By Hannah Henthorne
Posted On: Sep 1, 2021
Leaves are morphing, days are getting shorter, and the air is as crisp as those freshly-picked Ohio apples. This much-anticipated time of year is best to utilize the plethora of trails available for day hikes. Ohio is home to 75 state parks, all of which provide ideal backdrops for those who aim to amble.
Be sure to take a peek at ODNR's Ohio Fall Color Report to find the best time and places to go hiking in Ohio!
NOTE: Check directly with places before your visit to stay up to date on all safety precautions and learn more about the guidelines surrounding COVID-19.
Pittsburgh-Cincinnati Stagecoach Trail at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs
3 Miles Out and Back: Follow this trail alongside the Little Miami River. For optimal views, start on the North Rim trail for vistas of the gorge below, after two miles at the top, take the steps down to the bottom and hike the mile and a half back to the trailhead alongside the water.
Strouds Run Lakeside Trail at Strouds Run State Park in Athens
8 Mile Loop: Eight miles is a long stretch of trail, but the well-established terrain surrounding this Ohio University favorite getaway provides for a day well spent in the outdoors. This single lane trail circles the lake, providing access to beautiful water views, but also winds back into the surrounding hills overlooking the water.
Conkle’s Hollow Rim Trail at Hocking Hills State Park in Logan
2.5 Mile Loop: This slightly-strenuous hike is not for the height-fearing folk. Views of the colorful deciduous abound from the top of this 200-foot-high gorge. Although it’s only 2.5 miles in length, be prepared to hop, scamper, and slide across rocks on this narrow trail. For those not brave enough to brace the heights, a Lower Gorge Trail (.75 miles) provides alternatively stunning vistas looking up at the sandstone walls.
Dripping Rock Trail at Highbanks Metro Park in Columbus
2.5 Mile Loop (5 miles total with Overlook Trail addition): The steep, gently winding Dripping Rock trail at Highbanks provides for a moderately intense workout, complete with dips and turns in the sea of fallen fiery leaves. Veer onto the Overlook Trail for another 2 mile loop that ends at a 100-ft bluff overlooking the Olentangy River and surrounding landscape.
Hemlock Gorge Trail, Mohican State Park, Loudenville
2-6 Miles: Enter the park via the North Forest Entrance off of County Road 3005 for a prime parking spot near the confluence of multiple trails. Hop on the Hemlock Gorge Trail for a 2 mile one-way connection to the North Rim Trail. Make it a longer 6 mile out and back by completing both the Hemlock and North Rim Trails. Panoramic views and easy trail conditions make this trail a perfect Fall excursion.
Each of these trails is within a short driving distance from just about anywhere in the state. Spend a couple hours or the day and take advantage of Mother Nature’s most generous time of year.