Pickerington Ponds Metro Park is For the Birds!

Spread the Love
  • 4
    Shares

Pickerington Ponds Metro Park is a haven for bird watchers. This Metro Park in Canal Winchester offers a breath of fresh air, beautiful scenery and lots of opportunities for bird watching!

Pickerington Ponds Metro Park, southeast of Columbus, Ohio, is one of Franklin County’s largest natural wetlands. Part of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, this park is perfect for bird watchers and viewing wildlife.

The park is made up of 1608 acres and features a state nature preserve. The park is pretty easy to visit in one trip and though this one doesn’t have a playground, my kids enjoyed the hikes and the 5 observation areas!

Use this guide to the park to explore each of the main areas in Pickerington Ponds Metro Park!

Wood Duck Picnic Area at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park

  • 4150 Bowen Road, Canal Winchester, OH 43110 

benches by the pond at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park

If you only have time to visit one area of Pickerington Ponds, I would choose the The Wood Duck Picnic area. Here there are 3 observation decks and a 1.1 mile trail (one way) for walking. There is also an open picnic shelter here which is handy for meals or snacks. There is no restroom at this location.

ducks on a pond.

1. Observation Deck

observation deck at the Wood Duck Picnic Area at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

When you park in the lot here, you can easily spot two paths to two observation decks. The first one I am mentioning here is raised and allows you to view part of the pond. There are binoculars on this deck that kids will enjoy looking through!

two boys on the observation deck.

2. Bird Blind

two boys on the path to the bird blind at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

The second viewing deck leads to a bird blind. This is a great place to bird watch without being seen by the birds!

two boys looking through the bird blind.

If you like bird watching, there is another bird blind with a great view at Blendon Woods Metro Park.

3. Killdeer Trail

Killdeer Trail at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

The trail here at Wood Duck Picnic Area is the Killdeer Trail. It is 1.1 miles one way. At the end of the trail you will be rewarded with the third observation deck (see below for more info)!

a small wooden bridge on Killdeer Trail.

Along the trail, on the other side of the largest part of Blue Wing Pond there is an eagle’s nest. I was determined to see an eagle on our most recent trip to the park, but it was not to be! Eagle nests are easiest to see in the winter before the leaves are on the trees and you won’t be able to miss this one!

eagle's nest at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

4. Observation Deck at Pintail Marsh

Observation deck at Pintail Marsh.

At the end of Killdeer Trail you will arrive at Pintail Marsh. There is a small viewing platform here and a bench. There were a lot of birds in this area of the trail!

view from the observation deck at pintail marsh.

5. Yellowlegs Trail

Yellowlegs Trail is a short half mile off-shoot that will take you from the Killdeer Trail to the park office. Just a short distance on this trail will take you to the County Bridge!

6. County Bridge

The County Bridge in Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

According to the sign in the park, the County Bridge was originally built in 1897 and abandoned for use in 1937 when the original road was relocated. The bridge was restored and moved to the Metro Park in 2004. It now crosses George’s Creek on the Yellowlegs Trail!

Glacier Knoll Picnic Area at Pickerington  Ponds Metro Park

  • 4071 Bowen Road, Canal Winchester, OH 43110

The Glacier Knoll Picnic Area has an open picnic shelter and restrooms! There is access to the Arrowhead Trail and the Black Creek Greenway Trail which connects the park to Three Creeks and Blacklick Woods Metro Parks. There is also a nice viewing deck here.

1. Picnic Shelter and Restrooms

Restrooms and picnic area at Glacier Knoll Picnic Area at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

This is a nice area for picnicking and wildlife viewing! During 2020-21 this is the only restroom in the park that is open. 

2. Observation Deck

Observation deck at the Glacier Knoll Picnic Area.

As I mentioned above, there is a nice sized viewing deck here at Glacier Knoll. There are binoculars here which offer a good view of an Osprey roost across the way! 

boy looking through binoculars at the observation deck at Glacier Knoll Picnic Area.

