The Metro Parks are one of the great overlooked resources in our city – and nearly every program is free! With 20+ locations, you’re never far from several Columbus Metro Parks. You’ll find 75 miles of bike trails, 230 miles of trails, natural play areas, and so much more.
The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks are open 365 days a year, and are worth a visit during every season. You’ll see different views, wildlife, and more, each time you visit.
There’s plenty to do around the parks all year long! We’re highlighting some of the fun you can have throughout the year. They are now holding select hikes, adventures, and more. Follow along on Metro Park Facebook pages (listed below) to see the upcoming programs. Spaces are very limited, and registration is required for all events.
Movies under the Stars at Columbus Metro Parks
Head to a Columbus Metro Parks this summer and fall for movies under the stars! These free movies are open to all ages! Movies start at dark
- Thursday, July 29 (9 pm) Movie in the Park: Croods: A New Age at Glacier Ridge Metro Park.
- Friday, August 13 (9 pm) Movie in the Park: Trolls World Tour at Blacklick Woods Golf Course
- Friday, August 20 (9 pm) Movie in the Park: Moana at Sharon Woods Metro Park
- Saturday, September 11 (8 pm) Movie in the Park: Frozen 2 at Blendon Woods Metro Park
- Friday, September 17 (8 pm) Movie in the Park: Soul at Scioto Audubon Metro Park
- Saturday, September 25 (8 pm) Movie in the Park: Labyrinth at Highbanks Metro Park. Wear your best 80’s outfit!
Look for information on the each park’s Facebook page (listed below) and www.metroparks.net closer to the events.
Paddle Fest at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Saturday, August 7 from 1 – 7 pm. Enjoy the lakes from a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard! Equipment and instruction are provided, come out anytime for a fun adventure. Canoes are open to all ages, a minimum of one adult per canoe. Solo, sit-in kayaks and SUPs are open to ages 10+. Life jackets are provided and worn while paddling, visitors are welcome to bring their own Type III life jacket. Kayaks have a manufacturer max. weight of 275lbs. SUPs have a manufacturer max. weight of 350lbs.
Darby Bend Lakes portion of Prairie Oaks Metro Park, 2755 Amity Rd, Hilliard, OH 43026
All Season Columbus Metro Parks Fun
Hiking at Metro Parks in Columbus
With over 230 miles of trails to hike, it’ll take you awhile to explore all of the options! Pick a park near you, or head to another part of town to explore. Follow along on the individual Metro Park Facebook pages (listed below) for features and suggestions, and see our recommendations for hikes around Columbus here: Nature walks and scenic hiking trails in Columbus.
Geocaching at Metro Parks
Go geocaching year round at the Columbus Metro Parks! Find out how, when, and where at the Metro Parks website. It’s a great family activity!
Scavenger Hunts at Metro Parks
Find some fun scavenger hunts for 11 Metro Parks. Print one off and head to the park to explore! Some are seasonal, so make sure you choose one that fits the season so that you can find all of the clues!
There are disc golf courses available at a few of the Metro Parks. If you’ve never played disc golf, it’s an easy sport to get started with! You can buy the equipment you’ll need for around $20 (or less if you find used discs!), and play at places all over Columbus for free. This sport is accessible to all ages and abilities – if you can throw a disc, you can learn to play! Find out more about disc golf and courses where you can play: Get started with Disc Golf in Columbus at these great courses
Glacier Ridge Dog Park, 9801 Hyland Croy, Plain City OH
The 2.5-acre dog park features an open field, drinking fountains, paved path and a wooded area for dogs to explore and is open to dogs of all size
Rocky Fork Metro Park Dog Park, 7180 Walnut St, New Albany
Splash pad for dogs. Large and small dog area, both fenced. Small off leash trail right by the dog park. Poop bags and trash cans
Scioto Audubon Dog Park, 400 W. Whittier Street Columbus, OH 43215
2.5 acres, with separate areas for large and small dogs and an agility course and digging sand pit. Dog waste bags are available.
Walnut Woods Dog Park, 6716 Lithopolis Road Groveport, OH 43125
Buckeye Area features a 3-acre dog park for large dogs (20 pounds and over) with a fenced doggie swimming area, drinking water, plus a 1-acre dog park for small dogs.
