If you’re looking for a quick escape from the city, Chestnut Ridge Metro Park should be your next destination.
Chestnut Ridge is the first ridge in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and it offers beautiful views of the surrounding park. The ridge rises to about 1,116 feet and it’s covered in black oaks, shagbark hickories, and northern red oack trees on the upper slopes.
The lower slopes have sugar maples and American beech trees, offering a beautiful forrest to explore in the parks 486 acres. There’s a lot of fun to be had at the park, so let’s dive right in.
At Chestnut Ridge, you’ll find 5 different trails to explore. Four of them are one mile or less, ranging in difficulty from easy to difficult and they’re all ready to explore on foot.
Homesite is a short, moderate hike. The path is gravel and the .4 mile trail takes you through woods, fields, past an orchard and the remnants of a homestead, all while connecting the Ridge and Meadows trails.
The Meadows Trail is also a moderate to difficult hike, but it’s definitely worth it. The trail is about a mile long and follows along the edge of a high meadow, crossing a stream, then continuing through the woods. It’s pastoral and peaceful and the perfect place for a little self-reflection and exploration.
The easiest trail to hike at the park is the Milkweed trail. It’s a little over half a mile long and you’ll see some adorable little animals on this trail as it’s the pet-friendly trail. Finally, if a little elevation is what you’re craving, you can hike the Ridge Trail. It’s about a mile long, made up of gravel and boardwalk, and includes a 150-foot ascent to the top of the ridge. From the top of the ridge, on a clear day, you’ll even be able to see downtown Columbus.
Picnic & Play Areas
If you’re planning to spend the entire day at the park, you’ll probably want a good spot to have a bite to eat. There are two picnic areas, and they both have a shelter, tables and grill,. They’re first-come first serve and they are located near the park’s play ground areas.
If you’d like to take a longer journey through the park, the 10 mile Mountain Bike only trail is for you. It has steep climbs and descents, a narrow creek bridge, banked turns, and more. If you’re a newer mountain biker, you’ll want to stick to the 5-mile inner loop of the trail, which is perfect for beginners and intermediates.
The trail features a 230-foot change in elevation and was designed and built by volunteers with the Central Ohio Mountain Bike Organization (COMBO).
As we mentioned above, the Milkweed Trail is pet friendly. But it’s not the only area your pet can enjoy. They’re also allowed to be in picnic areas, parking lots, and roadways. Dogs and cats are allowed to visit the park, but all pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
Over at the 2-acre pond, you won’t just a great view of a peaceful pond. You’ll also be able to do a little fishing. Visitors of all ages can fish for bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Fishing is permitted in many Metro Parks, and in lakes and ponds, like the one at Chestnut Ridge, you won’t need a fishing license.
Fishing at Chestnut Ridge is catch and release and catches cannot be taken away from the park.
The park is home to a huge variety of birds. According to Birding Hotspots over 70 species of birds have been counted at the park in a single day. You can see wood ducks, mallards, and green herons by the pond and wetland area.
Chestnut Ridge Metro Park is open daily from dawn until dusk. The park is located at 8445 Winchester Rd NW, Carroll, OH 43112. For more info, please visit Metroparks.net.