Ohio’s Top Five Spots for Fall Foliage
By Hannah Henthorne

Ohio’s Top Five Spots for Fall Foliage

Fall means fires, fruit orchards, football games and festivals. Fall means finding your frumpy sweaters and forgetting your fit beach bod in preparation for the frigid months ahead. Fall gives trees a fresh face during this multiple month makeover. The result is a visual overload of reds, oranges and yellows that cannot be ignored. This post is dedicated to the top five foliage finds in Ohio, and since Hocking Hills is on everyone’s mind as a potential number one spot, I’ll omit it and make room for other contenders. With help from my friends at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, here is my list:

1) Maumee Bay State Park (Northwest): Just a quick tip. In northern Ohio, the leaves change in early October; whereas in southern Ohio, the leaves wait until the end of the month. Maumee Bay State Park offers lodges and cabins near the waters of Lake Erie. This park is known for its prime bird watching.


2) Mohican State Park & Malabar Farm (North-Central): Within 10 or so miles from each other, Mohican and Malabar Farm lie tucked away in the hills and valleys surrounded in mature maples. Both are family and kid friendly, providing hiking trails, horse trails, and naturalist programs, as well as lodging and campsites.


3) John Bryan State Park & Clifton Gorge (West): Head west to the quaint college town of Yellow Springs near Dayton and you’ll find John Bryan State Park and Clifton Gorge. Use the multi-purpose trails to travel between the two destinations and along the way you will encounter leaves morphing into all colors. Make sure you head into Clifton Gorge and experience a sea of color as the leaves drop into the gorge below.


4) Zaleski State Forest (Southeast): Just a half hour south of Hocking Hills is this less-known forest that surrounds Lake Hope. A newly built lodge can provide housing while you explore the 23.5 miles of backpacking trails nearby. Sound like too much? Don’t worry; there is a 10-mile day trail as well. 


5) Shawnee State Park (South): Remember, the leaves do not change in the southern portion of the state until late October, so plan accordingly. Shawnee State Park is the place to absorb the wonder of whirling leaves as it lies tucked away in the foothills on the banks of the Ohio River. There are six hiking trails, ranging in length from half a mile to sixty miles. Mark your calendars for the Fall Hike on October 19th, a relaxing ramble through the trees and trails of Shawnee.


There you have it. My top five Fall foliage finds in Ohio. Where is your favorite place to see leaves in the Fall? To locate more information, including color reports and lists of activities throughout the state this fall, visit the ODNR and Autumn Adventures websites.

About the Author

Hannah Henthorne is currently a third year student at The Ohio State University. She is studying English with a minor in Communication. Although she has grown up in the central Ohio area, she is proud to call the entire state home. Hannah is an avid reader, writer, photographer, dog lover, and traveler. She also enjoys staying in shape by cycling around the central Ohio bike paths. You can reach Hannah at hhenthorne@gmail.com.