Metro Parks Winter Hike
By Heather Rader

Ohio’s winter is in full force, but don’t let the cold temperatures keep you from enjoying the outdoors! Although many Ohioans enjoy winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing, a brisk outdoor winter hike is another great way to delight in the natural beauty of Ohio’s winter season.

The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks features 19 parks with over 200 miles of trails and more than 27,000 acres of natural landscapes in seven counties in central Ohio. Each park offers visitors a unique experience, from forests, prairies, wetlands, ponds and lakes, bluffs, sandstone cliffs, wildflower fields, and thousands of species of plants and animals. A visit to one of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks will awaken your senses and allow you to connect with nature!





During the winter months, the Metro Parks features a Winter Hike Series in twelve of their parks in the surrounding Columbus area. Each winter trek offers hikers a choice of a one to seven mile self-guided hike, depending on the Metro Park that is hosting the winter hike. Volunteers and well-marked trails keep hikers on the right path throughout the park allowing hikers to enjoy the great outdoors. Even though the winter weather is upon us, many animal and plant species flourish in the cold temperatures. Hikers can spot animal paw prints on the ground, numerous bird species, squirrels, rabbits, and deer frolicking in the winter splendor of the natural parks. Once hikers have completed their trek, the Metro Parks offer refreshments such as hot beverages, soup, and other snacks which can be enjoyed around a fire while discussing the beauty of the park system during the winter season with fellow hikers.





The Winter Hike Series at the Columbus and Franklin Country Metro Parks is the perfect winter outdoor activity. Since the hike is self-paced, hikers of all levels and ages are encouraged to enjoy the natural beauty of the Metro Parks. And since the Metro Parks are always free for the public to enjoy, the Winter Hike Series, including the snacks afterwards, are free as well for all hikers that participated! Bundle up and wear warm, water-proof boots, you will feel energized and connected with Ohio’s nature! I encourage you to get outside and enjoy Ohio’s beautiful varying landscapes by attending more than one winter hike at the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks!

For the Winter Hike Series dates, times, and park locations, please visit www.metroparks.net to plan your winter hike!

 

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