5 Amazing Fall Hikes Around Columbus

Originally published 10/20/2017. Updated 9/24/2019.

In case you haven’t heard, fall has officially arrived.

Since it’s the BEST season, it’s only right that we get out and enjoy it. There are plenty of amazing parks in and around Columbus. And while I love the seclusion that inner-city parks offer, there’s nothing like getting into more serious nature.

The hikes on this list vary in difficulty, length, and scenery. However, there is one thing they all have in common: They are all absolutely stunning this time of year. Here are 5 awesome fall hikes around Columbus.

Gahanna Woods Nature Preserve

via Ohio Department of Natural Resources

This Nature Preserve is home to some of the most unique flora in Ohio, including “the best remaining complex of buttonbush swamps and vernal pools in central Ohio” according to ODNR. The trails are not challenging, but they are beautiful. The Woodland Pond Trail can be wet in the spring due to the vernal pools, so there will be lots of boardwalk along this route. The second loop trail is the Beechwood Trail. These trails are considered easy to moderate.

Clear Creek Metro Park

Photo by J. Cagnina via MetroParks.net

Located about 45 minutes southeast of Columbus, Clear Creek Metro Park has nine trails to explore. The Creekside Meadows trail is a 1.7 mile, pet-friendly hike. This trail follows the banks of Clear Creek through beautiful, open fields. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, consider taking the .9 mile Lake Trail to get beautiful views of Lake Ramona. The Creekside Meadows trail is considered easy.

Highbanks Metro Park

Photo by Tom Ziegler via MetroParks.net

Highbanks offers a variety of trails for a variety of skill levels. But the best trail in the fall has got to be the Coyote Run trail. In the winter, this 3.5-mile trail is reserved for cross-country skiing, but in the fall, it takes guests through all sorts of terrain, including woods and fields. Coyote Run has a difficulty ranking of moderate.

Battelle Darby Metro Park

Photo by L. Williams via MetroParks.net

There’s nothing like a creekside view of fall, which is why the Terrace trail at Battelle Darby Metro Park is an absolute must-do. This 2-mile trail is gravel, traveling along the creek for a stretch, before journeying through woodlands. I had childhood birthday parties at this park, so I know I’m a little biased, but it is a magical place to explore in Autumn.

Slate Run Metro Park

Photo by Jeff Sagar via MetroParks.net

Known primarily for its Working Historical Farm, Slate Run Metro Park also has beautiful, fall scenery. The Covered Bridge trail at Slate Run is probably the easiest hike I’ve mentioned, but it’s also one of the most stunning. This half-mile trail meanders along a gravel path, with breathtaking views of fall foliage. The Covered Bridge on the trail is a picture perfect place to stop, grab a selfie, and enjoy the beauty Ohio has to offer.

I know what I’ll be doing this weekend! Goodbye city, hello nature!

via GIPHY