Find an activity in your Metro Parks. I’m looking for…

Scioto Grove Assistant Manager Robin Blair uses a compound bow at the static archery course.
Photo Virginia Gordon


Bring out your inner Robin Hood or Katniss Everdeen and fly your arrows at giant foam animal targets on our 3D archery course at Scioto Grove Metro Park, which boasts 12 monster targets set along two trails. If you prefer a more conventional archery experience, Scioto Grove’s traditional archery course includes 16 targets with circular target points, spread out at four different distances to offer a progressive challenge.

Young backpacker on REI River Trail at Scioto Grove
Photo Geoff Hamilton


Enjoy 10 miles of primitive backpacking trails at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park along the Big and Little Darby Creeks, or sign up for one of our four overnight backpacking sites. For additional information or to make a reservation for one of the overnight backpacking sites at the park, visit our page at SignUpGenius.

Try backpacking at Scioto Grove Metro Park, whether you’re just getting into the sport or you’re an experienced backpacker looking for a quick overnight experience close to home. To reserve a backpacking experience at Scioto Grove along the REI River Trail, visit our page at SignUpGenius. Backpacking is available at Scioto Grove every weekend (Friday and Saturday nights), from the first weekend in April through the last weekend in October.

Photo Bill McCracken


Fresh air and beautiful scenery! That’s what you want when you’re out biking. Metro Parks has about 75 miles of trails that provide both to you in abundance. Nearly all of our trails are paved, closed to traffic and up to 12 feet wide. The Darby Creek Greenway Trail at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and Prairie Oaks Metro Park provides an alternative with its very flat and stable gravel surface. Enjoy a bike ride with friends or family on the bike trails at any of the following 14 parks. (You can also ride on park roads and on picnic area paths).

Photo Marshall Reese


Bring your motorboat downtown and launch it on the Scioto River from the boat ramp at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. This is the only place you can use a motorized boat at Metro Parks, but Prairie Oaks is the place for you if you want to get out on the water in a small sail boat or other non-motorized craft. Head to the park’s Beaver Lake or Darby Bend Lakes to put out on the water in your non-motorized craft.

Two people paddle on Schrock Lake at Sharon Woods.
Photo Kim Strosnider

Canoeing / Kayaking

Bring your canoe or kayak down to one of our creek or river access points and enjoy hours of fun floating on a central Ohio waterway. You can float on Big Darby Creek from Prairie Oaks and from Battelle Darby Creek, which has canoe access to Little Darby Creek as well. You can float on the Olentangy River from access points at Highbanks, or on the Scioto River from both Scioto Audubon and Scioto Grove Metro Parks. At Three Creeks you can take to the water in your canoe or kayak on Alum Creek and take out on Big Walnut Creek. There are also two access points to Walnut Creek from the Buckeye Area at Walnut Woods.  If you prefer still water rather than flowing water for your canoeing or kayaking, you can float on Osprey Lake at Battelle Darby Creek, on Beaver Lake or Darby Bend Lakes at Prairie Oaks or in Turtle Cove or on Swan Lake at Quarry Trails.

Cross-country skiers at Highbanks Metro Park
Photo Virginia Gordon

Cross-Country Skiing

When the snow comes down thick and fast, cross-country skiers love to head out to a Metro Park and get a workout on the trails. Cross-country skiers are welcome to use any Metro Parks trail when snow conditions permit skiing, but five parks have dedicated trails that are reserved solely for cross-country skiing. The five parks are Battelle Darby Creek (Dyer Mill Ski Trail), Blendon Woods (Sugarbush Trail), Glacier Ridge (Savannah Trail), Highbanks (Coyote Run and Scenic River Trails) and Prairie Oaks (Bridle and Coneflower Trails).

Day Camps Picnic Shelter
Photo Virginia Gordon

Day Camps

Scout and youth groups love Metro Parks’ three day camps: the fabulous Camp Sugarbush at Blendon Woods, the exciting Dragonfly Day Camp at Highbanks and the terrific Camp Starview at Slate Run. Scout groups can reserve these wonderful facilities for day camping and even for overnight camping. Other youth and church groups can reserve the camps too, but for day camping only.

