Hiking is a fun activity that gets the whole family out in the fresh air to enjoy nature and each other’s company. In Westerville, OH, we are lucky to have some beautiful parks with plenty of accessible hiking trails. You can ramble along woodland paths, watch wildlife, take in river views, and enjoy the fall foliage or spring flowers.
Fresh air is great for your well-being, so before you hit the gym, remember the outdoors are calling. Here are a few trails that will provide a refreshing getaway from your busy days so you can unwind, whether you’re hiking alone or with your family.
Inniswood Metro Gardens
“L1040807” licensed through CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Aryeh Alex
Located southeast of Westerville, near Central College, the trail at Inniswood Metro Gardens is a 1.3-mile loop through a nature park. Featuring both wildlands and beautifully crafted gardens, this trail is easily walkable in half an hour. However, you may want to stroll at a more leisurely pace to enjoy the gardens and take in the scenic views.
The trail is open every day from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Public restrooms are located near the parking lot and at the Sisters’ Garden, with water fountains available at both locations. The trail surface ranges from boardwalk to pavement to gravel. Pets are only allowed in the parking lot and along the outer portion of the trail.
With 123 acres filled with streams and hardwood forests situated next to artful gardens and lawns, Inniswood Metro Gardens offers plenty to keep you coming back. You can see more than 2,000 different species of plants within the themed gardens and collections. The forests contain beech, maple, hickory, and oak trees. Inniswood House, meanwhile, is the center of the cultivated area, which comprises 10 distinct gardens. The house has its own non-lending horticultural library, staff offices, and educational program, and monthly artist showcases are held in the main room.
Sharon Woods Multipurpose Trail
The Sharon Woods Multipurpose Trail is a 3.9-mile loop through lovely woodlands and meadows on rolling hills. It is a paved trail with split walking and biking lanes. Open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., it’s perfect for a morning run or an after-work nature walk if you have the 1 hour and 40 minutes it takes to walk the loop.
The trail wraps around Sharon Woods Park, which sits between I-71 and I-270 to the southwest of Westerville. There are three picnic areas within the park, complete with picnic tables, playgrounds, drinking fountains, and restrooms. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.
If you have mobility equipment or young children in strollers, some hilly portions are easier to navigate if you go clockwise around the loop. More trails wander within the park, with trailheads or intersections along the southern edge of the Multipurpose Trail. These trails are mainly gravel and pass through forests of beech, hickory, and oak as well as fields of wildflowers in the spring and summer. You can follow alongside Spring Creek, skirt a peaceful 11-acre lake with designated fishing areas, and walk through the Edward Thomas Nature Preserve, which features ancient oaks over 200 years old.
Alum Creek Trail
The Alum Creek Trail offers nearly 25 miles of paved trail that runs from Westerville down to Three Creeks Metro Park, following the Alum Creek corridor. The time it takes to walk the trail depends on how much of it you are walking. It links up with further trails in the area as part of the Central Ohio Greenways multi-use trail network. Its many trailheads allow you to pick the most convenient starting point for you. Hours of operation depend on location as the trails span towns and counties. Facilities such as restrooms and parking can be found at public parks along the way.
The greenway connects many communities along its way and is used as a commuting route by cyclists. The majority of the Alum Creek Trail is managed by Metro Parks. The trail is divided into three sections: North, Central, and South. The North portion travels from I-27 south for 6 miles, through a total of six parks, including Tanager and Innis. The Central trail is 6 miles long and travels through at least seven smaller parks, complete with trailheads and connections to other paths. The South trail is 7.5 miles long. It ends at Three Creeks Park and merges with Blacklick Trail, which can take you a further 14 miles.
Blendon Woods Loop
The 2-mile loop located in Blendon Woods Park is only 10 minutes south of the Hoover Dam. It is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. It takes only an estimated 54 minutes to complete this easy hike. Near the trailhead, there is a ranger station, along with play areas, restrooms, and picnic tables. The trail surface is dirt or gravel and leads you on a journey through woods of towering hardwoods, past fields of wildflowers, and across the ravines of Ripple Rock Creek, which is named for the exposed ripple rock sandstone.
Songbirds and waterfowl make the 653-acre Blendon Park popular with bird watchers and animal lovers. One of the connecting trails will take you to Walden Waterfowl Refuge and the 11-acre Thoreau Lake. Hundreds of ducks, birds, and other wildlife can be seen frequenting the lake and surrounding lands. A flock of wild turkeys can sometimes be glimpsed in the meadows. Look for disturbed soil where these large birds have been dust bathing, with shiny feathers left as clues they have been there. Pets are only permitted on the nearby Goldenrod Trail and at picnic areas, and they must be leashed.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about these fun hiking options and are excited to head out and explore them. From long river walks and meandering trails through pass through forests and gardens to birding and nature walks, there are so many great hiking options in central Ohio. Paved trails keep the mud at bay during the rainy season, while dirt and gravel get you feeling close to nature during warm summer days. At Crème de la Crème of Westerville, OH, we’d love to hear what your favorite hikes are, so contact us with your best recommendations.