Whether you’re an avid outdoorsman or aspiring adventurer, there is so much you can experience with your kid(s) in nature. As a fellow dad recently reminded me, “into the woods we go, because your kids don’t remember a day in front of the TV.”
I recently covered my top Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks trails in the northern part of central Ohio. Here are a few of my recommendations of local trails within the southern end of town to explore with your little ones:
A Park in the City at Scioto Audubon (beginner): You’ve probably seen the iconic water tower on shots around Columbus. This Park blends a green oasis of wildlife and recreation set just a stone’s throw away from downtown. Most of this is flat, and you can explore the banks of the Scioto River, play on the obstacle course and even try your hand at climbing the over 7,000 square feet of the climbing wall, along with a 10-foot bouldering wall. The facilities are great and the restrooms have changing tables, which is a huge plus.
Head to the Woodlands at Clear Creek (moderate to difficult): If you can afford the time for a mini road trip or mentally handle being in the car with the little ones for a while, I highly recommend this one. Close enough to Hocking Hills, but without the tourists this is a gem for hiking. There are easier trails, but plenty of challenging ones. According to the webpage for this park, it features over 5,300 acres of woodland. Plenty of time to look for yetis or let their imaginations go on a wild adventure.
A Little Bit of Everything at Scioto Grove (easy-ish to difficult): The trails are super easy, but if you’re willing to try your hand at overnight backpacking at one of their designated areas it could become difficult depending on your experience level. This park is nicely kept, has well-marked trails and with a partnership with REI you’ll love the amenities. You can explore along the river here, too.
The Dadass Podcast recorded with Tim Moloney, Executive Director of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks back in February. I highly recommend listening to learn even more about such a robust park system we have here in our backyard.
CBUS Dads is a community of central Ohio area dads balancing an active lifestyle with being an involved parent. A Saturday for us may involve enjoying morning t-ball, lunch at a new local spot and an evening at a summer festival with our families. We may live downtown, in the suburbs or somewhere between, but our common thread is that we continue to experience the community we love - now as parents.