Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t get out and enjoy the natural winter wonders that we get to enjoy in Ohio. State and local parks make it easy by planning winter hikes that are safe, family-friendly and usually end with soup or hot coco.
There are plenty of winter hikes available, but these are my top 5 picks to put on your calendar this winter.
1. Hocking Hills Annual Winter Hike - January 18 (9 -11 a.m.)
The Hocking Hills Annual Winter Hike is one of the most spectacular winter hikes in the state and is now in its 49th year. The six-mile hike starts at the Old Man’s Cave parking area and takes you to Ash Cave. Along the way you will stop at Cedar Falls for bean soup and hot chocolate as you marvel at the cascading ice waterfall. There are continuous hikes starting throughout the time frame. Come dressed warm and prepared for lots of company—last year more than 5,000 people joined in the fun!
2. Goodyear Heights Hike & Breakfast: Snowflake Hike – January 18 (8 a.m.)
What’s a chilly winter hike without some comfort fuel!? The Snowflake Hike at Goodyear Heights Metro Park includes a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and comfort food. This is a fun (and delicious) way to enjoy the best indoor and outdoor treats of winter. Attendees are asked to bring something to share in the breakfast and pre-registration is required (begins on 1/14). Call (330) 865-8065 for more information.
3. Clear Creek Metro Park Winter Hikes - January 25 (10 a.m.)
Choose a 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7-mile hike through Clear Creek Metro Park depending on your energy and fitness level. I like this winter hike program because there really is an option for everyone whether you just want to get out for a short one-mile stroll or a strenuous seven-mile trek. You pick!
4. Gallant Woods Preserve Cold Winter’s Night Hike - January 31 (7 p.m.)
Bundle up the family and head out to Gallant Woods Preserve, part of Preservation Parks of Delaware County, and discover the beautiful Ohio winter at night. This guided hike will walk you through the dark preserve as you learn how to call for owls, stargaze and listen for coyotes that roam the park. This is for ages 7 and up.
5. Caesar Creek State Park Waterfall Hike – February 22 (10 a.m.- noon)
If you prefer self-guided hikes, this one is for you at Caesar Creek State Park. With your map and mittens, head out to see two magnificent frozen waterfalls with scenic photo ops of the lake. Bean soup, cornbread and hot coco will be waiting for you at the Nature Center when you are finished. The trail begins at the Wellman Meadows Boat ramp parking area.
Winter is a beautiful time to enjoy the outdoors! Just bundle up and get out there!
P.S. Please stay on the trails!!!