The Buckeye State is the home of the American Football Hall of Fame, the birthplace of seven American presidents, and some of the most incredible places to load up a pack and blaze a trail. The temperate climate and small rugged hills beckon to those who have a thirst for nature. A hike enjoyed in one of Ohio’s many state parks or nature preserves is sure to awaken the senses and leave you begging for more. Here is a list of 10 of the best hikes found in the state of Ohio.
1.The Two Mile Loop at Mill Creek Park
Located in Youngstown, Ohio, Mill Creek Park is one of the largest Metroparks in the state. There are actually fourteen hiking trails in the park, all of which are worthy of a good hike. However, the best hikes are two specific trails: East Gorge Walk and West Gorge Trail. These create a two-mile loop along Mill Creek when hiked together. This is a fabulously scenic route with trails cut through massive rock and rugged terrain. There is also a boardwalk, but only for a small portion of the trail
2. Lamping Homestead Trail in Graysville
This is a loop trail that is comprised of two separate paths and it may just be one of the best hikes in the state. It is a secluded and history drenched excursion. The trail begins at the two-acre Lamping Pond before winding through a white pine plantation and a beech maple forest. It has a 300’ vertical rise that passes caves and rock outcroppings. You don’t have to veer far off the trail to see the history in the site, including the Lamping family cemetery that dates back to the 1800s.
3. Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park offers approximately fourteen miles worth of incredible hiking among some of Ohio’s most intriguing geology and scenery. Ash Cave is the must-do hike in the area. The terrain is rugged, but not enough to be classified as difficult. There is a high trail and a low trail, both being approximately one-half mile long. The low trail is handicap accessible. Ash Cave is the largest recess cave east of the Mississippi and flows into a runoff waterfall.
4. Gorge Trail Metropark in Cuyahoga Falls
This is a gorgeous 1.8-mile trail that runs right by an unforgettable, rumbling waterfall. The trail itself is a brisk, rejuvenating hike and it is very well-kept. Aside from the scenic views, you are likely to encounter plenty of wildlife such as birds, butterflies, and chipmunks. Modern wooden decking leads to incredible views of the roaring waterfall from a safe distance.
5. Lake Trail at Clear Creek Metropark
Clear Creek Metropark in Rockbridge offers some of the most advanced and rewarding hiking trails. With over twelve miles worth of options that twist, zig-zag, and ascend, Clear Creek offers a variety of terrain. The Lake Trail is one of the best, especially in autumn. The Lake Trail is 0.9 miles worth of moderate-to-difficult hiking on a dirt path that winds through the woods to a fabulous observation deck overlooking the beautiful Lake Ramona.
6. Caldwell Nature Preserve in Cincinnati
This is a hidden gem that offers a 2.7-mile loop trail through natural areas with mature walnut, oak, and beech trees. Pass over bridges and through gorges as you follow the trail on the ridges formed long ago by the Mill Creek Watershed. There is also a level paved trail that is handicap accessible and plenty of wildlife to be seen.
7. Monroe Overlook Trail at Wayne National Forest
Monroe Overlook Trail is a 5-mile loop of beautiful streams, open meadows, and panoramic views. Tall pine forests offer a natural retreat from the city and the meadows are full of fabulous wildflowers in the spring. Depending on the season, you may be able to catch a glimpse of white-tailed deer or wild turkeys along the way.
8. Redwing Loop at Cincinnati Nature Preserve
This incredible 4.1-mile hike has a little bit of everything. Meadows, prairies, woods and ponds will welcome you as you take in all of the incredible wildlife in the preserve. Just when you thought this scenic hike was going to be easy, you’ll have to climb hills to complete the trek. The hilltops reward you with a waterfall spilling over limestone before reaching the final ascent, which brings you back to the pristine waters of Powel Crosley Lake.
9. Quail Hollow State Park Trail in Hartville
This is a 3-mile loop trail that is great for all skill levels. Many different activities offer great diversions along the trail and there is something to suit every taste. You’ll follow beautifully forested paths and pass through open fields suitable for picnics. There are some spots where you may find yourself crawling under or jumping over fallen logs—great for kids and playful adults! If you want to add some time to your hike and don’t mind a little company, you can always hike the horse trails as well.
10. Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve in Lancaster
The preserve features two favored loop trails that can be combined for a scenic 4.7-mile hike. There is an old covered bridge at the beginning of your trek and you’ll encounter some of Ohio’s best flora along the impressive stream valley. The forested ridges will carry you up to an inspiring view from the grand cliff top that is worth every single step.