Then get outside a few times to view the spectacular show that Mother Nature puts on as the forests change color throughout October. Here are the choice spots on a few of the top fall foliage hikes near Columbus.
Blendon Woods Metro Park
‘Sugar bush’ is another name for a section of forest where sugar maples dominate (and are tapped for maple syrup). Maple trees are the star of the autumn show—they produce the best yellows, reds and oranges of all the major tree species. Make it a priority to hike the 2-mile Sugar Bush Trail in Blendon Woods. As advertised, this trail features a maple-heavy forest where fall colors do not disappoint. It can be muddy, so plan to go after it’s had a chance to dry out after a rain. Just 15 minutes from downtown, Blendon Woods is quickly accessible from all parts of Columbus. Beginning Oct.1, the park is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. While you’re there, check out the kid-friendly nature center (full facilities) right by the trailhead, open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. More info: metroparks.net
Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve
Drive an hour southeast of Columbus and transport to an Appalachian landscape of ridges, hollows and deep forests. This preserve presents a challenging hike that starts with seemingly endless stairs, which take you out of the hollow to the 2-mile Rim Trail. But you’ll be rewarded with overlook after overlook of rock walls, the gorge below and forested ridges that undulate to the horizon. The bright fall colors of the deciduous trees contrast the deep greens of the Virginia pines and hemlocks. Don’t fret if anyone in your party can’t make the rugged hike to the rim; the adjacent 1-mile out-and-back Gorge Trail is wheelchair-accessible. There are restrooms and a picnic area here, but no water. Open dawn to dusk. Note that dogs are not allowed at Conkles Hollow, nor at any state nature preserve. More info: ohiodnr.gov