An icy cold day has descended on Ohio and in my mind preparing for a wonderful winter hiking season needs to start now. Winter hiking is underrated and if you have never taken a winter trek, you are missing out on some of the best hiking there is. You see more wildlife, hear and see more birds and you can enjoy the quiet that the winter forest provides. Let our 5 favorite hike suggestions be your springboard into some phenomenal winter hiking!
54th Annual Winter Hike at Hocking Hills State Park
We enjoy winters splendor on this 6-mile trek from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave in beautiful Hocking Hills State Park. The magnificence and splendor on this lovely hike will leave you speechless. Taking in everything that you will see on the trail, on this hike, will give you a new appreciation for the outdoors in winter. I promise you won’t be disappointed but you might get chilly. Bundle up in layers on this hike and be prepared to take some things off if you start to sweat. I recommend a good pair of hiking shoes for this winter trek.
*THINGS TO KNOW*
Refreshments are available at Cedar Falls for a donation and a shuttle bus returns hikers to Old Man’s Cave. Parking can be challenging so arrive early if you can. More information about this hike and other winter hikes can be found here winter activities in Hocking Hills State Park.
Cleveland Metro Parks Winter Hike Series
How can you choose just one hike within this superb metro park system? I encourage you to hit as many of their winter hikes as you can during this season. There is one hike that has stood out over time and that is the Hemlock Loop Trail at Brecksville Reservation. This area is waterfall heavy and has so many things that hikers are looking for in a winter hike. There is a Winter Wonder on January 6th here on the Hemlock Loop Trail that will be worth making time for.
*THINGS TO KNOW*
There are many winter outdoor activities to do here within the Cleveland Metro Park system. You could spend a week adventuring through them and not get bored. They teach classes and lead tours on snow shoes and cross county skies during the winter, if you’ve never done these activities, now is your chance.
Did you know there are Toboggan Shoots in Ohio? They have these here in OHIO, yes, you read that right, in OHIO! We have wanted to make it to the Chalet for tobogganing for years to ride on the fastest ice shoots in Ohio and it has never worked out. Getting there is bucket listed for 2019 and we can’t wait to head to Cleveland to have some winter fun!
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
I can’t leave out Ohio’s one and only National Park off my list, Cuyahoga Valley NP. The hike to the Ledges Overlook is honestly one of my favorites in Ohio. It’s crazy amazing any time of the year, but in winter, it’s MAGICAL. This is probably the most popular overlook in the park, with the rock outcroppings, a secluded feeling, being surrounded by trees, and the smells of the forest make this hike otherworldly. I can’t help but make my way here every winter.
*THINGS TO KNOW*
If there is a lot of snow you can rent some snow shoes or bring your own. We hiked the Ledges in 6″ of snow and I was exhausted afterwards because we did not have snowshoes. It’s worth considering using them. Make time to visit the visitors center, do the Jr.Ranger program and watch the video, it’s informative and gives you an appreciation for this National Park.
Columbus Metro Park Winter Hike Series
As a central Ohioan, I can’t leave out the amazing Columbus Metro Park system. They have an outstanding winter hike series, every hike is special and a one of a kind in the winter season. There is diversity that stands out on each hike. The Clear Creek Metro Park winter hike has to be one of my favorites in winter. The terrain and rock formations here make this hike a winter wonderland of absolute amazing-ness. Ice forming off the sides of rocks and dripping off the Hemlocks make this a place of fascination and wonder. This years winter hike is January 26th, put it on your calendar!
*THINGS TO KNOW*
Every winter hike in the Columbus Metro Parks ends with soup and hot chocolate and there is nothing better than sitting down with family or friends after a winter trek through the woods. The volunteers at Columbus Metro Parks are amazing and really help the parks pull off these winter events. Make sure to add one of their winter hikes to your winter MUST DO LIST!
Mohican State Park, Lyons Falls Trail
This sweet trail in the Mohican State Park, is one we return to over and over. It has changing terrain, beautiful waterfalls, tricking streams and a lovely flowing river. Winter here in the forest is stunning and we have seen eagles flying along the river, deer meandering through the naked trees, the beauty of soft falling snow slowly descending into the quiet woods. It has caused us to pause and be thankful for the pristine beauty of this place. (Read about one of our learning adventures here, Big Lyons Falls and a Lesson Learned )
Things To Know
Mohican does not close in the winter, although hours at many places are shorter, so check those out before you come. You can find that information here at Discover Mohican.
We would recommend a winter overnight getaway at the Mohican State Park Lodge. There is a lovely fireplace, indoor pool and delicious restaurant on property. They often offer discounted winter rates and it is the perfect time to explore the Mohican area. We love staying here and getting up early and heading out into the woods for an early morning hike.
Whether you choose one of our winter hike choices or create your own adventure, we hope you enjoy everything this crisp, snowy season has to offer here in the great state of Ohio.
Happy Winter Adventures,