The Columbus Metro Parks Winter Hiking Series is a great way for families to get outside and explore the amazing metro parks in the greater Columbus, Ohio area. There were 13 hikes in total that spanned the months of January and February with 1 to 2 hikes per weekend. Most hikes had multiple distances that you could choose, which made it very nice depending on skill levels. Each hike also had refreshments (soup, cookies, hot chocolate, or even a hot chicken sandwich) and that was a huge motivator for our family!
Now that the winter hiking series had been completed, we have received some questions on what was the best hike or which parks should we put on our list to see. From our experience, below are the top five that we would want to go an explore more.
Clear Creek Metro Park. What we really loved about this area is that we felt that we were truly removed from the city. When we were here, we did the short 1-mile hike due to weather and the skill level of our kids. The hikes in this area can be more difficult, so we wanted to make sure we all had a good time and stayed safe. With all the trees, stream, and cliffs, this would be a great place for fall hiking.
Slate Run Metro Park. Again, this area is remote and no city sounds here! This hike was our longest at about 2.5 miles and the terrain was more difficult with some steep hills. On our next trip here, we will have to hike over to the historical farm. This will most likely be a whole day adventure
Highbanks Metro Park. If there is a theme to our favorite places, it would be off-road and through the woods… Highbanks has a really nice series of trails that are very family friendly. We hiked the 2-mile trail and there were a few gentle hills. The nature center is a great place to stop and take a rest and let the kids unwind. They have coloring activities, play stage and some aquariums. With all the trees in this area it would be a great hike in the fall.
Blendon Woods Metro Park. While being so close to the city, Blendon woods was really impressive. This was another 2 miles and has a few steeper climbs to it. When the weather is a little warmer it would be a great place to take in the natural play area.
Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. The bison and nature center here steal the show for our family. We would like to explore more trails here, but there is always a stop to see the bison and nature center. The walk on the trail to the bison usually isn’t too hard which is great for the kids! The nature center is hands on with a live stream in the center. This is a great place to visit any time of year.
Well, there you have it our top 5 parks from the Winter Hiking series. There are so many great things to see at all the parks and really something for everyone and very skill level. A small word of advice before heading out... we did some research on the parks and the trails to get an idea of the level of difficulty and amenities at the parks. This really helped the preparation and we were able to talk to the kids about the hikes and what they should expect. This small, but important detail, really made a huge difference! Happy Hiking!!
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