I’m not sure why I keep getting blown away by the beauty and the diversity of our Columbus Metro Parks in central Ohio, but I do. I suppose it’s because I grew up in Columbus within the I-270 outer belt and didn’t have a clue they were even around. And if someone were to show me pictures of what we were able to see as we hiked yesterday, I would have thought it was somewhere outside of Franklin County. But I do believe we found another Metro Parks gem, Blendon Woods Metro Park!
Yesterday, we got to enjoy a totally new park (to us) called Blendon Woods just on the Northeast side of Columbus. It was only a couple of minutes from the I-270/SR 161 interchange and really easy to access. There was plenty of parking and great facilities all throughout the park such as shelters and restrooms.
Columbus Metro Park Winter Hike Series:
But as we embarked on our Winter Hike Series trail, I believe the word that I heard come from our lips the most was, “wow!”. After checking in at the entry point for our 4 mile loop hike, we descended down into a ravine on the dirt and gravel trail. Already at this point, I think we were both pleasantly surprised by the terrain change as we’ve been looking for places locally that will challenge us and the kids to get us prepared physically for bigger hikes.
Once we got to the bottom, we crossed over a wooden bridge that took us over a small winding creek. But just after that, low and behold a couple of wild turkeys were walking about! They didn’t seem to mind us a bit and so we were able to watch them for a few minutes as they scratched and pecked around the forest floor looking for food. But later in the hike, we would end up seeing a group of about 15-20 together that seem to be taking in the sun.
Break Time at the Blendon Woods Nature Center:
About a 1/3 of the way on our hike, we stopped by the nature center for a quick warm-up with some hot cocoa, courtesy of the Metro Parks. When your hiking with kids, we’re learning that taking some periodic breaks seems to be the best plan of attack. Throw in a little hot chocolate in the middle of a hike and things just seem to get better. We may just consider tossing a thermos full of the stuff into our day packs to have on hand for a quick warm-up.
The mature Beech trees and Oaks that surrounded us during our outing helped block most of the wind on this relatively mild day. The park had its fair share of winding creek-filled ravine’s and an occasional cliff to take in as well as an open field we were allowed to access only on this particular day. The trails were a mix of paved, gravel, and unimproved which was nice to help give us some variety.
We Were Impressed!
Needless to say, I think we were both impressed by the park. And we both agreed that it would be one that we would come back to again and again. Even more impressive for me was when at the half way point, Nate revealed to me that he was carrying the 3 man tent in his backpack the whole time! Hoorah! I’m glad to see he’s taking this hiking/training thing serious and seems to be enjoying it…but don’t tell Nate I said that. 😉
Things to do at Blendon Woods:
There are plenty of activities to do at Blendon Woods Metro Park, other than just hiking! You can spend the day here in any season with the outdoor fun they provide.
Try your hand at the 18-hole disc golf course. You will need to bring your own discs and this is FREE!
Ice Skating and Cross Country Skiing
The 2-mile Sugarbush Trail is used as a cross-country ski trail when conditions are suitable. There is a 0.4-acre skating pond that is 18 to 24 inches deep. You can come and skate when the weather permits.
Natural Play Areas
Blendon Woods has a 10-acre area with a wooded hillside and ravine where kids can create their own natural fun! It’s hard to believe my kids are too old for this area but I look forward to taking my grandkids here!
The nature centers are a great place to learn through displays and exhibits. We enjoy visiting with the rangers and getting our questions answered.
Nature Center Hours:
April to September: 7am to 8pm October to March: 7am to 5pm Christmas Day: Closed
Blendon Woods has seven free shelters that are available on a first-come-first-served basis and include picnic tables, grills, play equipment, and restrooms. We have enjoyed packing picnics and spending the day here.