The best autumn hikes in Ohio
By Becky from somewhereonahike.com
This blog was originally published in October, 2017 and has been reposted with permission.
There’s something about fall in Ohio. You see, normally, I’m not a big in-state hiker because the mountains call my name, not the Appalachian hills. But…the multi-colored rolling hills of Southeast Ohio, where I spent four glorious years at Ohio University, make my heart leap with excitement. Fall in Ohio, in my humble hiking opinion, is a sight worth seeing. Sure, the hikes aren’t as strenuous as the mountains or cliffs in other states, but the colors…ohh, the colors get me “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” every year. Want to “ooh” and “ahh” yourself? Here are a few favorite fall hikes in Ohio.
Fall Hikes #1: Conkle’s Hollow Rim Trail, Hocking Hills State Park
Conkle’s Hollow Rim Trail is the first in my list of fall hikes because it’s my absolute favorite hike in Hocking Hills State Park. The rim trail follows the edge of the cliff– it is one of the more challenging hikes in the park, but the views you will get are worth every step and every huff (and puff). When you look out, you’ll see gorgeous views of the gorge (see what I did there? GORGEous) and there will no doubt be a perfect photo-op of the fall foliage in the background.
I’m usually what I call a death marcher on the trail. Instead of sauntering, I march like I’m on a mission. But Conkle’s Hollow reminds me to saunter. With it’s breathtaking views, you’ll become a saunterer, too.
The loop is 2.5 miles. I suggest going east and then west, as the sun will follow you during the day. And you’ll want the sun on a cool, brisk autumn day. This hike won’t take you too much time, so you will have time to hike other spots in Hocking Hills or check out the delicious restaurants at Ohio University’s campus.
Fall Hikes #2: Glen Helen Nature Preserve, Yellow Springs, Ohio
I’m partial to the foothills of eastern Ohio, but western Ohio also has its fair share of views. Glen Helen trails are a perfect moderate fall hike for anyone who wants to enjoy the foliage but doesn’t want to overexert themselves to see it.
I suggest you park at the Trailside Museum to get some information and maps. There are a few trails you can choose to do. If it were me, I’d probably go on two: the Inman Trail and the Pine Forest trail. Both trails are covered with trees so you can enjoy the changing colors.
These trails are fairly moderate with very little elevation and you’ll be nicely covered by the trees the whole time. A little bonus– you’ll get to see a few waterfalls along the way, like this one which looks so beautiful with the multi-colored leaves surrounding it.
The Inman trail is about 1.1 miles and the Pine Forest trail is about 3.4 miles, so you’ll have plenty of time to do both.
Fall Hikes #3: Highbanks Metro Park, Columbus, Ohio
Okay, I gotta give a shout out to my home city: Columbus. Highbanks Metro Park has a surprisingly vast network of trails that you should check out. Just yesterday, Rob and I checked out the park, and it was close to peak season foliage. The fall hikes of your dreams. I was drooling over the colors (and we may have had to stop multiple times for pictures…sorry but not sorry).
We took part of the Dripping Rock trail but then veered to the Overlook trail to gush over some fall leaves. I don’t know the exact mileage, but my guess was about 2.5 miles. We were going slower than normal because it was a lazy Sunday, so I’m not quite sure if that’s right. The paths are well-maintained and flat, so you’ll have no problem trekking through these woods.
If this doesn’t convince you to try this magnificent fall hike, I’m not sure what will. Look at those colors.
These are only three fall hikes of many in Ohio. Some other favorites of mine are in John Bryan State Park and Hocking Hills. Cayahoga Valley National Park is always a top recommendation when I ask for them. Check out the trail maps of these and the ones I have listed above. If you have never given Ohio hiking a chance, I sincerely suggest that you try them in the fall. Fall hiking in Ohio does not disappoint!