Our favorite places to run, hike & enjoy the great outdoors in Ohio

On our sister site, LeenaBee Photography, we did a Columbus Parks Tour blog post that was three years in the making!  We highlighted our favorite parks and places to go as a family and with the kids.  Check it out HERE!

For this tour, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite places & parks to SWEAT! Most of these have amazing running trails, but some we just like for their central location, green space or perhaps even a little hiking.  We hope to add to this over time so feel free to send us ideas for places we need to check out!

1. Dublin Road Trail & Parks, Dublin 

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking, hiking
  • Overview: Our running group typically starts in Historic Dublin and runs north up Dublin Rd towards Muirfield/Shawnee Hills (towards Wendy’s).  This out & back course is offers eight miles and you can easily tack on additional mileage by adding in Emerald Parkway, Indian Run Falls, Amberleigh or jogging over through the new Bridge Park area.  The route is also bike friendly, as its entirely paved.  The rolling hills will give you a workout!  The mileage really is endless as we’ve even trained for marathons on these paths & sidestreets, getting in a 20 miler.
  • Scenic spots & stops along the way:
    • Historic Dublin & the Karrer Barn have a lot of picturesque spots to #StopDropandYoga or get in a nice post-run stretch.
    • Kiwanis Riverway park has some pretty views, a steep hill and some stairs that could be great for hill work days.
    • Indian Run Falls has some hiking paths through the beautiful falls.  The park has two main entrances, one off Shawan Falls & the other near the Dublin library.  Leave the strollers and bikes aside for this portion, as there are dirt paths and stairs not conducive to wheels!
    • Amberleigh Park is about halfway and has a unique playground, stairs down to the river and a short hiking trail through the woods.  It also has seasonal bathrooms in the shelter house area.  Two sets of stairs make this an excellent spot for stadium drills, an alternate to hill work.

2.  Rings Road Trail & Parks, Dublin 

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking
  • Overview: 6+ mile trail on out & back course (could continue further!) – we start in Old Dublin, head west towards the “dancing bunnies” then back.
  • Scenic spots along the way:
    • The famous Field of Corn, a great place for some #stopdropandyoga.
    • Balgrafin Park is along the way and has a water fountain for both humans & doggies ~ a good spot to take a stretch or even let the kids out of the bike trailer to play.
    • Visit the bunny sculptures and hop in the fountains to cool down!
  • Other things to note: no restrooms along this route (that we know of) but could head up to Tuttle and find a restaurant or gas station if you’re desperate!

3.  Glacier Ridge Metro Park, Dublin/Plain City 

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking
  • Overview: this park has two entrances and trails that connect.  We have run many races through here, including the Dublin Alumni 5k, Flying Feather Four Miler and the Emerald City races.
  • Scenic spots along the way: a pretty boardwalk, lagoon (when there is water) and a lookout tower at the south end
  • Other things to note: seasonal restrooms at both entrances

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4. Highbanks Metro Park, Powell/Lewis Center 

  • Good for:  running, walking, hiking
  • Overview: We love the hills here.  But we also hate the hills here!  We have done a few training runs and races here, the inclines will give you a run for your money!  This is a beautiful, scenic way to spend an afternoon hiking, walking or if you dare, running.

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5. The Olentangy Trail, Columbus  

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking
  • Overview: So many possibilities on this trail!
    • We often meet at the north end trail head near Hills Market, called Worthington Hills Park.  **Be forewarned, the path is currently closed under 270 through Nov 2017, so don’t start at this end for you fall long runs!**
    • Our second most common route has been near the Worthington Farmer’s Market.  In the summer, enjoy a RUN+YOGA…  Yoga on the Green is compliments of Native Juice!
    • Olentangy Park near the Worthington Mall is another popular trail head, the one we’ll likely be using while the construction is going on.
  • Scenic spots along the way: lots of other runners & bikers, the Antrim Park pond, nice bridges & parks, including the Columbus Park of Roses
  • Other things to note:  There are a few pitstops (water and portapot at Antrim, water at the Olentangy Park trail head) but bring your own water, just in case

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6. Rail to Trail, Hilliard  

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking
  • Overview: Many possibilities and trail heads on this course, with several parks & green spaces along the route.  We have gotten in 10+ miles around these areas & paths!
  • Scenic spots along the way:
    • At the southern end is old Hilliard, including fountains & a fun coffee shop we found, Coffee Connections
    • About halfway(ish) is Homestead Park, two playgrounds, covered bridge and seasonal restrooms
    • Northern point is Heritage Dog Park, a beautiful place to watch the sunset!
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7.  Columbus Commons to Schiller Park (& back), German Village

  • Good for:  running, walking
  • Overview: We do this three mile run 1-2 times a year before Yoga at the Columbus Commons.
  • Scenic spots along the way:  Winans German Village is nearby if you need a coffee and a restroom stop.  Columbus Commons has restrooms open seasonally, along with Jeni’s Ice Cream, yum! 

8. Hocking Hills State Park(s), Southern Ohio 

  • Good for:  running, walking, hiking
  • Overview: Whether you do a day trip (only a little over an hour from Columbus) or spend the weekend, you will not be disappointed!  The Hocking Hills area offers a wide variety of paths, both easy or hard, as well as breath-taking scenery.  While you’re at it, stop at a winery or brewery on the way!
  • Scenic spots along the way: too many to mention!  We’ll update this soon. 🙂

Hocking 1Hocking 2

9.  Scioto Mile, Downtown Columbus  

  • Good for:  running, walking, some green spaces for yoga
  • Overview: Lots of trails and beautiful views of the city
  • Scenic spots along the way:  Absolutely GORGEOUS at sunset, several nearby green parks with variety of paths & land/hardscapes including Bicentennial Park, Genoa Park & Scioto Audubon Metro Park.  We’ve done anywhere from a 20 minute run up to five miles, but could easily get more mileage if needed.  We ran this route prior to lululemon’s POGA summer series, as well as for many races.

Bicentenial Park 2016-8

 

10.  Village Green Park, Powell  

  • Good for:  running, walking, HIIT!
  • Overview: We have met here a few times for play dates, but more recently for the Northwest STROLLER STRIDES class and really enjoy it!  There is a small loop bike/run path and green space for yoga or some stroller workouts.
  • Scenic spots along the way:
    • There is a splash pad and playground on site for the littles to play before, during or after your workout.
    • We’ve not run it (yet!) but it is a 3.4 mile jog north to Liberty Park
    • Stay after and visit the nearby Olentangy Indian Caves!

 

Other places we like or want to check out…

  • Apple Valley Lake & Hiking
  • Mohican State Park
  • Sharon Woods Metro Park
  • Cuyahoga Falls

If you have favorites, suggestions or questions, email us at LivingFitColumbus@gmail.com – we’d love to hear from you!

Photo credits to @WanderlustOnTheRun 😉 Thank you! 

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