Metro Parks 49th Winter Hike Series kicks off in December

Catch up with friends and family as you hike the trails during Metro Parks 49th Annual winter Hike Series. Photo/Frank Jordan

No matter how far, no matter when, Metro Parks Winter Hikes have a trail for you to enjoy! Hike under the Twinkling Lights in December, start the New Year with New Traditions in January and Warm Your Heart at a park in February. Each month will feature six different parks where you can take a stroll, get your hike card stamped and maybe join a group for a walk. Bundle up, choose your route, grab a friend and go for a hike this winter in your Metro Parks.

  1. Visit the parks highlighted each month and hike any trail during the designated month.
  2. Have a staff member stamp your Winter Hike card. Download the winter hike card here.
  3. Join us at the celebration on February 27, 2022 to receive your new Winter Hike patch.
  4. Visit Friends of Metro Parks to find out how to earn hike medallions and additional swag.

Winter Hike Kick-off: December 1, 5-7pm at Blacklick Woods Metro Park.

Join us at the Nature Center for hot chocolate and take a walk along the boardwalk under the twinkling lights. We will also be accepting donations of canned food for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

The covered bridge at Homestead Metro Park decorated in holiday lights is a cheery sight in winter. Photo/Jen Boniface

December: Twinkling Lights 

Walk under the twinkling lights at Battelle Darby Creek, Blacklick Woods, Highbanks, Homestead and Inniswood during the month of December. Enjoy hot chocolate every Sunday from 5-7pm at these parks. Consider dropping off canned food donations for Mid-Ohio Foodbank as well. Come out to Chestnut Ridge for special evening lantern walks and hot chocolate on Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18.

January: New Year, New Traditions

Gather your friends and family for a hike on any trail at Blendon Woods, Sharon Woods, Scioto Audubon, Clear Creek, Prairie Oaks and Three Creeks. Enjoy refreshments at parks during the times listed.

Saturday, January 8, 10am-2pm Blendon Woods
Sunday, January 9, 10am- 2pm Sharon Woods
Saturday, January 15, 10am-2pm Scioto Audubon
Saturday, January 22, 10am-2pm Clear Creek
Sunday, January 23, 10am-2pm Prairie Oaks
Saturday, January 29, 10am-2pm Three Creeks

February: Warm Your Heart

Each Saturday from 10am-noon stop by a campfire at Glacier Ridge, Pickerington Ponds, Rocky Fork, Scioto Grove, Slate Run and Walnut Woods and warm up before or after your hike. As you hike the trails, search for Metro Parks wooden ornaments to take home as our gift to our visitors.

Winter Hike Celebration!  Sunday, February 27, 11am-3pm at Blacklick Woods Golf Course

Hike along the paths of our Audubon Sanctuary Golf Course, collect your Winter Hike patch or Friends of Metro Parks hiking stick and medallion, enjoy hot chocolate, warm up by the fire and borrow our skates to glide around the ice rink!

82 thoughts on “Metro Parks 49th Winter Hike Series kicks off in December

  1. Which of these winter hike locations, if any, would be appropriate for someone pushing a jogger-type stroller with big wheels?

  2. Why would the Winter Hike December 1 be in the evening when dark? Seems not a good time.

  3. I can’t wait! I love that I can hike when it’s convenient for me although I hope to make it to a lantern walk and also have a hot chocolate or 2! I discovered the winter hike series last year and it helped me through those long winter days of the pandemic. I also visited every one of our wonderful metro parks, many of which I had never been to before. I have since been back to several new favorites but still spend most of my time at my local park, Sharon Woods.

    1. Hi, Anita. The trail card will be available online soon or you can pick it up at any December winter hikes park. Thanks.

    1. Hi, Melissa. You do not need to hike every weekend. You can hike anytime at any of the parks featured that month. Thanks.

  4. in years past the trails and mile options were marked ie’ follow blue arrows” is that how it will be?. I am planning with friends and need to pick miles and time frames that work? Chestnut Ridge Dec 17th and HOmestead 19th, will there be options and arrows to follow, a marked “turn around point”? How can I figure out ahead of time to plan time frame? Whoot this is awesome, love the Rangers!! Jennifer Schmeisser jensmizer@yahoo.com or cell 614-425-6271

  5. Are you using the same booklet as last year to get stamped? Went to a park yesterday to get the one and it’s the same as last year

    1. Hi, Dave. No, we have a new booklet. It will be available on the website soon and will be available at December winter hike parks. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tina – are the trails with lights dog friendly? I don’t want to walk down a trail at dusk without the twinkling lights.

      Thanks and looking forward to the hikes either way!!

  6. Your instructions are somewhat confusing. Are we allowed to walk each park when WE want to walk it and have someone stamp our card/book? Many of us have weekend obligations, are retired and find it easier to walk during the week—–sometimes even 2 or 3 different parks in a day. Also, it is OFTEN difficult to find someone at each park to stamp things. How should we handle that???? We enjoyed how things were done last year and believe that that manner should be an option for doing the winter hike series.

