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20+ hiking trails and nature walks near Columbus

Columbus is home to many parks, some of which have hiking options, paved walking paths, and nature trails to explore. Check out these 24 hiking trails catered to all skill levels for outdoor adventures.

CBUStoday Highbanks Metro Parks

Out-of-season walks can still be scene at Highbanks Metro Park. | Photo via @columbusmetroparks

Table of Contents

From quick and easy nature walks around town to drives that take you to wonderful waterways and wooded areas, our region has so many options to hit the trail. So, lace up your boots, because we’ve compiled a hiking and nature walk guide for the Columbus area with 24 routes and trails to help you plan your next adventure and experience our great outdoors.

Note: While parks and trails may be listed as open, we recommend checking park websites before visiting for further information, current trail conditions, and the safest practices for the area.

North Columbus

Alum Creek Trail, 3615 S. Old State Rd., Westerville

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 15-miles, point-to-point
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

There are three major sections on this scenic trail, as it stretches from Westerville to Three Creeks Park. It also connects to popular local spots, like Easton and the Columbus Airport.
Antrim Lake, 5800 Olentangy River Rd., Worthington

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.3-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Break out the fishing poles. As of Tuesday, April 2, the lake has been restocked with fresh rainbow trout by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Highbanks Metro Park Overlook, 9466 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.2-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: No
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

This iconic park is known for its 100-ft tall shale bluff that towers over the Olentangy State Scenic River. Multiple trail heads are available here, ranging from long 3.5-mile routes to quick, 0.4-mile walks.

CBUStoday Quarry Trails Metro Park

Take your hiking skills to new levels with a vie feratta at Quarry Trails Metro Park. | Photo by Stefan Bruch/@columbusmetroparks

Inniswood Metro Gardens, 940 S. Hempstead Rd., Westerville

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.3-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: No
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Stroll through a garden that is bustling with life, as it features 2,000+ different plant species. Additionally, visitors will find natural wildlife, streams, and manicured landscapes throughout the park.
Sharon Woods Multipurpose Trail, 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 3.9-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: No
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Is this a forest or a field? It’s both — and it offers massive oak trees, quiet plains, and smaller bodies of water that are home to amphibians and wildlife.
Quarry Trails Metro Park, 2600 Dublin Rd., Dublin

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.6 miles, point-to-point
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

This is park stands as the 20th to be built in the city, and it transformed an abandoned quarry into a recreation center. Not feeling a walk? Go for a climb on the via ferrata.

Whetstone Park of Roses, 3901 N. High St., Clintonville

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.8-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

It’s hard to beat the views of this park with 12,000+ roses on display. City Editor Mitch loves this park, especially with a cold brew in hand from the nearby Global Gallery.

CBUStoday Photo of the Year submission

The Park of Roses is a great place to take the kids for an afternoon of fun. | Photo submitted by reader Lauren L.

South Columbus

Dodge Park Loop, 667 Sullivant Ave., Downtown

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.5-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

Take a walk here to find a piece of Columbus history, one of City Editor Mitch’s favorite ways to explore the city. The skate park here was designed by Tony Hawk’s father in the 1990s. It was just renovated in 2024 after Tony returned to CBUS to raise awareness about it.
Goodale Park, 120 W. Goodale St., Short North

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.3-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

This classic park is more than your go-to for local festivals. Many dog walkers, busy parents, and fitness fans use this park every day for to its paved walking paths and iconic fountain.
Olentangy Trail, Multiple entries from downtown to Worthington

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 13.1 miles, point-to-point
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

Multiple safety enhancements were just installed throughout this trail, including high visibility crosswalks and signs. It spans and crosses the Olentangy River, making it a popular spot for runners.

