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June 5 marks National Trails Day, a time to celebrate the wonderful trail systems throughout Central Ohio. Lace up your hiking boots and hit a trail or two. From easy saunters through the woods to challenging hikes through rough terrain, you’re bound to find a trail you love in your Metro Park.
Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life at Clear Creek. You’ll find solitude and serenity as you hike the 2.5-mile Cemetery Ridge Trail. Admire stands of oak, beech, birch and maple trees as you zig-zag your way up the ridge. Once you reach the top, pause to catch your breath as this hike is a difficult and steep climb. There’s an old barn that sits atop the ridgeline that was built in 1837. As you near the end of the trail, the forest gives way to a beautiful meadow full of honeybees and butterflies. These meadows and prairies offer spectacular and colorful landscapes in the fall as goldenrod and sumac bloom.
If you search the landscape hoping for a glimpse of wildlife flying above or scurrying about below, the Killdeer Trail at Pickerington Ponds is for you. The 1.1-mile trail passes Blue Wing Pond and leads to an observation deck overlooking Pintail Marsh. This trail is a birding mecca. Bring your binoculars and look for a pair of bald eagles with their babies perched high up in the trees. You might see osprey hunting and waterfowl basking in the pond. This easy trail is perfect for those looking to soak up the sunshine and marvel at all the majestic birds soaring overhead.
Head out to Scioto Grove for a leisurely stroll through the woods. The entire park is pet-friendly, so don’t forget to bring your pup. The 1.8-mile REI River Trail features a rope swing bridge that kids and adults love to walk across as well as stepping stones that cross a small stream. The easy, primitive trail runs along the Scioto River and passes through a beautiful wooded forest. You can hear various birds calling out or listen to the river run its course. If you just can’t get enough of Scioto Grove, extend your visit and reserve a campsite along the trail. You can make reservations here.
With more than 230 miles of trails, Metro Parks offers a wide array of trails for the novice to the seasoned pro. Happy hiking!