Hours and Info

April 1-September 30: 6:30am-10pm
October 1-March 31: 6:30am-8pm

Phone: 614.208.4321

Programs at Prairie Oaks

About

Prairie Oaks features nearly 500 acres of lush flowering prairies and grasslands that were restored using seeds native to the Darby Plains. The spectacular scenery of the Big Darby State and National Scenic River, which flows through the 2,203-acre park, provides a beautiful backdrop for outdoor adventure. Park also has several deep lakes for fishing and boating.

Photo: Edith Wood

Photo: Catherine Bigger

Park Map

Click the map below for a zoomed/enlarged version

Prairie Oaks Map

Trails

Alder

0.6 miles
Easy – Hike – Pets – Grass and Dirt
Connects Darby Bend Lakes area with Sycamore Plains Trail.
Interactive Map: Alder

Beaver Lake

0.9 miles
Easy – Hike – Pets – Grass and Dirt
Loops around Beaver Lake in the natural play area.
Interactive Map: Beaver Lake

Bridle

5.7 miles
Horseback Ride – Cross-Country Ski – Grass and Dirt
Crosses Big Darby Creek and goes through woods and prairies.
Interactive Map: Bridle

Coneflower

2.5 miles
Moderate to Difficult – Hike – Cross-Country Ski – Grass and Dirt
Crosses two steep hills, goes through prairies and runs alongside Big Darby Creek.
Interactive Map: Coneflower

Darby Creek Greenway

3.5 miles
Easy – ADA – Hike – Bike – Pets – Gravel
Winds through Darby Bend Lakes area and crosses Big Darby Creek.
Interactive Map: Darby Creek Greenway

Lakeview Trails

0.9 miles
Easy – Hike – Pets – Grass, Dirt and Gravel
Passes a lake at Darby Bend Lakes and circles an Indian Mound. (includes the Lake and Mound trails)
Interactive Maps: Lakeview Trails

River Rock

0.7 miles
Easy – Hike – Pets – Grass and Dirt
Loops around a lake in the Darby Bend Lakes area.
Interactive Maps: River Rock

Sycamore Plains Trails

2.2 miles
Moderate to Difficult – Hike – Pets – Grass and Dirt
Passes large sycamores and winds through grasslands and along Big Darby Creek. (includes Sycamore Plains, Osage Orange and Tallgrass trails)
Interactive Maps: Sycamore PlainsOsage OpeningTall Grass

Man walks on the Lake View Trail at Prairie Oaks
Photo: Tina Fronk

Mother and daughter riding on Bridle Trail at Prairie Oaks.
Photo: John Nixon

Shelters

Non-Reservable Shelters

Prairie view picnic area shelter at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Dianne Clay

Prairie View Picnic Area

Coneflower Trail (south loop) 1.6 miles
1 Shelter: Seats 60, Restrooms and grills, No drinking water in area (drinking fountain at park office)

Whispering oaks picnic area at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Dianne Clay

Whispering Oaks Picnic Area

Coneflower Trail (north loop) 0.8 miles
1 Shelter: Seats 60, Restrooms and grills, No drinking water in area (drinking fountain at park office)

Darby Bend Lakes shelter at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Kim Graham

Darby Bend Lakes

2 Shelters: Each shelter seats 60, Restroom and grills at each shelter, No drinking water in area, Shade structure at doggie beach

Activities

People paddleboard at Darby Bend Lakes at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Tina Fronk

Woman walks on Alder Trail at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Tina Fronk

Man bikes on Darby Creek Greenway Trail
Photo: Tina Fronk

Darby Creek Greenway Trail: 3.5 miles

Non-motorized boating is available at Beaver Lake and Darby Bend Lakes.

Kayaking at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Kim Graham

Canoeing and kayaking is available at Beaver Lake and Darby Bend Lakes. There is also a canoe access point to Big Darby Creek at 4275 Amity Road, Hilliard.

A woman cross country skis on the Darby Creek Greenway Trail at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Tina Fronk

The Bridle and Coneflower trails are reserved for use as cross-country ski trails when conditions are suitable.

Outdoor Adaptive Adventures volunteer and girl fishing at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Lisa Williams

At all public access points on Big Darby Creek and at Beaver Lake and Darby Bend Lakes.

People horseback riding on bridle trail at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Sarah Hunter

The 5.7-mile Bridle Trail is for horse riding only.

Beaver Lake photographed from Beaver Lake trail at Prairie Oaks Metro Parks
Photo: Scott Ballard

The 25-acre area surrounds Beaver Lake and features giant sycamore trees. Kids and their caregivers can wander off-trail, climb trees, dig in the mud and experience unstructured play in nature. Go to Beaver Lake parking lot on Lucas Road. Entrance at south end of the lot.

Dog retrieves tennis ball in the lake at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: John Nixon
Prairie Oaks Park Map

PET TRAILS

Alder Trail: 0.6 miles
Beaver Lake Trail: 0.9 miles
Darby Creek Greenway Trail: 3.5 miles
Lake View Trails: 0.9 miles (includes Lake View and Mound trails)
River Rock Trail: 0.7 miles
Sycamore Plains Trails: 2.2 miles (includes Sycamore Plains, Osage Orange and Tall Grass trails)

DOG SWIMMING

Your pooch can swim and dive at the Doggie Beach in the Darby Bend Lakes area.

Domesticated dogs and cats are also permitted in picnic areas, parking lots and on roadways. Pets shall be on a leash no longer than 6 feet.

Darby Bend Lakes shelter at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Photo: Kim Graham

There are picnic shelters at the Prairie View and Whispering Oaks Picnic Areas, and two shelters in the Darby Bend Lakes area, all with tables and grills and available on a first-come first-served basis. The Prairie View area also has play equipment.

Get Outside, It’s Your Nature!