CBUStoday Goodale Park.png

End your walk at Goodale Park by sitting on the bench near the fountain. | Photo by CBUStoday

Schiller Park Trails, 1069 Jaeger St., German Village

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.9-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Are there any Pokémon Go fans still out there? We can confirm there are, and you can find them at Schiller Park on sunny days living up to the name of the game: Catching them all.
Scioto Mile Trail Loop, 233 S. Civic Center Dr., Downtown

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 6.4-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

This downtown path is perfect for grabbing a city skyline photo while taking your dog on a nightly walk. Runners and bikers also frequently visit here in the warmer months.
Scioto Audubon Trail, 400 W. Whittier St., Downtown

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 12.6 miles, point-to-point
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

You’ll know you’re here when you see the big red Metro Parks water tower. We love this park for leisurely walks + outdoor rock climbing when the weather permits.

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Explore like a kid at Blendon Woods. | Photo by Haylley Turner/@cbusmetroparks

East Columbus

Blendon Woods Loop, 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., Columbus

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: No
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

Bring the kids to spot nature and wildlife on smaller trails, ranging from 0.3 miles to 0.6 miles. Some have paved paths, like the Lake Trail, and others have gravel, such as the Overlook Trail or Ripple Rock Trail.
Franklin Park, 1775 E. Broad St., Downtown

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.1-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

You know a park is picture-perfect when it’s consistently chosen as the backdrop for weddings. Such is the case for Franklin Park, which features a pond, quiet streams, and light walking paths.
Franklin Park Conservatory Walking Tour, 1777 E. Broad St., Downtown

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.2-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Not all trails have to be outdoors. That’s why we recommend taking a group tour of the Franklin Park Conservatory where you can walk through the greenhouse and butterfly exhibit while learning about species and wildlife.

CBUStoday Franklin Park

Franklin Park and the Conservatory turn into a picture book during autumn. | Photo via @fpconservatory

Jeffrey Park Loop, 165 N. Parkview Ave., Bexley

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.1-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: No
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Keep your dogs at home if you visit here, but don’t let your four-legged friend hold you back. It’s great for kids with a playground on-site, or you can simply walk the naturally wooded area.
Krumm Park Loop, 854 Alton Ave., Bexley

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.5-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

This small, but mighty park is the official park of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Plan a full day here of walking, picnicking, and fishing thanks to all of its amenities.

West Columbus

Battelle Darby Creek, 1775 Darby Creek Rd., Galloway

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 9-mile out-and-back
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

Battelle is one of the most sought-after parks since it is home to bison — yes, bison. Despite how big bison are, they are surprisingly challenging to spot, so stay patient on your walk.

Big Run Park, 4205 Chime Rd., Columbus

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.7-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

“Big Run” is no exaggeration. It’s one of the biggest parks in the Columbus Metro Parks’ system, boasting 270+ acres of greenspace, wetlands, and woods.

Camp Chase Trail, starts on Wilson Road, Galloway

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 17.4 miles, point-to-point
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

There aren’t many trails that are considered “moderate difficulty,” so it’s worth re-emphasizing that this one is. Plan for a longer hike if you want to do the full trail, and remember that it is point-to-point, not a loop.

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If you’re lucky, you may spot a bison at Battelle Darby Creek. | Photo via @cbusmetroparks

Mudstock Trail, 6000 Roberts Rd., Hilliard

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 3.5-miles
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

Dogs are welcome here, but a friendly reminder that this is a favorite trail of birdwatchers in CBUS. It’s also a popular spot for runners as its just slightly larger than a 5K in distance and has minimal elevation.
Prairie Oaks Biridle Trail, 3225 NE. Plain City-Georgesville Rd., West Jefferson

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 5.9-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Portions

Walk through plains, prairies, and grasslands that were populated with native seeds from Darby Plains. Experience hikers can try the 5+ mile Birdl Trail, or beginners can get started on the Alder Trail, which is 0.6 miles.
Thompson Park Loop, 4250 Woodbridge Rd., Upper Arlington

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.5-mile loop
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required
  • Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Looking for a quick, after work route? Try Thompson Park, which only takes roughly 27 minutes to fully walk, according to Alltrails.

CBUStoday Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Prairie Oaks Metro Park is full of color and color during the summer months. | Photo by Kerry Knowles/@columbusmetroparks

Get the right gear

Get the most out of your trip with comfortable, handy, and helpful hiking gear:

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