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7 Great Places to Hike in Ohio

Updated on July 4, 2018

Go Take a Hike - It Will Do You Good

Like to hike? Thought about hiking while in Ohio? There are lots of trails in public parks and the state forests.

I have always liked short hikes, but now that I'm older I sometimes take longer to finish even those short walks in the park. Those who take on such ambitious challenges as hiking the entire Appalachian Trail are to be admired. If you have hiked such extended trails, maybe you could leave some tips in the comment section for the rest of us!

Spring days with the fresh earthy smell of the awakening forest, autumn walks on crunchy leaves with the woodsy, mossy fragrance of a tree-lined trail, the golden mornings of summer with fog on the river - these are some of the wonderful nature experiences that a sauntering or invigorating hike can provide.

For those who like a choice of either easy or advanced trails to hike in Ohio, I hope the information here will get you started. Ohio is a very beautiful state with wooded parks and many rivers and streams, and the Great Lake, Lake Erie, is also a beautiful area to explore.

Yes, that picture you see is me- back in the day.

7 Great Places to Hike in Ohio

Exciting Destinations for Hiking Enthusiasts

My husband enjoys the view

  1. Beginning with my favorite: Hocking Hills.Within Hocking county are a number of parks to hike. The shortest one, and easiest is Ash Cave.

    Another hike which is good when time for hiking is limited is Rock House, but the two I have always liked best are Old Man's Cave and Cantwell Cliffs.(All parks close at dark)

    The attraction is the beauty of the wooded areas that line deep gorges, with many lovely wildflowers in spring and spectacular color in autumn.

    Read short descriptions of all the parks to visit in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio.

  2. Salt Fork in Guernsey county is very picturesque and the Salt Fork State Park has many trails, 14 in all, for hiking. Two are rated easy, with the remainder as "moderate", ranging from 0.1 miles to 19 miles. A very nice lodge is also in this park, along with other sports and activities and cabins for overnights stays.

    I went to this park on a retreat years ago and loved every minute there. Learn more about what Salt Fork has to offer on their site.

  3. Geneva State Parkis a great family place to visit. It has 6 miles of hiking trails in the 698-acre park, but the real draw is Lake Erie, with a 300-foot guarded swimming beach.

    A lodge, camping sites, and cabins are available for stays. The nearby Mentor Marsh State Preserve offers more hiking opportunities.

  4. Mohican State Park has so much to do, and for hikers there are 13 miles of hiking trails in Mohican State Park, plus an additional 32 miles of hiking trails in the adjacent State Forest. What more could you ask? There are a range of skill level trails. Plenty of info is available for hikers who visit Mohican.
  5. Maumee Bay State Parkis quite new, so there are lots of amenities, and hiking trails are being developed. There are two and three mile hikes, and a wheelchair accessible loop besides numerous other types. Close to Toledo and Port Clinton.

    Excellent for bird watching with The Trautman Nature Center within offering interpretive exhibits and and wildlife feeding stations. Bring your binoculars!

  6. Punderson State Park has 14 miles of trails and many visitors feel this is one park that really does things right! There is a conference center here, so you know there are attractions and activities to enjoy. close to Geneva Hiking trails and Amish Country, too.

    Find out what Punderson State Park has to offer

  7. There are a number of hiking trails in the preserved areas of Adams county. From easy prairie trails to view midsummer wildflowers to wooded trails. Get an overview of such areas as Adams Lake State Nature Preserve to Robert A. Whipple's Preserve to the Serpent Mound. The long "Buckeye Trail" has sections within Adams county.

    Adams County Preserves

Grandma Gatewood Trail

Hocking Hills in Ohio - Premier place to hike

More about Ohio in autumn, including daytrip places to visit, features to enjoy while discovering the state. One example of this is the way our family always combined our hikes to Old Man's Cave area with stops at the roadside stands on the way home. We always picked up fresh apple cider, Ohio apples, and sometimes locally produced jam and honey. The displays of gourds and pumpkins are pretty spectacular, too!

Be sure to explore what the hiking area have to offer in the way of local foods.

Hiking Boots

Discover The Beauty Of The State

Ohio is known for its farm fields, but the terrain and the sights are diverse. More hiking trails are popping up in urban environments, and the Great Lakes and Appalachian regions have always held attraction for those who love the outdoors.

Most of the trails will be in the reach of a half day's ride from wherever you are in the state, and they are relatively easy to navigate.

Plan on enjoying the great outdoors in the Buckeye state.

