10 Best Hikes In Ohio You Must Explore

By Preksha Goyal on Dec 07, 2018
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No matter if your idea of hiking is walking through the beautiful lakes of Ohio or going for a strenuous hike through rough terrains, Ohio has got you covered. Rugged hills, diverse landscape and exquisite wildlife species is what makes hiking in Ohio a one of a kind experience. Ohio trails will never fail to amaze you with their stunning outdoors and recreational activities throughout the way. Some like the Clear Creek Metro Park trail and Hope Furnace trail are easy to hike while others like Burr Oak State Park and Old Man’s Cave trail might be a little difficult to climb, but one thing that each of the hiking places in Ohio promises is a great outdoor experience along scenic views. So check out these hiking trails in Ohio that’ll leave you nothing short of awe-inspired.

1. Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave Trail

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If you wish to challenge the adventurer in you with some strenuous climbing, this one is your best bet. The trail that runs from the Old’s Man cave to the Ash cave is an out and back trail nestled near South Bloomingville. It has an elevation gain of 1,204 feet and is a busy route with many people found hiking and running. The featuring lake and picturesque caves best compliment the lush greenery on the pathway. Bring along your furry friend and be prepared for some tough climbing. 

Location: Hocking Hills State Park, Hocking County

Distance: 11.6 miles

Difficulty Level: Hard

2. Gorge Trail

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The mill creek park is loaded with over fourteen trails the best of which is the 2-mile loop trail named Gorge trail. This scenic route has trails running through rugged terrain and massive rock formations. A short boardwalk runs next to the stream along the sandstone walls and gardens making it a scenic hike. Woodlands, wildlife, and meadows combine to give hikers panoramic vistas of the park. Interpretive signs about area’s geological history make hiking in the Mill Creek Park an interesting experience and Gorge trail one of the best hikes in Ohio. 

Location: Mill Creek Park, Youngstown

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty Level: Moderate

3. Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve Trail

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Two loop trails- orange and blue combine to offer an enthralling hiking experience to the hikers. Interesting flora, forested ridges, scenic stream valley, exquisite bird species, and a stellar cliff-top view combine to make your Ohio backpacking experience at Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve a rejuvenating one. Black hand sandstone formations and the presence of rare Bradley’s spleenwort form a distinctive part of this place. Visit the park during the fall foliage season for colorful scenery and don’t forget to climb Jacob’s ladder for breathtaking views of foothills in Arney Run valley. 

Location: Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve, Lancaster

Distance: 4.75 miles

Difficulty Level: Moderate

4. Quail Hollow State Park Trail

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Forested paths and open fields make hiking at the Quail Hollow State Park ideal for family outings. Suitable for hikers of all skill levels, the loop trail has fallen logs that require jumping and crawling making it a fun experience for playful adults and kids. Featuring a river, picnic spots, a children’s playground, and fishing pond, this state park is best used from May until October. 700 acres of marshes, rolling meadows, deciduous woods, and pine await you with numerous camping sites at this green and alluring state park. 

Location: Quail Hollow State Park, Hartville

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty Level: Easy

5. Lake Ramona via Chestnut Trail and Lake Trail

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Overlooking the beautiful lake Ramona, this long hiking trail comprising various small trails offer a forest setting primarily used for birding, running, walking and nature trips. With an elevation gain of 1,492 feet, this out and back trail has steep ravines and hilltops covered with hemlock trees. Chestnut trail covers a distance of about 4 miles while the lake trail covers roughly 0.5 miles. Conifers, deciduous trees, lake views, and the forested land combine to give a significant elevation change along the route. 

Location: Clear Creek Nature Reserve, Rockbridge

Distance: 10.8 miles

Difficulty Level: Moderate

6. Augusta-Ann Olsen State Nature Reserve Trail

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Great topography along the river and marked trails covered with wildflowers make hiking at the Augusta-Ann Olsen State Nature nothing short of magical. With an elevation gain of 249 feet, the reserve offers beautiful views of the Vermillion River Gorge which is perfect to visit during the spring. Depending upon the season, you may be able to spot a large variety of birds, large sassafras trees, and a range of amphibians. Meadows, high cliffs, rocky banks and deciduous and pine forest make this trail worth a hike.

Location: Augusta-Ann Olsen State Nature Reserve, Wakeman

Distance: 2.9 miles

Difficulty Level: Moderate

7. Pittsburg-Cincinnati Stage Coach and South Gorge Trail Loop

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Cited as the most scenic park of Ohio, John Bryan State Park spans about 752 acres of land and offers eleven hiking trails the most popular of which is the Pittsburg-Cincinnati Stage Coach and South Gorge Trail loop with an elevation gain of 157 feet. The trail is blanketed with ferns, hardwood and spring wildflowers along with offering opportunities to spot deer, heron, ducks, and red-bellied woodpeckers. You can wind your way along the banks of the Little Miami, rest on the fallen woods or simply enjoy the occasional views of surrounding cliffs at this scenic loop trail near Yellow Springs. 

Location: John Bryan State Park, Yellow Springs

Distance: 3.1 miles

Difficulty Level: Moderate

8. Wildcat Hollow Trail (Short Loop)

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Burr Oak State Park is another park centered around a beautiful lake and offers about 7 hiking trails with varying difficulty levels. The best among these is the Wildcat Hollow Trail which runs through open meadows, pine forests, rock outcroppings, roads overlooking panoramic landscapes and quiet streams. Wildflowers are at their peak on the trail route during spring and if you get lucky, you might be able to spot rare wildlife as well. Accessible year round, this loop trail has an elevation gain of 387 feet, remains moderately trafficked and is perfect for all skill levels. Bring along your four-legged friend and don’t forget to carry those binoculars if you wish to watch some magnificent birds. 

Location: Burr Oak State Park, Malta

Distance: 6.1 miles

Difficulty Level: Easy

9. Hope Furnace Trail

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Forest draped hills, oak trees, wildflowers, and shrubs make hiking in Lake Hope State Park a treat for nature lovers. This moderately trafficked loop trail has a few steep pitches, off camber sections and bridge crossings which might be a little challenging for some climbers. The trail also allows for mountain biking, and birding is a popular activity enjoyed here. With an elevation gain of 295 feet, this out and back trail is good for varying skill levels and one of the most prominent hiking trails in Ohio for family outdoor activities. Dogs on the leash are also allowed on the trail. 

Location: Lake Hope State Park, New Plymouth

Distance: 5.7 miles

Difficulty Level: Easy

10. Great Seal State Park North Loop Trail

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Best used between March and October, Great Seal State Park North Loop Trail is majorly used by hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Attractive wildflowers cover the trail and combine with the park’s scenic views to provide an unforgettable experience to the visitors. The trail has an elevation gain of 216 feet and has some great includes and good terrain features. Beautiful rock formations, steep grades, huge trees, and secluded viewpoints attract numerous hikers to this trail. Don’t forget to carry along a trail map as this one is surely going to test your navigational skills. 

Location: Great Seal State Park, Chillicothe

Distance: 1.8 miles

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Ohio has in store numerous hiking trails that suit varying skill levels. A hike enjoyed in Ohio’s landscaped parks and preserves is sure to leave you enthralled. So pack your bags and get going! 

*Some images are for representations purposes only. 


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