Pictured below in the distance is the osprey nest. I actually took the picture below from the Killdeer Trail across the road, but you can see this area using the binoculars here at Glacier Knoll.

Osprey nest at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

3. Fitness Station

exercise equipment at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

If you need an extra challenge, or the kids want to do some chin ups, there is a exercise station in the Glacier Knoll area opposite the parking lot! If you’re looking for a playground, check out one of these 9 Central Ohio Metro Park Playgrounds or check out the challenge course at Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

Ellis Pond (Bowen Road Entrance) at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park

  • 5000 Bowen Road, Canal Winchester, OH 43110

Ellis Pond was a new area to us on our most recent visit to the park! First of all, let me say there are two parking areas at Ellis Pond: one on Bowen Rd. and one on Wright Rd. Wright Rd is a smaller area and the entrance at Bowen Rd. has a restroom (closed in 2020), a mural and a covered wooden viewing deck.

restrooms and seating area at Ellis Pond.

1. Pickerington Ponds Mural

Pickerington Ponds Mural.

The Pickerington Ponds Mural is a highlight to see here. The mural was presented in 1993 and features work from local students. There is also some mosaic work on the side of the restroom pictured above.

2. Observation Area

two boys in the observation area at Ellis Pond.

There is observation area with binoculars close to the mural. There is a large gravel area here (not accessible by car) and a couple of benches.

3. Covered Observation Deck

covered observation deck at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

The covered observation deck here is a fun place to watch ducks and geese or to take a rest on one of the benches.

up close view of the covered deck.

Ellis Pond (Wright Road Viewing Area) at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park

Great Blue Heron Viewing area at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

The other entrance on Ellis Pond is off of Wright Rd. and has a small parking lot and area to sit and watch the bird feeders or birds on Ellis Pond. There are no picnic pavilions or restrooms at this area.

Know Before You Go:

  • Main Address: 7680 Wright Rd., Canal Winchester, OH 43110
  • Park Hours: 6:30 AM until dark. (Closing will vary depending on the season.)

things to do this weekend in columbus ohio

Share this post with your friends!

Save this post on Pinterest!

Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

 


Spread the Love
  • 4
    Shares

Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City is Full of Hidden Gems

Spread the Love
  • 8
    Shares

Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City is known for it’s picturesque rope bridge, scenic overlooks and unique playground!

One of the newer of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, Scioto Grove has some unique features! Possibly the most famous is the Rope Bridge on the REI Trail. This bridge can be difficult to find if you’re not familiar with the park so read on to find out exactly where it is!

two boys walking across the rope bridge at Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City, Ohio.

Scioto Grove Metro Park also has a unique playground. It’s not your typical playground structure. This play area is made up of a rope structure and slides. It’s not safe for toddlers, but older kids will love the challenge of this play area! Don’t worry there are also swings and a round glider swing if you have younger kids with you!

This park is right along the Scioto River and canoeing and kayaking are an option here! There is canoeing access at the North and South ends of the park. See the park map here.

Read on to find out what there is to do in Scioto Grove Metro Park organized by area of the park!

Things to do at Scioto Grove Metro Park: Hickory Picnic Area

1. Fishing

At the Hickory Picnic area there is a fishing pond. There is a nice little deck on the water that is great for fishing. There are also spots along the pond where you can fish from the side of the water.

deck and fishing area at the pond.

The Overlook Trail borders the eastern side of the pond and takes you either to the canoe launch to the north or to a series of observations decks to the south.

boys along the edge of the fishing pond at Scioto Grove Metro Park.
2. Observation Decks

observation deck at the Arrowhead Picnic Area.

Follow the Overlook Trail south from the Hickory Picnic area to  a series of three observation decks.  Look out for birds and other wildlife! This trail is largely unpaved and can get muddy or wet when there has been a lot of rain.

You can also take the Multipurpose trail from the Hickory Picnic Area to the Arrowhead Picnic Area (see more info below). It won’t take you to the observation decks, but it is paved and you will end up at the same place!