Prairie Oaks Darby Bend Lakes, 2755 Amity Road, Hilliard, OH
Doggie beach with dog swimming.
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks on Facebook
Looking for more metro park fun? At this time, programs will be limited and only advertised through the following online formats:
Battelle Darby Creek Facebook page
Blacklick Woods Facebook page
Blendon Woods Facebook page
Clear Creek Facebook page
Glacier Ridge Facebook page
Highbanks Facebook page
Homestead Facebook page
Inniswood Facebook page
Sharon Woods Facebook page
Three Creeks Facebook page
Outdoor Adventure Facebook page
Contact info for Columbus Metro Parks
Other articles of interest
- Planetariums and Astronomy: Best places to see the stars in Ohio
- The most beautiful public gardens in Columbus and upcoming garden events
- Fun and Tasty Adventure Trails in Ohio
- Discounted and Free Museum Days in Columbus
- Find over 125 free or cheap events this weekend in Columbus
- Huge list of Happy Hours all over Columbus
- Walking labyrinths in Columbus and Central Ohio
- The best Dog Parks in Columbus
- Best photography locations in Columbus
- Nature walks and scenic hiking trails in Columbus
Past events (to hopefully return with the season)
Holiday Lights in Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks
Holiday Lights in the Columbus Metro Parks – Trails at Blacklick Woods Metro Park, Highbanks Metro Park, Homestead Metro Park and Scioto Grove Metro Park are decorated with holiday lights through January 3! Visit the parks between 5 pm – 8 pm each night to enjoy the twinkling in nature! See locations below and see Facebook for details.
Scioto Grove: REI River Trail near The Grove, and check out the “A Christmas Story” display
Homestead Metro Park: Covered Bridge
Inniswood Metro Garden: Find the 12 large candy canes scattered throughout the garden by Santa! Lights will remain up throughout the gardens through January. Starting January 4, the park will close at 6 pm.
Blacklick Woods Metro Park: Buttonbush Trail only
Highbanks Metro Park: Go early (or bring a flashlight) and follow the “12 days of Highbanks” clues along the trail to see if you can guess what animal or park feature they are describing. Answers are on the back of each sign. Lights and riddles begin at the Dripping Rock trail head from the Nature Center lot.
While you’re there, get some hiking done or the Winter Hike Series!
Winter Fun at Columbus Metro Parks
Metro Parks Annual Winter Hike Series
For the 2020/2021 series, the hikes are not guided or scheduled. Simply visit the parks and hike any trail on your own schedule, pace, and distance. After hikes at 7 parks, you’ll get a reward!
Pick up your Ticket to Travel booklet at a featured park beginning December 1 or download the travel guide from the website. After the hike, ask a staff member to stamp the travel ticket. After seven hikes, visitors can return their completed travel ticket to receive a unique 2020/2021 Winter Hike patch. See more details here.
Sledding at the Metro Parks in Columbus
Grab your sled and head to these metro parks when the snow falls! Sled at your own risk, watch out for obstacles, obey any posted signs for (or against) sledding or parking, and stay warm!
Battelle Darby Creek Sledding Hill: 8465 Alkire Road, Galloway OH 43119
Ice Skating Pond: 3711 Gardner Road, Georgesville OH 43123
Steep hill with lots of parking and restrooms. Often a fire can for quick warm-ups. Not a good hill for littles.
Blacklick Woods – 6975 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Moderate hill on the golf course with close parking and restrooms.
Highbanks – 9466 US Rt 23 N, Lewis Center, OH 43035
Two hills (one gentle, one steep) at the far end of the driving loop at the Big Meadows parking lot. Parking is very limited, and legal parking is strictly enforced.
Scioto Audubon – 400 West Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Sledding hill located near the obstacle course and bocce court.
Scioto Grove Metro Park – 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123
Sledding Hill: A sledding hill is available for winter fun near to Backpacking Site #2.
Sharon Woods – 6911 Cleveland Avenue, Westerville, OH 43081
Long run for sledders and snowboarders; not steep. Small bunny hill for little kids. Restrooms and good parking available.
Walnut Woods – 6716 Lithopolis Rd, Groveport, OH 43125
Sledding Hill: A low hill in the Buckeye Area provides just the right slope for young kids to enjoy sledding.