Disc Golf girl putting
Photo Dan Bissonette

Disc Golf

Forget the clubs, putters and dimpled golf balls. Experience the fun of disc golf instead at one of our 18-hole disc golf courses. It’s free to play. Just bring your golf discs with you and fling your way to birdies, pars or bogeys at our Blendon Woods, Glacier Ridge and Scioto Grove disc golf courses.

Photo Angela Latham


Get out your fishing gear and head out to one of 13 Metro Parks where you can spend a few quiet hours engaged in this most tranquil and yet absorbing activity. An Ohio fishing license is required to fish rivers and creeks, but you won’t need a license to fish those Metro Parks ponds and lakes that are available for catch-and-release fishing. Age and bait restrictions vary and are posted at fishing docks.

Blacklick Woods visitors at the exercise equipment
Photo Diana Morse


Walk or run in a Metro Park and you’ll derive both physical and emotional health benefits from the experience. At two parks, we’ve added exercise stations so you can expand your fitness routine while still enjoying the immeasurable benefits of being outdoors in a natural setting. The fitness stations at Blacklick Woods and Sharon Woods are just off each park’s Multipurpose Trail.

Golfing from Tee at Blacklick Golf Course
Photo Bill McCracken


Head out to Blacklick Woods Golf Course and experience one of the highest rated public golf facilities in Ohio. The 18-hole Championship Course is a true test for experienced golfers, and fun for beginners too, to help broaden and improve your game. The Golf Course also features a 9-hole Learning Course for families and beginning golfers, plus a full-service driving range and a 30,000 square-foot practice putting green with three bunkers to test your sand iron play, and a separate 3-hole practice course to hone your game ready for your tee time. The Course has been certified as a Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International because of our comprehensive environmental management practices and protection of wildlife habitats. It truly is an area where both birds and birdies are in abundance.

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

Horseback Riding

Giddy-up and get down to one of five Metro Parks that feature a trail dedicated solely to horse riding. All the trails have a staging area with horse-trailer parking. The bridle trails are from 2-5 miles up to 5.7 miles long, and take you through woods and fields and acres of beautiful scenery.

Pond hockey at Battelle Darby Creek skating pond
Photo Tina Fronk

Ice Skating

When it’s cold enough for water to freeze, Metro Parks has two sure-fire (or should that be sure-ice) winners for those people who love to strap on their skates and take to the ice in the beautiful outdoors. The skating ponds at Battelle Darby Creek and Blendon Woods Metro Parks are shallow and safe, and at around half an acre in area, there’s plenty of room for skaters to glide across the surface. We make sure there are at least 4 inches of solid ice across the entire area of the pond before opening the skating ponds to the public. Check our social media to see if the skating ponds are open, or call 614-370-6254 for the skating pond at Battelle Darby Creek, and 614-620-1861 for the skating pond at Blendon Woods.

Riders on the Mountain Bike Trail at Chestnut Ridge during COMBO event.

Mountain Biking

At Chestnut Ridge, the Mountain Bike Trail built by volunteers of the Central Ohio Mountain Bike Organization (COMBO) features steep climbs and descents through the woods and includes a 5-mile inner loop for beginner or intermediate riders, with a 4-mile outer loop designed with more advanced riders in mind. There are also separate special loop sections designed for expert riders only, such as the gravity flow More Cowbell Trail. The entire Mountain Bike Trail is reserved solely for mountain biking. Metro Parks has created a second mountain bike area at Quarry Trails Metro Park, which extends for three-quarters of a mile over rugged terrain and features several artificial obstacles to add intrigue and variety to your ride.

Child on swing at Blendon Woods natural play area.
Photo Dan Bissonette

Natural Play Areas

Natural Play Areas are adventure playgrounds in nature designed to bring out your inner child. At eight Metro Parks, we’ve created natural play areas that encourage kids of any age to climb trees, build forts, wade in creeks and interact with the natural environment as an unstructured playground to increase their connection to nature.