Things to do at Scioto Grove Metro Park: Arrowhead Picnic Area

1. Playground

playground area at scioto grove metro park.

The playground area at Scioto Grove Metro Park consists mainly of this rope structure pictured above. There are two slides and lots of opportunity to climb! As I mentioned above, this isn’t a great park for toddlers but older kids who are a little more steady on their feet will love this one!

rope play structure and slides at the playground in the park.

tall blue slide on the playground at Scioto Grove Metro Park.

The rope structure is not the only playground equipment in the area. There are swings and a glider swing.

swings in the playground at Scioto Grove Metro Park.

2. Sledding Hill

Behind the playground and picnic area at Arrowhead Picnic Area is a sledding hill! 

3. Backpacking 

two boys playing at a backpacking site.

There are several backpacking sites in Scioto Grove Metro Park. Backpacking sites include a raised area for a tent and reservations can be made to spend Friday and Saturday nights between April and October. Make a reservation by calling 614-539-3339.

4. REI River Trail

boy walking on the REI River Trail.

The REI River Trail is a great path to hike right along the Scioto River. This path is not paved but is an easy hike. The trail begins at the far north end of the park and ends at the Rope Bridge which you can read about below. The entire trail is 1.8 miles long.

a father and son walking on the path at Scioto Grove Metro Park.

5. Observation Deck

a man and two boys on the observation deck in the park.

There is another observation deck at the Arrowhead Picnic Area. I love these peaceful decks for the opportunity they the offer to sit and observe nature. You never know what you might see!

Things to do at Scioto Grove Metro Park: Grove Lodge

1. Observation Deck

two boys looking over the observation deck at Grove Lodge.

Park at the Grove Lodge and head to the left of the lodge to an observation deck. What you see here will depend on the season and the leaf cover but it’s a nice entrance point to the REI Trail which you will read about next!

2. Rope Bridge

the rope bridge at scioto grove metro park.

One of the most unique things to see and do in Scioto Grove Metro Park is the Rope Bridge! This bridge crosses the Grant Run Creek. The easiest way to get to the Rope Bridge is to park at the Grove Lodge and take the REI River Trail south from the lodge.

the rope bridge across the creek at scioto grove metro park.

The Rope Bridge is just before the REI River Trail meets the Mingo Trail. The Grove Lodge parking lot is the closest parking lot to the Rope Bridge. 

the rope bridge at scioto grove metro park.

The path to the Rope Bridge is not paved and it can get muddy.

two boys standing at the edge of the Scioto River.

When you get to the bridge there is also a rock path crossing the creek. This would be a fun area for creeking!

stone steps across the creek.

Overall, Scioto Grove is a great park to visit with your family! With hiking, a playground, picnic areas and the rope bridge, you can easily fill a morning or afternoon with lots of fun outdoor activities!

Know Before You Go:

Address: 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123

There is one main entrance for the park and the road will lead to each of these areas.

things to do this weekend in columbus ohio

Share this post with your friends!

Share this post on Pinterest!

Scioto Grove Metro Park


Spread the Love
  • 8
    Shares

How to Explore Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park with Your Kids

Spread the Love

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is the largest of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks and features hiking, canoeing, fishing, a great Nature Center and bison who roam within the park!

Railroad Bridge in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is in the southwest corner of Franklin County and its heart is the intersection of Big Darby Creek and Little Darby Creek. 

This park, one of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, is full of things to do! Since it is the largest park, it can take several visits to see and do everything! We spent several years just entering two different entrances. It wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that I really made an effort to explore the park starting at some of the other entrances!

I’ve divided up this post into things you can do at each entrance. Use this map to explore the park. To date we haven’t even explored all of the park entrances yet! But never fear, I will update this post as we do!

The two entrances we used the most were Cedar Ridge and the Nature Center. After 2020, the Indian Ridge Area is now a new favorite! Check out all there is to do at this Metro Park and enjoy the beauty and unique activities each area offers!

