Kid-Friendly Trails at Columbus Metro Parks

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Choose one of these short trails that will be easy for kids to walk or hike for your next outing in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks!

Getting outside has been the name of the game this summer and we are enjoying making trips to many of the local Metro Parks! We have discovered so many new areas! It really takes an astute studying of the park maps to figure out where to go and what to do! 

I’ve said it before, we have a habit of always parking at the same entrance in most of the parks, therefore we do and see the same things over and over again! Some of the parks are HUGE and we have been missing out on a lot!

kids walking across a rope bridge in a grove city metro park

Rope Bridge at Scioto Grove Metro Park

This summer I am making an effort to explore new parts of the parks! For instance we discovered where to go creeking at Battelle Darby Metro Park and we finally found the Rope Bridge at Scioto Grove

I’m taking some of the guesswork out of map reading for all of you and providing this list of trails that are easy for kids to do! These trails are, generally speaking, less than 1 mile and most of them go in a loop. A bonus is the great scenery along the way!

6 Easy Trails for Kids in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks:

1. Turtle Pond Trail

kid looking out over Darby Bend Lake

Park: Three Creeks Metro Park
Distance: .4 miles
Terrain: Gravel
Where to Park: Confluence Trails Area, 3860 Bixby Rd., Groveport, OH 43125

Take a walk around Turtle Pond! The great thing about this trail is that it goes completely around the pond so you always have a great view of the water. This trail is less than a half a mile! It’s also within walking distance of a playground which is always a bonus!

2. River Rock Trail

Trail at Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Park: Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Distance: .7 miles
Terrain: Gravel
Where to Park: Darby Bend Lakes Entrance, 2755 Amity Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026

This is a trail that has a good amount of shady areas and takes a loop around one of the Darby Bend Lakes. I think it’s beautiful here and it’s one of my favorite Metro Park areas!

3. Boardwalk Trail

kid walking a trail at Inniswood Metro Park in Columbus

Park: Inniswood Metro Park
Distance: .5 miles
Terrain: Gravel and Boardwalk
Where to Park: Main Entrance, 940 S. Hempstead Rd., Westerville, OH 43081

This path is so beautiful! With so many things to do and see at Inniswood Metro Parks, I think it can be easy to overlook this trail! I love this trail in the fall because of the changing leaves! I mean just look at this picture! I remember it like it was yesterday!

See more about Inniswood Metro Park in: 3 of the Most Unique Parks in Columbus Ohio

4. Lake Trail

two boys holding hands on a trail in Blendon Woods Metro Park

Park: Blendon Woods Metro Park
Distance: .3 miles (one way)
Terrain: Paved
Where to Park: Nature Center, Enter at Main Entrance: 4265 E Dublin Granville Rd., Columbus, OH 43081

Take this trail behind the Nature Center to the Thoreau Lake and Walden Waterfowl Refuge. This one doesn’t go in a loop, but it’s an easy there and back for .6 miles. Plus when you get to the lake, there are observation blinds (with binoculars) for watching birds. When we took this trail for the first time it was such a fun surprise! (P.S. that picture above is so old, but it is one of my favorites!)

Read about all there is to do at Blendon Woods here: Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park

5. REI River Trail

boy walking on a trail at Scioto Grove Metro Park

Park: Scioto Grove Metro Park
Distance: less than .5 miles (one way)
Terrain: Dirt
Where to Park: Grove Lodge, Use Main Entrance: 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City OH 43123 

The entire REI River Trail is 1.8 miles, but for kids, I am only recommending the portion of the trail that goes from Grove Lodge to the Rope Bridge. The REI River Trail ends at the Rope Bridge (it becomes the Mingo Trail). We simply cross the bridge and then turn around and go back over it and walk back to Grove Lodge!

6. Edward S Thomas Trail

kids at the wildlife observation deck at Sharon Woods Metro Park, Columbus

Park: Sharon Woods Metro Park
Distance: 1.1 miles
Terrain: Gravel
Where to Park: Schrock Lake Picnic Area, Use Main Entrance: 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081

This is a nice, shady trail through the Edward S Thomas Nature Preserve. The cool part about the trail is the Wildlife Observation Deck which is just about at the halfway point of the trail. If you want to keep your hike to a mile, you could turn around at this point and head back to the parking area, but going all the way around the loop is just about the same distance.

On our hike we saw 3 wild turkeys, 2 deer and a chipmunk, which made the trail pretty memorable in my kids’ minds! 

Exploring Columbus with Your Kids

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kid friendly trails at columbus and franklin county metro parks


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