Ohio Hiking: Favorites from Scotty B

Scott at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary.

Scott at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary.

A warm Hashtag 59 welcome to Scotty B our latest contributor!  Mike R and Scotty B connected on Instagram and are both participating in the 52 Hike Challenge and will be heading out on a trail soon together.

To keep up with Scott's adventures follow him on Instagram HERE and check out his story that was recently featured on the Columbus Metro Parks site HERE!

Enter Scotty B: 

In January this year I embarked on my current hiking adventure. I decided to attempt the 52 Hike Challenge and chose the Explorer Series. This challenge calls for 52 hikes on 52 different trails! I made this decision to avoid repetition and see more places that I have never been. At the time of this post I’ve completed 43 of my 52 hikes! 41 of these hikes have been on trails in my home state of Ohio. I’ve been all over the state and visited all kinds of parks (National, State, Nature Preserves and Metro ). It’s been difficult to narrow down, but I have picked one of each type of park to highlight here as my favorites.

1) Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Virginia Kendall Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley.

The Virginia Kendall Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley.

I’m amazed at the amount of people that I talk to that have never been to or even knew that Ohio has a National Park! If you are one of these people you need to plan a trip to this incredible park. Cuyahoga Valley has a great variety of trails and destinations. It is home to several waterfalls, the Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath, an unbelievable ledges area, a breathtaking overlook and even a scenic railroad through the park.

Blue Hen Falls from the creek.

Blue Hen Falls from the creek.

I really enjoyed the trail to the Blue Hen Falls. You can get up close to the falls and explore the creek area around the falls for some beautiful scenery. There is also a portion of the Buckeye Trail that connects to this trail. I have been to Cuyahoga Valley several times now and haven’t come close to seeing all of the park’s areas and trails.

2) Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills: Balanced Rock.

Hocking Hills: Balanced Rock.

The Hocking Hills region may be one of the most beautiful natural areas that Ohio has to offer up. There are so many popular attractions on the trails here. (Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave and Conkle’s Hollow to name a few.) I feel like these areas tend to be crowded and sometimes difficult to park on weekends. I’ve been hiking in this area for years and I’ve started to find some of the lesser known areas are fun hikes as well. I just hiked along a couple of bridle trails near the rock climbing and rappelling area that led to Balanced Rock and Chapel Cave (a.k.a. 21 Horses Cave).

The view from inside Chapel Cave

The view from inside Chapel Cave

The trails were a little beat up from the recent rain and horses riding on them, but the views were breathtaking and well worth the extra effort. I didn’t realize that these trails were ones that you could hike on until recently.

3) Highlands Nature Sanctuary

Stone Bridge on Trail

Stone Bridge on Trail

This Nature Preserve in Bainsbridge has two short trails that lead down into a gorge created by Rocky Creek. I love gorge trails because they have trees and plants that you don’t normally see in our region. The area reminds me of scenes from a Lord Of The Rings movie complete with natural stairways carved from the rocks and a stone bridge crossing over a stream. The Preserve used to be the 7 Caves Resort years ago and the small caves remain on the trail, one is even large enough to walk into. The highlight of these trails for me was the ‘Three Sisters’ a fantastic slump rock formation in the middle of Rocky Creek. The day that I was there I saw kayakers coming through the center of the rocks. It was pretty cool!

4) Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Beaver Lake from the trail.

Beaver Lake from the trail.

Prairie Oaks happens to be in between my home and my work. I spend a lot of time here hiking, exploring and taking pictures. I really enjoy the diversity of the trails here. There are trails around a few small lakes, along a wooded area near Darby Creek and in the prairie/meadows. Most of the trails are connected so you can spend quite a bit of time hiking them! You can kayak in the lakes and one of them has a dog friendly beach/swim area. As a bonus the sunsets here are incredible over the lakes.

Darby Bend Lake at sunset.

Darby Bend Lake at sunset.

No matter where you live in Ohio there are many amazing parks and trails to explore. Most of these can be made as day trips from anywhere in the state!

Get outside and be one with nature, bring plenty of water and remember to “leave no trace” while you are enjoying the trails! Stay connected with Scott HERE!

Sign up in the footer for the email list for great prizes and VIP specials from the Hashtag 59 Family!

Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,

Scotty B and the Hashtag 59 Team

Ohio Hikes.jpg