Day Trips in the Metro Parks

Outdoor Adventure Programmer

Some may find it surprising to know that the Metro Parks are home to 230 miles of trails to explore! Whether you are on the northwest side near Glacier Ridge, or on the southeast side near Walnut Woods, there are a variety of hiking adventures to plan your day around. Here are suggestions for three parks you should try out soon.


If you are up for a gravel trail adventure that is close to home, Highbanks Metro Park has what you’re looking for! The nature center at Highbanks is a great place to start your day, featuring cultural history as well as amazing views of nature through the gorgeous picturesque windows facing the park. Following the nature center, take a hike on the Dripping Rock Trail, which features 2.5 miles of forest, along with close up views of the ravine that traverses its way through the park! If you plan to bring your furry friend along, the Coyote Run Trail, which is 3.5 miles long, is perfect for leashed animals, trailing though sections of the forest as well as leading to a loop around the adena mound and prairie area. Parking at the nature center is perfect for those interested in learning more about the local wildlife as well as taking a hike on the Dripping Rock, Coyote Run or Multi-Purpose trails.

Bridge on the Dripping Rock Trail at Highbanks. Photo Seth Stachowiak


If a backwoods serene adventure is more your style, take a trip down to Clear Creek Metro Park! Located just outside of Lancaster, Clear Creek is home to a variety of native plants and animals, perfect for nature lovers looking to go off the grid for a day to venture through the rugged topography that southern Ohio is known for. Pack a lunch and travel through the forest on the Cemetery Ridge Trail, looping back to the Fern Picnic area, or keep hiking west towards the Valley View Picnic area. With a variety of connecting trails, Clear Creek is the perfect choice for a day trip that includes beautiful nature views as well as fulfilling hikes.

Sunrise over the valley at Clear Creek Metro Park. Photo Macy Tallarico


If staying in Columbus is more ideal for you, spend the day at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Scioto Audobon is a burst of nature amid the bustling industry of downtown, perfect for individuals or families looking for an escape while still being in the city. This park is a prime spot to access the Scioto Greenway Trail, which spans for 10 miles along the Scioto River. If you want to add a touch of adventure to your day trip to Scioto Audubon, bring your kayak or stand up paddle board and launch at the boat ramp to head north to catch a glimpse of breathtaking views of the downtown skyline!

Downtown Columbus from a kayak on the Scioto River. Photo Macy Tallarico

Whether you want to stay close to home, or travel for a deep-woods hike, the Metro Parks offer an abundant variety of trails to plan your perfect day trip around. Happy Hiking!

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