The 2.5-mile Dripping Rock Trail at Highbanks Metro Parks is a great trail for a family hike with the kids. This trail is moderate in elevation as it winds through woodlands, above streams with shale ledges dripping water and through the park’s largest and most heavily wooded ravine. Make sure you wander down to the ravine and look for concretions, ball-shaped rocks formed by the glaciers. You’ll see a conical Adena mound on your walk. Combine the Overlook and Dripping Rock trails to get a 5.8-mile workout.
For solitude and serenity, take the Cemetery Ridge Trail at Clear Creek Metro Park through a forest of oak, beech, birch and maple and along the top of a ridge. It’s a moderate 2.6-mile, one-way hike that can be combined with the Fern and Creekside Meadow trails for a longer trek and a chance to see more of the park. You’ll climb nearly 700 feet through a forest of oak, beech, black birch, maple and tulip poplar before leveling out. On the top of the ridge line there’s an old barn that was built in 1837. Near the end of the trail, the path leaves the forest and winds through a meadow where honeybees and butterflies frolic.
One of the biggest draws to Blendon Woods is its many birding opportunities for avian watchers of all abilities. Stop by the nature center before you pick a trail to find out where our feathered friends hang out. For an easy walk, take the 0.3-mile Lake Trail that leads out to Walden Waterfowl Refuge. The trail also connects to the Brookside, Hickory Ridge and Overlook trails if you want to add a few more miles. You’ll see Coopers’ hawks, pileated woodpeckers, warblers and indigo buntings along the way. Look through the spotting scopes in the blinds and you’ll see a variety of waterfowl floating along on Thoreau Lake.