COLUMBUS, OH - There's no better way to get up close and personal
with an Ohio autumn than with a woodland trek through a state
park, forest or nature preserve, according to the Ohio Department
of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking provide some of
the best and most intimate ways to view the vibrant and colorful
Ohio countryside. Ohio's state parks, forests and nature preserves
offer hundreds of miles of trails through some of the state's most
picturesque terrain. ODNR has compiled a list of the best
locations to visit this autumn and view the change of seasons.
Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park (Portage County) - Three miles
of hiking trails featuring unusual rock formations with names like
Indian Pass and Old Maid's Kitchen. Best for experienced hikers
Beaver Creek State Park (Columbiana County) - Twelve miles of
hiking trails and 26 miles of bridle trails that border on the
gorge of Little Beaver Creek, a state wild and scenic river.
Findley State Park (Lorain County) - Nine miles of hiking and
mountain biking trails (including part of the Buckeye Trail) that
run through portions of a scenic old-growth forest.
Mohican State Park-Mohican Memorial State Forest
(Ashland/Richland counties) - Thirty-seven miles of hiking trails,
including some multiple-use trails through rolling hills and the
Clear Fork River Gorge - a National Natural Landmark.
Quail Hollow State Park (Stark County) - Eighteen miles of
hiking trails, including a one-mile paved path, are a good place
for beginning hikers.
Woods State Nature Preserve (Richland County) - Two hiking trails
meander through this 148-acre preserve, one of the oldest in the
state. Some trees here are 100 to 200 years old.
Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve (Licking County) - Six
trails of varying lengths cross this 970-acre preserve which lies
on the Licking River Gorge. Bikes are allowed on a four-mile paved
Lawrence Woods State Nature Preserve (Hardin County) - More
than 1,000 acres of natural wooded habitat with a one-mile trail
that abounds with plant and animal life.
Barkcamp State Park (Belmont County) - Thirty-four miles of
hiking trails and 30 miles of bridle trails pass through one of
the most biologically diverse forests in Ohio. The park's
less-frequented trails are great for beginners.
Salt Fork State Park (Guernsey County) - Fourteen miles of
hiking trails and 20 miles of bridle trails that circle a
Burr Oak State Park (Morgan County) - Extensive hiking on back
woodland trails and across beautiful rolling hills.
Lake Hope State Park and Zaleski State Forest (Vinton County) -
Seventeen miles of hiking trails and four miles of mountain bike
trails in the park alone. A 23-mile backpack trail winds through
the forest in one of the most picturesque parts of Ohio. Along the
way, hikers can visit Native American sites, the legendary
Moonville tunnel and some of the best wild turkey and white-tailed
deer habitat in the state.
Great Seal State Park (Ross County) - Twenty-two miles of
hiking trails and 17 miles of bridle and mountain bike trails that
run along the Appalachian escarpment.
Scioto Trail State Park and State Forest (Ross County) - Twelve
miles of hiking trails along the Scioto River lie completely
within the park; 26 miles of bridle and hiking trails lie within
the forest. Abundant wildlife along the way.
Tar Hollow State Park and State Forest (Ross County) -
Forty-six miles of hiking trails and 25 miles of bridle trails, as
well as 2.5 miles of mountain bike trails pass through deep
ravines and dense woodlands of the park and forest. Portions of
the Logan and Buckeye trails pass through the forest.
Hocking Hills State Park and State Forest (Hocking County) -
Twenty-four miles of hiking trails lie within the park and nine
miles of hiking and bridle trails lie within the forest in an area
famous for its rock formations, waterfalls, caves and beautiful
natural scenery. Portions of the Buckeye Trail pass through the
state forest that also has designated repelling and rock-climbing
Shawnee State Park and State Forest (Scioto County) - A 60-mile
backpacking trail winds through the largest state forest in Ohio.
Some hiking trails remain closed from last winter's ice storm.
Visitors are encouraged to check with the park office before
beginning any hike.
East Fork State Park (Clermont County) - Eighty-five miles of
hiking trails, 55 miles of bridle trails and 46 miles of backpack
trails, as well as five miles of mountain bike trails, make this
one of the most popular parks in southwest Ohio. Portions of the
Buckeye, North Country andNational Scenic trails cut through this
park which lies on the east fork of the Little Miami River.
Caesar Creek State Park (Warren County) - Forty-three miles of
hiking trails and 31 miles of bridle trails, as well as five miles
of mountain bike trails through forests and around a 2,800-acre
lake. The park is one of the best fossil-hunting areas in the
Hueston Woods State Park (Preble County) - Twelve miles of
hiking trails, 10 miles of bridle trails and 12 miles of mountain
bike trails run through an old-growth maple forest. The park also
features a resort lodge and lake.
John Bryan State Park and Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve
(Greene County) - Hikers can travel between the villages of
Clifton and Yellow Springs along the scenic Little Miami River
Gorge and visit historic overlooks along the way.
Kiser Lake State Park (Champaign County) - Four miles of easy
trails make this out-of-the-way park ideal for beginning hikers.
Trails lead through rolling woodlands and diverse wetlands.
Indian Lake State Park (Logan County) - Seven miles of hiking
trails wind along a 5,800-acre lake. Three miles of trailway are
paved for cyclists and rollerbladers.
For more information on hiking and riding in Ohio's state
parks, state forests and state nature preserves, visit ohiodnr.com