Located at the confluence of three of Central Ohio’s largest creeks, the aptly named Three Creeks Metro Park is one of the finest natural gems in the region.
Alum, Big Walnut, and Blacklick creeks join forces at this metro park, providing the perfect habitat for a variety of animals.
The park is over 1,100 acres and it’s a joint partnership between Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks and the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.
Over the years, the park has become a popular destination for wildlife lovers, especially birdwatchers. Over 100 species of birds have been sighted at the park, including owls, eagles, great blue herons, and more.
Hiking at Three Creeks Metro Park
There are 9 hiking trails at the park, each with its own unique paths and difficulty levels. The two largest trails are the Alum Creek Greenway and the Blacklick Creek Greenway.
These longer trails, coming in at 24.5 miles and 16 miles respectively, aren’t contained within the park entirely, but rather pass through the park while connecting the parks to other areas.
The rest of the trails at the park are under 1.5 miles and they are rated easy to moderate. One of the most scenic hikes at the park is the Bluebell Trail, which runs alongside Blacklick Creek and is home to, you guessed it, a beautiful vista of bluebells when they are in bloom.
The Confluence trail is also popular amongst visitors, offering close-up looks at a variety of trees including giant sycamores, cottonwoods, and American elms.
Fishing is allowed at Three Creeks Metro Park in both the Heron Pond and Turtle Pond. In order to fish, anyone over the age of 16 must have an Ohio fishing license.
You can learn more about obtaining your Ohio fishing license from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Visiting Three Creeks Metro Park With Kids
If you are heading to the park with the family, you should definitely make time to visit the natural play area. This 12-acre area has a pine forest where kids can get off the trail and explore the natural world.
You’ll find the Natural Play Area to the right of the Confluence Trailhead. Of course, visiting with the family for some people means the whole family, which includes the dog.
Pets are allowed at the park. Domesticated dogs and cats both are permitted in picnic areas and parking lots, although they must remain on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
There are some pet-friendly trails at the park, including both the Alum Creek and Blacklick Greenways, the Evergreen Trail, the Heron Pond Trail, the Madison Mills Trail, the Turtle Pond Trail, and the Sycamore Fields & Smith Farm Trails.
Wildlife at Three Creeks Metro Park
The park is made up of forests, prairies, wetlands, and fields, which means it’s the perfect environment for several different species. In addition to the hundreds of birds, beavers, mink, coyotes, and deer all live in the area.
One of the most interesting creatures you might glimpse at the park is the salamander. These secretive creatures are found throughout Ohio’s wetlands and they play a vital role in the ecosystem of Three Creeks Metro Park and other wetland areas.
Ohio is home to over 25 different kinds of salamanders, with the most common being the spotted salamander, redback salamander, northern dusky salamander, and red-spotted newt.
Additionally, bluegill, catfish, and largemouth bass can all be found swimming around the water areas of Three Creeks.
Sports & Activities at Three Creeks Metro Park
In addition to hiking and fishing, the park also gives visitors the space to enjoy biking, canoeing and kayaking, and picnicking. Biking is allowed on all trails at the park.
While there aren’t kayak or canoe rentals available year-round at the park, there is a place to put your own boat in the water, starting on Alum Creek before joining Big Walnut Creek.
The Metro Parks also offer several opportunities throughout the year for park visitors to try out kayaking on Turtle Pond for free. You can find out more about the kayaking events here.
There’s an entire area dedicated to picnicking at Three Creeks. There is a shelter in the Confluence Trails Area with tables, grills, and play equipment.
It’s free and available for anyone to use. No reservations are necessary and the shelter is offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
Three Creeks Metro Park Half Marathon
This newer half marathon, held in April, features distances that make for a fantastic route whether you’re super experienced or more of a casual walker or runner. The trail is a paved, hard surface that works its way through forests and features an abundance of wildlife.
It’s a beautiful trail and it’s a great place to start if you are just getting into running marathons. You can learn more about the half marathon by clicking right here.
Three Creeks Metro Park is located at 3860 Bixby Rd, Groveport, OH 43125. For a detailed map of the park, click here. If you’d like more info about visiting the park, you can visit the Metro Parks website at metroparks.net.