The Buckeye Trail

For those who like to hike remote trails, The Buckeye Trail winds through a circle of connected trail exploring Ohio.

We Don't Have Mountains

But we do have great views and some hills and hollers.
But we do have great views and some hills and hollers.

I recently needed hiking boots. Imagine my surprise when all the stores I visited had none, and I had to settle for trail sneakers. If I had thought ahead I could have ordered a great pair online, which is what I will need to do before the occasion for hiking trails in country where I do not want to risk slipping arises once again. (I visited Fairy Canyon).

My husband also purchased a good pair of hiking boots, and has been breaking them in gradually. I ended up trying on numerous pairs before settling on my choice which has an ankle support for steadiness on the trails.

Mohican State Park

Mohican State Park
Mohican State Park

Hiking High Points

Safety, navigation, knowledge, and appreciation.

Keep these four points in mind.


Where Can You Hike? - Quicklinks to State Parks

Try these 7 state parks, Ohio has 74 in all.

Taking Walks

About My Speed

My family likes to take walks. We often go to the Metro Parks, sometimes taking longer, sometimes shorter, trails. Most of the hiking trails in Central Ohio are mild inclines on small hills interspersed with long stretches of flat ground. It is easy walking for someone my age (let's say 'mature').

When we were a young family it was easy enough for the children of all ages, although when they were quite little we used backpacks to take a toddler along.

I highly recommend having a backpack to carry toddlers- it gives them a birds-eye view and keeps them from getting tired out.

Now that I am officially a "senior citizen" one of my favorite hiking helps is the pair of adjustable hiking sticks my husband bought for me (I used to keep an old well-worn walking stick in the car.picked up by the side of a trail one time). Modern metal walking sticks are much lighter and reliable.

The walking sticks really help me keep up the pace and feel more stable. They are a big improvement on my old make-do walking stick of yore.

This Is The Type I Have

Hikker HP-5 Anti-Shock Hiking Pole, 2-Pack, Anti Shock Hiking/Walking/Trekking Trail Poles - 1 Pair with Compass & Thermometer
Hikker HP-5 Anti-Shock Hiking Pole, 2-Pack, Anti Shock Hiking/Walking/Trekking Trail Poles - 1 Pair with Compass & Thermometer
As an older person, having walking sticks makes the difference between whether I can walk a trail or not. They will provide greater stability for anyone making long treks through uneven ground. Light weight means they are no trouble to carry, and these come with a compass and thermometer! Less gear to carry.

If you are a serious hiker, get yourself outfitted. I'm not that 'serious', but I use hiking sticks- wow, what a difference it makes for upward climbs.

Some of the Ohio Areas for Hiking

Salt Fork Area
Salt Fork Area | Source

Salt Fork Area

Are you looking for Sasquatch... Bigfoot... Ohio Grassman? There are superstitions of sighting these elusive creatures, right here in Ohio.

Nah, I personally don't believe it.

But some take their search quite seriously, how about you?

Sunset in Mohican State Park
Sunset in Mohican State Park | Source

Scary Stories of Ohio Bigfoot

Dogwood Trees In The Spring

Dogwood blooms light up the Buckeye state landscape in spring. A common sight along wooded trails.
Dogwood blooms light up the Buckeye state landscape in spring. A common sight along wooded trails.

Although autumn is a favorite time to walk the trails, because the weather is pleasant and dry, don't miss out on springtime beauty. The woods are filled with wildflowers, and spring has many lovely days, although the weather is not as predictable in this season.

Hiking Tips

Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail...

Ohio holds the foothills of Appalachia in the eastern and south eastern parts of our boundaries.

Take a breather - and unload a comment

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    • Ilonagarden profile imageAUTHOR

      Ilona E 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      I love our parks!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      When I was a child we would visit my parents friends in Columbus and I remember hiking in Hocking Hiils. What a beautiful state Ohio is. I love Rhode Island but we don't have anything like your parks.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      8 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Cool lens. I grew up partly in Ashland, OH. My family favorite was Hocking Hills, and my brother proposed to his wife and spent his honeymoon at Mohican, which was much closer to us. We'd go on day trips to both parks. I miss those days. Great hiking there!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      8 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Cool lens. I grew up partly in Ashland, OH. My family favorite was Hocking Hills, and my brother proposed to his wife and spent his honeymoon at Mohican, which was much closer to us. We'd go on day trips to both parks. I miss those days. Great hiking there!

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      SquidAngel blessings. I think that a walking/hiking stick is often overlooked but shouldn't be!


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