The Most Breathtaking Winter Hikes In Ohio

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to coop yourself up inside.

Although it can be tempting to snuggle up in a blanket and rewatch The Office for the 100th time, it’s important to remember that Ohio is actually freaking beautiful in the winter.

And if you stay tucked away inside, you’ll miss out on all of the frozen majesty that the Buckeye State has to offer. Grab your hiking boots and your sense of adventure, folks! We have a lot to see!

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Blue Hen Falls | 2001 Boston Mills Rd, Brecksville, OH 44141

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Wednesday Blues

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Distance from Columbus: 2 hours
About the hike: You’ll be in the car longer than you will be hiking back to the falls, but that’s okay because they’re totally worth it. This is a shorter hike over hilly terrain, but the payoff is a beautiful, frozen waterfall. When the water is flowing the falls are the result of Spring Creek dropping 15 feet onto the rocks below. This trail is perfect for families.

Hocking Hills State Park | 19852 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138

Distance from Columbus: 1 hour
About the hike: Everywhere in Hocking Hills is gorgeous when covered with snow. From Ash Caves to Cedar Falls, the beautiful ice formations will be the exact Instagrammable moment you’ve been searching for. The hikes range in difficulty, so be sure to visit the park website before setting out.

Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park | 12440 OH-282, Garrettsville, OH 44231

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Made the husband stand still again for about 2 minutes. You would have thought I was asking him for his liver 🙄 **** Have to admit I had a lot of trouble with this shot and getting the exposure right. Forgot my polarizing filter so I wasn’t able to cut down the glare of the ice on the rock ledge. Ended up taking multiple exposures and blending them. Was trying to bring out the detail in the rocks while not blowing out the highlights of the snow. The cavern was dark while the snow outside was blinding white. **** On top of that I had to listen to my husband complain about being an unpaid Instagram model and then going into different poses that I wish I would have gotten pics of. Instead I just stood there with my mouth hanging open wondering if he’s been watching too much project runway. I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out which means I’ll have to go try again. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Maybe I’ll just buy a cardboard cut out of a person to avoid having to take my husband 😐 ————————————————————— 📷 D500 with Tamron Zoom 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC . . . #nature #ohio #ohioexplored #nelsonledges #icecicles #winter #onlyinohio #inspiredbyohio #withmytamron #tamronusa #theohiocollective #naturalohio #naturephotography #adventure #landscape #hiking #explore #nikon #landscapephotography #naturelovers #outdoors #optoutside #hike #roadtrip #nature_good #arches #nature_perfection #withmytamronwintervibes #ipulledoverforthis

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Distance from Columbus: 2 hours 40 minutes
About the hike: Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is one of our state’s best-kept secrets. The park is carry-in/carry-out, which means there are no on-site trash cans, so don’t take anything in you don’t plan on taking back out with you when you leave! There are 4 trails at the park, from easy-difficult. Notable attractions at the park include Devil’s Icebox, Indian Pass and Old Maid’s Kitchen!

Mohican State Park | 3116 OH-3, Loudonville, OH 44842

Distance from Columbus: 1.5 hours
About the hike: If wilderness is what you’re searching for, you’ll find it at Mohican State Park. The park is massive, with 1,110 acres dedicated to the park itself and 4,525 acres of state forest nearby. There is literally nothing more enchanting than the Mohican Forest in winter!

Lake Hope State Park | 27331 OH-278, McArthur, OH 45651

Distance from Columbus: 1 hour 15 minutes
About the hike: The forests surrounding Lake Hope are full of Oak and hickory trees, making the perfect backdrop for a winter hike. The lake itself is even more beautiful in the snow. The park has 7 trails, which vary in length and difficulty.

Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve | 2340 Meister Rd SW, Lancaster, OH 43130

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#winter

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Distance from Columbus: 40 minutes
About the hike: Looking for a little perspective? If you head to the top of Jacob’s Ladder at Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve, you’ll get it. The view overlooks the valley of Arney Run, 250 feet below. The trail is about 3 miles long and it can be difficult at times, so be sure you’re adequately prepared!

Clear Creek Metro Park | Clear Creek Rd, Rockbridge, OH 43149

Distance from Columbus: 42 minutes
About the hike: Forests, Black Hand sandstone cliffs, ravines, and creeks are all waiting for you at Clear Creek Metro Park! The park is home to Ohio’s largest nature preserve, where you’ll find over 2,200 species of plants and animals. And this may seem self-explanatory, but the creek really is so freakin’ clear! Absolutely stunning.

Walnut Woods Metro Park | 6723 Lithopolis Rd, Groveport, OH 43125

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As cold as ice

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Distance from Columbus: 25 minutes
About the hike: The woodlands and fields of Walnut Woods Metro Park are beautiful. But the most stunning part of the whole park is the Tall Pines area. It’s magical any time of year, but there’s something about these pines being covered in snow that transforms it to something incredibly magical. The trails are all described as easy by the park and they vary in length.

Bedford Reservation | Overlook Ln, Walton Hills, OH 44146

Distance from Columbus: 2 hours 15 minutes
About the hike: A deep gorge, carved by Tinker’s Creek, is the highlight of any trip to Bedford Reservation. The gorge itself was named a National Natural Landmark, but the surrounding area is just as beautiful. There are trails that overlook the gorge, as well as trails that take you down near Tinker’s Creek. The trails range in length from a little under a half a mile to nearly 10 miles long, so you can pick the length that works best for you!

Caesar Creek State Park | 8570 OH-73, Waynesville, OH 45068

Distance from Columbus: 1 hour 20 minutes
About the hike: The park offers 10 hiking trails, but the most beautiful trail to trek during the winter is the one that leads to Horseshoe Falls. The trail is moderate-difficult and it’s about .7 miles long. The park sits in the heart of Ohio’s Ancient Earthworks and the area was home to the regions most important indigenous civilizations from 300 BCE until around 1600 CE.

Originally published 2/15/19. Updated 1/21/20.

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