    1. Hi, Wes. You can do the same thing you did last year. We just added meet up options for those who are interested. Thanks!

  7. Looking forward to the walks. Cocoa, fires, lanterns and lights! Thank you to Metro Parks for planning out winter walks.

  8. How about a simple, one page, plain, no frill, printable winter hiking schedule without pics. Ink is expensive and hard to get these days. Also, have the printable log sheets that need to be stamped by the parks rangers right next to it. Have this ready to go before you even post any of the stuff up above.

    1. How about you use a piece of paper to write things down, or put them in your calendar? The rangers always have the park stamps. The booklets are in the December parks that have nature centers/or offices such as Innis House. If it’s too much for you, there is no obligation to do this.

  9. I discovered the Hikes in 2012,and I have completed them each year.I have visited all of them except the new ones,but I plan to do so.
    I also am a member of Friends of the Metro Parks.

  10. Where is the schedule for all the organized winter hikes? I tried this site, the Facebook site for Metro Parks, and looking for hard copies at Sharon Woods Metro Park.

  11. Is there a designated time for the lantern walks/hot chocolate on 12/17 and 12/18? And are lanterns provided? Thank you!

  12. It would be great if the slippery wet boardwalks were addressed before someone slips and get hurt! I know they are slick at Blacklick and have been at Inniswood. Three possible ways to address this would be A) spread some sand on the older moldy boards B) scrub them (if the MP doesn’t want to use a biodegradable soap, just water would work), C) put down wire hardware cloth like they do in the Ohio state nature preserves. This is not rocket science, someone should be able to figure this out (before someone is transported).

  13. Took part in last years’ hiking & loved it. Got a very cool walking stick for completing it. I can pickup a recent booklet for stamps at any participating metro park? Is there a set schedule as in years past or will it be handled like this past year? Thanks.

  14. What time is the hot coco and lantern hike on Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18 at Chestnut Ridge? (There is no event on the Program Search for this hike.)

  15. Is there a link to where I can print off the winter hikes booklet. ? It would be nice if there was a link on the home page of the metropark website that took you to everything about the winter hike program. The printable booklet, a list of each months hikes and the dates for the hot chocolate etc. I’m either blind or it seems to be hard to find all the info. Thanks & sorry if it’s just blindness on my part, lol!

  16. So well there someone to stap your card at the designated parks listed. At anytime of the day seven days a week. Trying to douge the ran if possible.

  17. I hiked at Homestead and Battelle Darby Creek parks yesterday, but I couldn’t find anywhere to get a card nor a stamp. Is it possible to submit GPS data as proof?

  18. Do you have to do a certain number of hikes to earn the 2022 Winter Hike patch like in past years?

  19. Hi! I’m really excited about the lights this year! How late do the twinkling lights stay on rack evening?

  20. great way to start off the hikes, under the twinkling lights. we enjoy the winter hikes, the metro parks are so different in every season, thanks to all for making this possible.

  21. Do you have lanterns available? Thank you for having all these amazing events and the fun! I love twinkling lights, and not the cold, but need to get my hikes in, and didn’t do that this Spring, and Summer, or Fall much! I am grateful to still have an opportunity to do that at some fantastic places to see that I have never been to, and may just find some new favorites!!! I pray that everyone is careful, and has a fun, and safe Winter Hike all season! Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!!! 💌🧧🦌🛷🎅🍪🥛🤶🎄🎁 🙌 🤴 💝 🎊🎈🎉🪅🎏🎆🎇 💥

    1. Hi, Jane. No, the hikes are self-guided with no specific dates, so you’ll have to create your own calendar events. Thanks!

  22. How do we get a stamp if no one is at the park when we go there? I walked the Milkweed Trail at Chestnut Ridge today, but I couldn’t find anyone to stamp my card.

  23. Are there any lantern walks or night hikes this winter? I remember doing a night hike on Valentines evening last year, but I can’t remember the name of the park.

  24. Are any of the hikes guided, or will there be maps or signs to get you through the hike by yourself? I am looking to go to the one this Sunday but I’ve never been to the park.

    1. Hi, Brad and Jane. No, we do not. The hikes are self-guided and you can hike whenever you like during normal park hours. Thanks

  25. I suffer a bit from Seasonal Affect Disorder and these winter hikes are the perfect cure! No symptoms at all since I started the hikes 10 years ago. It’s not a cold as one would would think and downright fun. And hot coffee afterwards is the perfect finish! I feel more comfortable at scheduled events like this in the winter since there are Rangers and other people around. I also like that “makeup” hikes are allowed. This is a great program.

    1. Hi, Christie. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. We’re happy to hear the winter hikes bring you so much joy!

  26. Thank you so much for doing these special self-guided Winter hikes (and for making facebook events for them, too). I was very sad to miss the twinkling lights, which probably would have been my favorite part, but these motivate me to visit different parks when it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose and and hard to make happen. Thank you for tuning them into events and making it extra fun (and for the snacks too)!

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