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Pickerington Ponds Metro Park is For the Birds!

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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.)

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Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.

 


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

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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.

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Scioto Grove Metro Park


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fall activities in columbus ohio

5 Fantastic Fall Activities for Families in Central Ohio

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Fall is just the best, isn’t it? It’s the perfect season for getting out and exploring Central Ohio! These fall activities are perfect for those crisp fall days that require a hoodie and your favorite coffee mug.

changing leaves in the fall along a sidewalk in Columbus, Ohio

Fall in Columbus, Ohio

This season offers some of our most favorite things to do around Columbus and Central Ohio! I look forward to fall: crisp mornings, changing leaves, sweatshirts, and a reprieve from the dog days of summer. It’s also time for some of those quintessential fall activities like pumpkin picking, apple picking, corn mazes, farmers markets and hiking!

5 Fantastic Fall Activities in Central Ohio

Take a look through this list of fun fall activities for Central Ohio families and pick today's adventure:

The glorious season of Autumn goes so fast! We are always trying to squeeze in just one more fall festival or one more farm market! I hope you take time to enjoy some of these activities that only come around once a year!

Boys looking at the pumpkins at Groovy Plants Ranch

^ Checking out the pumpkins at Groovy Plants Ranch! ^

Need more ideas? Check out Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio!

Fall Activities Near Columbus, Ohio

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All of the best fall activities in columbus and central Ohio

 

 


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