Ravine Wall at Highbanks Nature Center
Photo Rob Clements

Nature Centers

Four of our parks feature a nature center, great places to drop in and learn more about the park and it’s features. Take a break from the heat, or the cold, according to season, and enjoy display materials or interactive exhibits, or take a seat at one of the nature viewing windows and get an up-close view of birds and other wildlife at the park’s feeders.

Photo Dan Ferrin

Nature Preserves

Five Metro Parks feature areas that have been dedicated as state nature preserves, recognizing their importance in terms of Ohio’s natural history and granting them protection by the state as natural areas. The areas include the largest state nature preserve in Ohio, the 4,729-acre Allen F Beck State Nature Preserve in Clear Creek Metro Park.

Woman on the log run on the obstacle course at Scioto Audubon
Photo Doreen Dawkins

Obstacle Course

Fitness enthusiasts with a will to challenge themselves should head out to Glacier Ridge or Scioto Audubon Metro Parks to tackle the multiple obstacles, including tunnel crawls, balance beams, monkey bars and other tests to get your heart pumping and boost both your fitness and sense of achievement. Both courses are surrounded by a running track so you can gear up, or gear down, and get ready to try the free obstacle course over again.

Doggies and handlers take a walk on the Sugarbush Trail at Blendon Woods during the Paws in the Park event
Photo Cheryl Blair


Metro Parks has sought to find a balance that allows us the flexibility to maintain our mission of conservation, provide trail access to certain natural areas reserved for passive recreation such as hiking and birdwatching, while also recognizing the increasing call from pet owners for places where they can bring their animals. To that end, Metro Parks now provides leashed-pet-access to designated trails at all 20 Metro Parks, has fenced-in dog parks at six parks, and provides dog-swimming areas at two parks. The annual WagFest at Prairie Oaks also bears testament to Metro Parks’ willingness to provide facilities and events for pet lovers and their pets, as is also demonstrated by our popular Howl at the Moon Hikes, plus our work with Friends of Metro Parks to organize regular Yappy Hour events. Dogs may be by far the most common leashed pets on trails at Metro Parks, but it ain’t just Fido who’s welcome on them. Per our Rules and Regulations, leashed cats are welcome on the trails too, so don’t forget Whiskers when you head out to one of our pet trails.

Picnicking at Slate Run's Buzzard's Roost Picnic Area
Photo Andrea Krava


In addition to our reservable shelters and lodges, Metro Parks provides a fantastic range of free to use shelters and grills for picnics or parties. There are 68 shelters available on a first-come, first-served basis, all of them with grills, seating mostly from 16 up to 80 people, although the Buzzard’s Roost Picnic Area at Slate Run can seat up to 200 people.

Kids on the play equipment at Homestead Metro Park
Photo Mike Heisey

Play Areas

Most picnic areas include free play equipment such as swings, slides and climbing structures.

Woman climbing on the rock wall at Scioto Audubon park.
Photo Shannon Dillman

Rock Climbing

Climbing Wall
Grab your climbing harness and head downtown to Scioto Audubon Metro Park to get your climbing fix on the mid-West’s largest free outside climbing wall. Reaching a height of 35 feet, the climbing wall has four auto belays and features three towers and two arches for challenging top-rope and bouldering climbs.

Via ferrata
Quarry Trails Metro Park’s via ferrata is the first known urban via ferrata in the United States. Via ferrata is an Italian phrase that means “iron path.” Quarry Trails’ via ferrata route includes 1,040 feet of cabled climbing using metal rungs, ladders and fixed cables as a means of climbing over intermediate rocky terrain. The route includes a 90-foot treadway suspension bridge situated 105 feet above a scenic pond, two aerial walkways and a 54-foot steel staircase.

Due to the unique nature of the via ferrata, access is only available through program registration. Visitors can enjoy the via ferrata on fully guided programs by reservation with the Metro Parks Outdoor Adventure team.

The via ferrata is closed for the season and will reopen in spring.

Sledder on kiddie's sledding hill at Blendon Woods.
Photo Dan Bissonette


When the snow obliges, there’s no greater fun and free winter activity than to get out your sled, clamber to the top of a Metro Parks sledding hill and just go! All the sledding hills are monitored by park staff for safety and to make sure everyone has a great time.