Winter fun starts at Metro Parks

A sledder speeds down the hill at Sharon Woods. (Rick Bennett)

There’s a youngster that lives in all of us, whatever our real age might be. All alike, we feel excitement and delight as the snow falls and the hills beckon to our inner child to fetch our sleds or our skis or our skates for oodles of winter fun.

You can tell which of our winter facilities are open for use by checking our Twitter page or the alerts on our web pages. There’s lots to do when conditions are right, and it’s all free.

SLEDDING

Park visitors climb to the top of the hill on a busy sledding day at Battelle Darby Creek. (Tina Copeland)

Get out your sleds and head to one of seven parks that feature a great sledding hill. They are well spread, north, south, east and west, so there’s a hill close for everyone.

The sledding hills are at:
Battelle Darby Creek (8465 Alkire Road, Galloway—the canoe access point and Ohio to Erie trailhead)
Blacklick Woods Golf Courses (east of the Golf Course Activities Building)
Highbanks (Big Meadows Picnic Area)
Scioto Audubon (between the bocce courts and the Columbus Rotary obstacle course)
Scioto Grove (park at the Arrowhead Picnic Area)
Sharon Woods (sledding hill entrance is north of the main park entrance, on Cleveland Avenue)
Walnut Woods (a kiddie’s sledding hill in the Buckeye Area, close to the dog parks)

Park rangers are usually at the hills, or can be reached on the ranger cell phone, numbers available on each park’s web page.

ICE SKATING

A yuong hockey player carries the puck down the ice at Battelle Darby Creek’s skating pond. (Tina Fronk)

If you’re more interested in lacing up your skates and gliding across the ice in the crisp, open air, we have you covered. The skating ponds at Battelle Darby Creek (access from the Little Darby Picnic Area at 3711 Gardner Road, Georgesville) and Blendon Woods are shallow, for safety, and have plenty of room for skaters, both being close to half an acre in area.

We wait until we have a solid three inches of ice across the entire skating ponds before opening them. Again, check our Twitter page or web page alerts to see if the skating ponds are open. You can also try calling ahead, 614.370.6254 for Battelle Darby Creek, and 614.620.1861 for Blendon Woods.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Many people love to get out their skis and head to the parks for fantastic ski trails through the woods and fields. You can ski on all our park trails, when snow conditions allow it, except for Inniswood.

Cross-country skiers set off on the Coyote Run Trail at Highbanks. (Virginia Gordon)

At four of our parks we have trails that we reserve for cross-country skiing only, when snow conditions allow.

These are:

Battelle Darby Creek – the 3.2-mile Dyer Mill Trail
Blendon Woods – the 2-mile Sugarbush Trail
Highbanks – the 3.5-mile Coyote Run Trail and 0.6-mile Scenic River Trail
Prairie Oaks – the 5.7-mile Bridle Trail and 2.5-mile Coneflower Trail

Winter Hikers at Blacklick Woods. (Frank Jordan)

We hope this short review of our winter activity features will whet your appetite and entice you to come out to the parks for fun and adventure when snow and ice allows.

And even if we don’t have the right weather conditions for these special winter activities, a visit to the parks for a brisk walk through the woods is an ideal and healthy way to spend a few hours with friends on a cold winter’s day.

If you would rather walk in the company of hundreds of avid hikers, remember that the 45th season of Metro Parks’ Winter Hikes began on January 6 at Blacklick Woods and continues with one or two hikes every weekend until the last hike at Battelle Darby Creek on Sat Feb 24. You can see the full schedule of winter hikes here. Hot food and drinks are offered at the end of every hike.

 

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