Blendon Woods – 4265 East Dublin Granville Road, Columbus, OH 43017
Skating Pond: Winter outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy this one-foot deep pond.
Kiddie’s sledding hill: A low hill provides just the right height and speed for young kids.
There’s a small hill near the entrance that’s a great family sledding spot for those with smaller children. Take a right at the Y from the entrance to reach it. Parking and restrooms available.
Ice Skating at Columbus Metro Parks
Ice skating is permitted at two parks when conditions are suitable. Follow any posted signs, and never skate when “no skating” signs are posted.
Blendon Woods, 4265 East Dublin Granville Road, Columbus, OH 43017.
Skating Pond: Winter outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy this one-foot deep, 0.4 acre pond
Battelle Darby Creek, 3711 Gardner Road, Georgesville OH 43123.
1/2 acre, 16 inch deep pond.
See a list of other places to ice skate.
Cross-country skiing is available on all trails when ski conditions exist. Some trails are closed to all activities except cross-country skiing when conditions are suitable at Battelle Darby Creek, Blendon Woods, Glacier Ridge, Highbanks, and Prairie Oaks.
Free Golfing in Winter at Blacklick Woods Golf Course
Off-Season COVID 19 Course Procedures (Updated 12/12). We aren’t sure when the free golf ends, so check before you go. See website here.
- Golf Course will be open from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm (7 days a week). It will be a HARD STOP at 5:00 pm.
- Golf will be FREE on both courses. It will be on a first-come, first-serve basis on both courses.
- There will be NO cart or pull cart rentals available. Both courses will be WALKING ONLY.
- The driving range will be closed until further notice.
- Soft drinks, Alcoholic beverages, and snacks will be available for purchase in the pro shop. Masks are required to be worn in the building.
- Golf balls, tees, and gloves are also available for purchase.
- All play will start on Hole #1 (NO EXCEPTIONS).
- There will be NO rental clubs at this time.
- Rakes have been removed.
- Flacksticks should remain in the hole at ALL times. We have cut pool noodles in the holes so you don’t have to reach all the way into the cup to retrieve your ball.
- Practice social distancing while at the course. Allow a minimum of 6 feet of space between your playing partners, other golfers and staff while at the course.
To ensure the most up-to-date information before your round, please call or visit the website.
Spring at the Metro Parks
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks Eggstravaganza
Saturday, March 27, 2021, between 12 pm and 4 pm. Sign up for Metro Parks Eggstravaganza at Blacklick Woods, Battelle Darby Creek, Blendon Woods, Homestead, Highbanks, or Slate Run.
This family-friendly egg scavenger hunt is FREE and open to all ages. Families will hike a short trail to search for eggs containing pieces of a hidden message. Unscramble the message and claim your reward (bag of treats) from a staff member.
Advance registration required; timeslots are 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm. No more than 10 family members per group. Face coverings are required for all participants over the age of 10. See locations and sign up links below.
- Eggstravaganza at Blacklick Woods: Advanced registration required. Meet at the Nature Center.
Blacklick Woods Metro Park, 6975 East Livingston Ave. Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
- Eggstravaganza at Battelle Darby Creek: Advanced registration required. Meet at the Cedar Ridge Area Ranger Station.
Battelle Darby Creek, Cedar Ridge Area, 1775 Darby Creek Dr. Galloway, OH 43119
- Eggstravaganza at Blendon Woods Metro Park: Advanced registration required. Meet at the 1st parking lot by the Ranger Station.
Blendon Woods Metro Park, 4265 E Dublin Granville Rd., Columbus, OH 43081
- Eggstravaganza at Homestead Metro Creek: Advanced registration required. Meet at the Lakeside Pavilion.
Homestead Metro Park, 4675 Cosgray Rd, Hilliard, OH 43026
- Eggstravaganza at Highbanks Metro Park: Advanced registration required. Meet at the Big Meadows Picnic Area.
Highbanks Metro Park Big Meadows Area, 9466 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center, OH 43035
- Eggstravaganza at Slate Run Metro Park: Advanced registration required. Meet at the Buzzard’s Roost Shelter.
Slate Run Metro Park, 1375 State Route 674 N., Canal Winchester, OH 43110