Hiking is perhaps not the biggest thing Ohio is known for. Most of those who visit this state probably do so because of American Football or maybe to see the Cedar Point amusement park.
With that said, Ohio has much more in store than urban entertainment. If you are willing to escape from the limits of Ohio’s populous cities, you will be rewarded with some of the most unique and captivating sights you will ever have the chance to see.
And among all the beauty offered by Ohio, 10 locations particularly stand out. We strongly recommend that you visit these for a hike to discover the natural riches of the state.
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10 Must-Visit Hiking Trails In Ohio
1. Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve
Conkle’s Hollow is perhaps the most popular hiking location in Ohio. And there are two good reasons for its popularity.
First, Conkle’s Hollow offers one of the most diverse sceneries in the state; and secondly, it’s located in Hocking Hills State Park, a must-visit area for visitors of Ohio.
Conkle’s Hollow is a nature preserve with two trails – the 2.5-miles long Rim (or Ridge) Trail and the 1.1-mile Gorge Trail. The Rim Trail is the more remarkable among the two – passing around cliff edges, it is as exciting as it is dangerous.
Gorge Trail, in contrast, is relatively family-friendly and is a good place for a lighter journey.
2. Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Though first opened in 1993, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail has long been a major travel route, especially for traders. For nearly a century – from 1827 to 1913 – it has served as a connection route for nearby major cities.
Now, Erie Canal Towpath Trail spans approximately 85 miles, going through Tuscarawas, Stark, Summit, and Cuyahoga counties. The route is the same as back in the 19th century, so you get a chance to travel the same historic path as travelers once did.
And needless to say, there’s also a lot to see and to do along the trail’s 85 miles.
3. Buckeye Trail
Not many people have seen the Buckeye Trail in its full glory. Stretching for a whopping 1,444 miles, this trail passes through many of Ohio’s scenic locations, including the Hocking Hills area, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and many towns across Ohio.
Part of this trail is wooded, while the rest is on the road. For safety reasons, the road portions are being relocated – so soon, this will be a full hiking-only trail.
4. Old Man’s Cave Trail
Like Conkle’s Hollow, the Old Man’s Cave Trail is located in Hocking Hills State Park. Unlike Conkle’s Hollow though, this trail is much safer and more family-friendly.
Despite being only about a mile long, Old Man’s Cave is packed with wonderful sights. Along the trail, you will see numerous gorgeous waterfalls, rock formations, and small caves.
Old Man’s Cave Trail connects with the Buckeye Trail too, so you may leave the trail and go onto a completely different journey.
5. Buzzardroost Rock Trail
Buzzardroost Rock Trail is located in the 16,000-acre Edge of Appalachia Nature Preserve. The preserve’s wildlife is exceptionally diverse, and you may be lucky enough to see some of the 100 rare species of animals and plants living in the area.
The highlight of this trail is the gigantic limestone monument. This is the Buzzardroost Rock, named so in honor of buzzards (turkey vultures) living in its vicinity. Standing 900 feet above Ohio Brush Creek, the Buzzardroost Rock’s area opens a wonderful panoramic view of Adams County.
6. Virginia Kendall Ledges
Although certainly not the most expansive hiking area in Ohio, Virginia Kendall Ledges is the most unique place you could find yourself hiking in.
Located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Peninsula, this trail’s area was covered by sea over 300 million years ago. The fascinating ledges and landscapes of Virginia Kendall Ledges formed along with the melting of ancient glaciers as well.
With that, despite its short 2-mile length, Virginia Kendal Ledges offers prehistoric experiences the likes of which very few places in the US can deliver.
7. Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls isn’t a particularly renowned trail, partially perhaps because it incorporates only 1.2 miles out of the 74 miles of trails in Caesar Creek State Park. But despite its low popularity, it definitely is worth a visit.
Horseshoe Falls is a perfect hiking trail if your time is limited. Though it’s a rather easy and family-friendly hike, it has quite a few sights to see, including a gorgeous waterfall and a swinging bridge. Part of a larger trail, Horseshoe Falls may be easily incorporated into a longer journey too, if time allows.
8. Hurdle Waterfowl Park
Originally established to attract waterfowl, Hurdle Waterfowl Park today attracts fans of fishing and bird watching. Sized at just 66 acres, Hurdle Waterfowl Park is perfect for short day hikes as well.
Despite its small area, Hurdle Waterfowl Park has plenty of things to do and see. Among its highlights are the 4.5-acre fishing pond, 2.5-acre duck pond, and a 12-acre shallow pond complex. You may traverse the ponds via a series of boardwalks.
The landscape comprised of woods and even a small marsh is rather diverse as well. You may also view the entire territory of the park from a 65 feet tall observation tower.
9. Rowe Woods Trail
Located in Cincinnati Nature Center, Rowe Woods Trail is among the most-visited waterfront parks of Ohio. It is one of the few parks that allow you to step onto the water via boardwalk paths as well.
It will most likely take you a few days to fully explore Rowe Woods Trail. Stretching over 14 miles, it covers a deciduous forest, vast fields, and ponds. Just east of Cincinnati, this trail is easy to access too.
10. East Gorge Walk & West Gorge Trail
East Gorge Walk and West Gorge Trail of Mill Creek Park form a 2-mile loop when hiked together. There actually are 12 other great trails in Mill Creek Park, but these two are the best and should be visited first if you have limited time.
Colloquially called the Two Mile Loop, the two hikes go through massive rock formations and rough terrain, so your journey won’t be the easiest. There is also a short water portion with boardwalks and some exciting views.
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