Exploring Ohio’s State and Metro Parks

This past weekend, the first weekend in June, I was granted the opportunity to explore several parks in Ohio and enjoy hiking in a different state. This was exciting because I don’t get to hike different states very often, so I hoped that this would be amazing! I have two different parts in this article, so hold on, this is going to be a long one.

Part 1: Hocking Hills State Park

Our first stop brought us to Hocking Hills State Park. We were just southeast of Columbus. Our first stop was Ash Cave, and it was a short but beautiful hike. The trail here is paved for ADA accessibility. I found this to be one of the most amazing things because there are so many places that are not accessible, and we want people of all backgrounds to get to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s a short hike to the cave, and there were many people there that day. It was quite a sight, and there is a ton of “ashes” in the cave.  The trails connect but we chose to drive over to the next stop: Old Man’s Cave.

At Old Man’s Cave, we chose to explore every area as much as possible. We followed the trail and made the following stops:

  • Old Man’s Cave
  • Lower Falls
  • Long Tunnel
  • Upper Falls
  • Devil’s Bathtub
  • Old Man’s Cave Gorge Trail
  • Buckeye Trail
  • Grandma Gatewood Memorial Hiking Trail

The great thing about this area is that many of the trails are extremely short (less than half a mile) and are primarily flat. Let me not forget that there are a lot of stairs in this area, but for the most part, the area is flat outside of the stairs. There were a lot of guests in this area as well, but there were so many places to hide that you couldn’t feel pressured to keep moving.

All together, we completed 3.01 miles between the two parks.

Part 2: Fort Hill at the Rocky River Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks

Here we chose to do a short hike on the West channel Pond Loop Trail and then head up to the Fort Hill Loop Trail. We had all three dogs as usual with us and it was an amazing flat hike on the pond trail. One of the most interesting sites was spotting a beaver on a dam, something I’m not use to seeing while hiking in Tennessee or North Carolina up in the mountains. We continued to hike and our party split ways to ascend to the top.

We crossed the top to discover a ridge top view of the Rocky River. I learned that the Rocky River creates what is called the “Emerald Necklace” as it runs through Ohio. The area was great, and I traveled most of the 150 stairs to the bottom. We actually circled back to our split part to finish the pond trail. Ultimately we finished with 2.7 miles.

Ultimately, we loved both of these hikes and can’t complain about the ease of flat hiking in Ohio. If in Ohio, feel free to check these out. Until the next time, find the express line to the outdoors!

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