Things to do at the Cedar Ridge Area of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park:

This area of the park has a large parking lot, restrooms, a playground and access to trails.

Address: 1775 Darby Creek Drive Galloway, OH 43119

1. Darby Creek Greenway Trail

Two boys and dad walking Darby Creek Greenway Trail

The Darby Creek Greenway Trail runs for 5 miles beginning here and heading north to the Darby Dan area at the northern most end of the park. We frequently walk this trail between the Cedar Ridge Picnic Area and the Nature Center to view the bison at the bison viewing area. 

large tree at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

2. Playground

Playground at the Cedar Ridge Area of the park.

There are two playground areas here: one for older kids and one for younger kids. It’s nice to have the option of the playground here to add motivation for kids to make the rest of the hike if you’re coming from the Nature Center or the bison viewing area! There is also a picnic area here.

boy on the playground at the Cedar Ridge Area of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

3. Bison Viewing

boy looking at the bison at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Take a walk on the Darby Creek Greenway Trail towards the Nature Center and you will come upon the Bison Viewing Area. During the warm months, this area is where the park’s bison hang out. (See the Nature Center area for winter pasture information.)

Seeing the bison is always the highlight of our visit to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and we hardly ever visit the park without at least attempting to see them!

Bison freely roaming at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Bring a pair of binoculars if you want to be sure that you’ll see them up close! Sometimes you luck out and they are really close to the viewing area. Other times they will be further away. But it’s always worth trying to find them!

If you’re not sure where they are in the park, check in with a park ranger or at the Nature Center. They will be able to tell you for sure. 

4. Observation Deck

view from the Observation Deck in the Cedar Ridge Area

To be completely honest I had totally forgotten about this overlook area until I was organizing my photos from 2015! Now I wish I had remembered to visit each fall since then!

To find the observation deck, you will take part of the Cobshell Trail which you can access in between the playground area and the picnic area. The trail is a .1 mile walk west towards Big Darby Creek. 

boy and dad walking on a boardwalk in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Things to do at the Indian Ridge Area of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park:

The Indian Ridge Area is one of our new favorites! With a playground, great creeking and shaded trails it’s a definite go-to area!

Address: 2705 Darby Creek Drive Galloway, OH 43119

1. Playground

Playground area at Indian Ridge Area of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

The Indian Ridge area also has two playgrounds structures, one for older kids and one for younger. There is also a set of swings.

2. Picnic Area

picnic area and pavilion at the Indian Ridge Area

Near to the playground area is a picnic area and a small shelter with tables inside. With access to the playground and near to a great spot for creeking, this area is perfect for families to spend a day!

3. Creeking

Railroad Bridge over Big Darby Creek in Galloway, Ohio

There is a great creeking spot for kids off of the Camp Chase Trail. The view of the railroad bridge is striking and makes for a great backdrop to searching for crawdads and splashing in the creek.

There are also large rocks for sitting and watching. The large rocks came from “twin bridges” that used to span the creek here. Above the creeks there used to be a grist mill and the railroad bridge here is still in use today!

Creeking area at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

4. Natural Play Area

Natural Play Area at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

I’m listing this here because the Natural Play area is on the map here but we did not find this area to be like some of the other Natural Play Areas within Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. It was pretty overgrown and it was hard to see any open area for the kids to play from the trail so we did not try to venture inside. 

5. Terrace Trail

man and two boys on the Terrace Trail

The Terrace Trail makes a 2.1 mile loop throughout the Indian Ridge Area. We accessed it from the Camp Chase Trail which you will see behind the playground and picnic area by the parking lot. 

Just a short walk south and you will find another creek access point where kids can wade into the water. There is another entrance/exit point at the southern part of the parking lot (or you can just turn around) if you don’t want to hike the entire 2.1 mile trail.

Things to do at the Canoe Access and Ohio to Erie Trailhead Area of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park:

This area has a small parking lot that is mainly for those accessing the creek for canoeing. There is also a sledding hill here but we have not personally used it.

