You haven't really seen a state park until you've walked its trails. Subtle changes in landscape become dramatic when experienced on foot, and the trail offers the best views of carpets of spring wildflowers and canopies of fall foliage, as well as glimpses of wild creatures. Ohio State Park trails offer something for everybody, from short self-guided nature walks to longer treks along scenic lakeshores, through shady woodlands and sunny meadows. Several backpacking trails offer physical challenges, solitude and a chance to practice outdoor skills.
Several of our trails promise particularly rewarding hikes, winding past waterfalls, opening up to scenic vistas and hugging fascinating rock formations. The rugged sandstone cliffs and jumbled stone blocks at Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park create amazing landforms, and make for interesting hiking. A total of three miles of hiking trails offer easy, moderate and difficult hikes to scenic natural features with colorful names, including Fat Man's Peril and Dwarf's Pass, Devil's Hole and Devil's Ice box, Old Maid's Kitchen and Shipwreck Rock.
|A peaceful walk, flower observation, birdwatching, photography--just a few of the pleasures available for those who will hike to seek them out.
The Hocking Hills region is Ohio's natural wonderland, adorned with cliffs, caves and waterfalls sheltered by towering trees. Hocking Hills State Park boasts the state's most impressive scenery accessible by hiking trail, including the spectacular Old Man's Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Rock House, Cantwell Cliffs and Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve. The trails vary in length from one-half to six miles and are easy to moderate in difficulty.
Great Seal State Park is the setting of the lovely landscape depicted in the Great Seal of the State of Ohio. The hills of Great Seal divide the glaciated plains of northern and western Ohio from the Appalachian foothills to the south and east. More than twenty miles of hiking and bridle trails meander through rolling countryside, taking strenuous climbs up and down steep slopes. The six-mile Mt. Ives trail offers spectacular views of the hillsides as well as the Scioto River valley. A stone's throw from Great Seal and even more remote is Scioto Trail State Park, which preserves the rustic character of the region with heavy forest cover and rugged hills. Scioto Trail also offers great views, with shorter trails that are easy to moderate in difficulty.
Dramatic gorges carved by wild and scenic rivers make for great hiking on rim trails or streamside at Mohican, Beaver Creek and John Bryan state parks. Sandstone walls 300-feet high, along with towering hemlocks and stands of sub virgin with old growth white pine shade Mohican State Park's Clearfork Gorge. Two hiking trails totaling more than four miles allow hikers to explore the gorge from top to bottom. History and natural beauty abound along more than four miles of trails that trace Little Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek State Park's gorge trails feature remnants of locks from the Sandy and Beaver Canal, along with the skeleton of an old grist mill. A two-mile rim trail at John Bryan State Park offers great views of the limestone cliffs created by the Little Miami River, while four miles of riverside trail within the gorge pass some of the state's finest spring wildlflower displays.
East Fork State Park offers a total of 58 miles of hiking trails through hilly backcountry,including a twelve-mile backpack trail. There are four primitive campsites, available through a free permit issued at the park office. The Logan Boy Scout Backpack Trail at Tar Hollow State Park offers 21 miles of moderate to difficult hiking amid beautiful scenery opening up to great views of unbroken hillsides. Burr Oak State Park's backpack trail also offers views of vast rugged hills far into the distance, as well as colorful spring wildflower displays close to the trail. Shorter hikes of less than one mile to more than three can be enjoyed on one-way trails along Burr Oak's eighteen-mile backpack loop. Shawnee State Park offers nice views of "Ohio's Little Smokies" from short trails within the park, while the adjacent state forest backpack trail, consisting of two loops totaling 43 miles, offers a wilderness experience. At Lake Hope State Park, short park trails offer a sampling of the woodlands that are the backdrop for the challenging 23-mile backpack trail in adjacent Zaleski State Forest.
Hard-surfaced nature trails at several state parks are wide and level to provide access to all park visitors. A two-mile interpretive boardwalk trail through the Lake Erie marshes brings people and nature together at Maumee Bay State Park. The Old Man's Cave paved overlook trail gives visitors to Hocking Hills State Park a good view of Ohio's best-loved scenic treasures. The half-mile paved trail at Ash Cave leads from the parking lot to the yawning mouth of Ohio's largest sandstone recess cave. A paved loop circles Barkcamp State Park's Pioneer Village, which features the interesting antique barn. The paved "Nature for All" trail at Quail Hollow State Park winds along the grounds of the historic Stewart manor house, past the Quail Hollow herb garden and into the woods. Thoughtful touches at the herb garden, such as herb identification tags with braille printing and a cleverly concealed tape recorder which plays an interpretive audio message, make for a complete sensory experience for persons of all abilities.
Ohio State Parks trails are linked to major state and national trail systems. Ohio's Buckeye Trail traverses 1,200 miles across 40 of Ohio's 88 counties. It encircles the state, following historic canal towpaths, abandoned railroad corridors, lakeshores and river corridors, rural roads and city streets as well as nature trails through state and local parks. Portions of the Buckeye Trail system pass through seventeen state parks, including Mary Jane Thurston, Independence Dam, Grand Lake St. Marys, Lake Loramie, Caesar Creek, Little Miami, East Fork, Pike Lake, Tar Hollow, Scioto Trail, Hocking Hills, Burr Oak, Wolf Run, Salt Fork, West Branch, Findley and Headlands Beach. The North Country National Scenic Trail stretches from New York's Adirondack Mountains to central North Dakota. Seven hundred miles of this 3,200-mile, seven-state span cross Ohio, tracing the path of the Buckeye Trail, with additional stops at Beaver Creek, Adams Lake, Shawnee and John Bryan state parks.