We did the Lyons Falls Trail, about 2 miles. Olivia hiked the whole thing, with help from 14,000 snacks. We learned a couple valuable lessons about packing enough food and timing around naps, but overall I loved it. The falls were so interesting in the winter, we spent a while plucking icicles from the cave walls. The trail was fairly easy and had a few great climbing rocks and a small stream crossing that kept the kids entertained.
1. Lake Hope State Park – This hike was so beautiful! We did Peninsula Trail, about 3 miles. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it was a challenging hike! We took my parents and my sister, and we were all able to complete it but we were very tired by the end. This park is such a hidden gem for me. Maybe everyone else already knew about it, but I was blown away. We went on Memorial Day weekend, and the lake was completely covered in blooming lily pads. I didn’t get a great shot of the lake, but it was covered in pink flowers. We saw several turtles, toads, interesting tracks and a salamander (I’m pretty sure it was a salamander?). My mom and sister also climbed on a fallen log so…. day.made. This one takes the top slot for me due to the amazing lake views from the entire trail, and the neat wildlife that really kept the kids engaged.