BRANDON NOVOTNY, Prairie Oaks Ranger
Canoeing and kayaking are two of the best ways to see your Metro Parks. From magnificent wildlife, to breathtaking sunsets and scenic views, a float down the river won’t disappoint.
You’re bound to see ospreys and bald eagles flying the river corridor at Battelle Darby Creek, Prairie Oaks, Scioto Audubon, Scioto Grove and Three Creeks. Paddle Big Darby Creek, Scioto River and Alum, Big Walnut and Blacklick creeks to see these incredible birds.
You can also find minks and beavers throughout the parks, but you have an especially good chance to see them if you are paddling Big Darby Creek at Prairie Oaks.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot a river otter in Big Darby Creek at Battelle Darby Creek. It’s rumored that the small but growing population, about 8,000 in Ohio, have been seen in a few Central Ohio rivers. Although rare, they’re worth looking out for.
Sunrises and Sunsets
For the most incredible sunsets, float out at Darby Bend Lakes at Prairie Oaks. The sunsets are killer.
Paddle along the Olentangy River through Highbanks and marvel at the huge, 100-foot high shale bluff for which the park is named. It’s an awesome view and you can see the eagles nest from a different perspective. Park up in Big Meadows and float down to the new river bluff property. It will take you through the park, past the bluffs and by the eagle’s nest.
8 thoughts on “Float on through the parks”
Do any of the parks provide canoes to use on the Darby Creek?
Hi, Ben. You can rent canoes from Trapper John’s Canoe Livery in Grove City (Darbydale). Thanks!
Floating down the park sounds lovely – how do you get back to your car?
Hi, Colleen. If you’re not participating in a canoeing/kayaking program at one of the Metro Parks, you can paddle at Darby Bend Lakes at Prairie Oaks. If you want to canoe or kayak along one of the creeks, you will need a second vehicle to pick you up at your end point.
if I wanted to kayak at Highbanks Metro, where would I rent the kayak and how do I know where in the park to shove off?
Leslie, the canoe/kayaking access at Highbanks is in the River Bluff Area, which you can see on the park map: https://www.metroparks.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/HBKfirstname.lastname@example.org. We do not have kayaks or canoes for rent.
Looking for an area where some in the family can kayak while some picnic and have access to playground or open area. Any suggestions?
Laura, thanks for your inquiry. We have canoe/kayak access at five parks*, and you can access details from this page of our website: https://www.metroparks.net/programs-and-activities/park-activities/
The canoe/kayak access points in the Darby Bend Lakes area at Prairie Oaks are close to picnic shelters (with grills), which are available on a first-come first-serve basis. You can also check park maps on each of the five parks pages to see where the nearest picnic and play areas are to the canoe/kayak locations. *(Battelle Darby Creek, Highbanks, Prairie Oaks, Three Creeks, Walnut Woods)
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