Address: 8465 Alkire Rd Galloway, OH 43119

1. Canoe Access

canoeing access area at Big Darby Creek

Canoeing is allowed on the Little Darby Creek and the Big Darby Creek and this is the main launch area for canoes or kayaks. Throughout the warmer months, Columbus and Franklin County Metro parks offers public canoeing times within the park.

2. Sledding Hill

There is a sledding hill here at this area. As I mentioned above, we have not gone sledding here ourselves, but if you’re looking for a hill in the area this is it!

Things to do at the Nature Center Area of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park:

The Nature Center Area has a large parking lot, access to trails and, of course, the Nature Center itself which is a gem!

Address: 1415 Darby Creek Drive Galloway, OH 43119

1. The Nature Center

Boy looks into the Living Stream inside the Nature Center

The Nature Center at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is a must see! The Living Stream is the highlight of the Nature Center. Kids can view live fish and turtles right at eye level. They can even crawl “underneath” the stream to see from the inside! You’re even allowed to touch!

boy and dad looking at a turtle in the living stream inside the Nature Center

There are also educational exhibits about local wildlife that are interactive. Many times there are animal pelts out for kids to touch and feel. Educational programing is held here throughout the year.

2. Riffle Run Trail

boy on riffle run trail

The Riffle Run Trail is a short .2 mile hike downhill to the Big Darby Creek. There’s a great view and the trail ends right at the water. It’s a steep hill – you’ll be out of breath when you get back to the top – but doable for kids.

When we hiked the trail in January, there was someone pushing a stroller, so I guess I should never say never, but I wouldn’t recommend taking a stroller since the hill is steep and the trail is gravel.

Big Darby Creek in the winter.

3. Winter Pasture for Bison

bison in the winter pasture at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

If it’s winter, the bison will most likely be in the winter pasture which is behind the Nature Center. There is an overlook deck at the Nature Center with binoculars which is a great spot for viewing them if they are there. 

Things to do at Osprey Lake Area of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park:

Osprey Lake

This area of the park is a bit further south and may add an extra 10 minutes or so to your drive depending on where you’re coming from. I will say that this area felt a little more desolate than the other areas. There weren’t as many other people around, which, I suppose, can be good or bad, depending on how you roll.

Address: 5800 Harrisburg-Georgesville Rd Darbydale, OH 43123

1. Fishing on Osprey Lake

boys throwing rocks into Osprey Lake in Darbydale, Ohio

There are many spots around the lake that are great for fishing. Fishing is allowed here or anywhere along Big Darby or Little Darby Creeks. Anyone 16 and older needs an Ohio fishing license.  

2. Osprey Lake Trail

boys walking on Osprey Lake Trail

Osprey Lake Trail is a .5 mile trail around Osprey Lake. This is a pretty area with many spots for fishing. The trail is grass and gravel.

3. Canoe Access

Canoe access in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

There is canoeing access to the Big Darby Creek in this area of the park. And if you just like to get down near the creek, this is a nice spot as well. Canoes and kayaks are also allowed on Osprey Lake.

There is so much to do at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park! I highly recommending trying a new entrance each time you visit! It’s so great to see new areas of the park and it almost seems like you’re visiting a new park each time!

There is even more to see and do than is listed here! Enjoy exploring new trails and treasures and let me know what you find!

Know Before You Go:

Address: 1775 Darby Creek Dr, Galloway, OH 43119 (This will take you to the Cedar Ridge Picnic Area.)

Hours: Open Daily from 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM

Nature Center Hours: Opens at 9:00 AM. Closing time varies depending on the season. (Nature Center is currently closed during the winter of 2021.)

Nature Center: 614-878-7106

Metro Parks Info Line: 614-508-8000

Looking to explore more Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks? Read more here:

Exploring Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park with your Kids

Share this post with your friends!

Save this post on Pinterest!

Things to do at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park


Spread the Love