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Take The Path Less Traveled At These Underrated Parks Around Ohio

Warmer temps have arrived and it’s time to get out and explore.

Sure, you can hit up the Ohio icons like Hocking Hills and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but what if you’re looking for the road less traveled? There are plenty of hidden gems and natural wonders around, but we wanted to expand on that thought.

Which parks are flying under the radar around the state? Where can you get away into nature with fewer crowds and more beautiful views?

Here are 8 parks around Ohio to explore. Some are nature preserves, others are metro parks, but they all make a great day of outdoor adventuring.

Dillon State Park

lake dillon state park
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Dillon State Park is located in the wooded hills of eastern Central Ohio. The park has 7 trails which range from easy to moderate for hiking. If you’d rather go to enjoy the water, you can boat and swim at Dillon State Park. The park also offers camping if you’re looking to make a weekend out of your visit.
Location: 5265 Dillon Hills Dr, Nashport, OH 43830
Website: Dillon State Park

Mt. Airy Forest

A visit to Mt. Airy Forest in Cincinnati wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the treehouse! This one-of-a-kind feature handicap accessible and offers a great view of the surrounding woods. Mt. Airy is Cincinnati’s largest metro park and offers 12 trails for hikers to enjoy.
Location: 5083 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223
Website: Mt. Airy Forest

Hell Hollow Wilderness Area

We stan a gorgeous Ohio waterfall here at Columbus Navigator and this stunning spot in Hell Hollow Wilderness Area has us swooning. The area has a dark name, but that’s in reference to the difficulty of the hike and not the heavenly views. Hell Hollow is part of the Lake Metro Parks in Northeast Ohio.
Location: 14437 Leroy Center Rd, Thompson, OH 44086
Website: Hell Hollow Wilderness Area

Sugarcreek Metro Park

There’s lots of beauty to behold at Sugarcreek Metro Park in Bellbrook, but the trail you won’t want to miss is the Orange Trail. This hike will take you through a gorgeous tunnel of Osage Orange trees that will have you feeling like you’ve just strolled into a fantasy world. You can also stop by to visit Three Sisters, aka a 550-year-old oak tree that’s absolutely massive.
Location: 4178 Conference Rd, Bellbrook, OH 45305
Website: Sugarcreek Metro Park

Charleston Falls Preserve

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Originating from an underground spring, the stream that creates Charleston Falls eventually joins the Great Miami River. The waterfall is seriously impressive and it’s truly beautiful in any weather. There’s even a nice viewing platform at the falls where you can get an excellent shot for your Instagram.
Location: 2535 Ross Rd, Tipp City, OH 45371
Website: Charleston Falls Preserve

Glen Helen Nature Preserve

via Wikimedia Commons

Glen Helen’s gorgeous trails are currently closed, but we wanted you to know about them anyway so you can plan a trip once they’ve reopened. The entire Yellow Springs region is full of beautiful outdoor sites, and Glen Helen Nature Preserve is a world all its own. The name Yellow Springs is quite literal, as you’ll see while hiking around.
Location: 405 Corry Street, Inman Trail, Yellow Springs, OH 45387
Website: Glen Helen Nature Preserve

Shawnee State Park

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Shawnee State Park, located in the Appalachian foothills near the Ohio River, is a 1,095-acre park within the Shawnee State Forest. This region of Ohio is rugged and beautiful and it’s even been called the Little Smokey Mountains. The area has 10 different trails, including a 40+ mile backpacking trail. If you’re up for it, hike out to the Fire Tower for exceptional and sweeping views.
Location: 4404 OH-125, West Portsmouth, OH 45663
Website: Shawnee State Park

Mosquito Lake State Park

The woodlands, marshlands, and massive lake at Mosquito Lake State Park are the perfect place for an afternoon adventure. While visiting the park, you may encounter a wide variety of wildlife, including foxes and Ohio’s most adorable native animals, otters!
Location: 1439 Wilson Sharpsville Rd, Cortland, OH 44410
Website: Mosquito Lake State Park

Now let’s get out and there and explore Ohio!