Springtime in Columbus is full of bloom when the wildflowers pop up. With an abundance of parks, trails, and nature preserves, we have so many great places for Wildflower Hikes in Columbus and Central Ohio!
There are many different types of wildflowers that grow in Ohio. Some of the most common ones include bloodroot, spring beauty, cut-leaved toothwort, large-flowered trillium (Ohio’s state wildflower), Virginia bluebells, wild geranium, mayapple, and jack-in-the-pulpit.
Other wildflowers that can be found in Ohio include paintbrush, lupine, shooting star, blue-eyed grass, columbine, butterfly, fireweed, iris, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, wild rose, and marigold¹. Some wildflowers are rare or protected such as pink lady’s slipper and prairie trillium.
Grab your hiking boots, a camera, and check out some of the best locations for wildflower hikes in Columbus and Central Ohio. Make sure to protect yourself from ticks while exploring!
Wildflower Hikes in Columbus
From metro parks to nature preserves, there are trails for all skill levels that are bursting with wildflowers in the spring and summer months.
Inniswood Metro Gardens
Nestled in Westerville, just north of Columbus, Inniswood Metro Gardens is a true gem for nature lovers.
Spanning over 123 acres, this meticulously maintained park boasts several miles of trails, picturesque ponds, and beautifully landscaped gardens.
During spring, the woodlands come alive with an impressive array of wildflowers, including trilliums, violets, and Virginia bluebells. The Spring Woodland Garden and the Sisters’ Garden are particularly popular spots to witness the wildflower spectacle.
Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park
Situated on the western outskirts of Columbus, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is the largest of the Columbus Metro Parks system.
The park has more than 20 miles of trails, including the 2.5-mile Cedar Ridge Trail, which is a popular spot for wildflower viewing in the spring. Look for spring beauties, Virginia bluebells, and Dutchman’s breeches.
Blendon Woods Metro Park
Located in northeastern Columbus, Blendon Woods Metro Park is a 653-acre haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
The park’s trails wind through a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and wetlands, offering a chance to spot an assortment of wildflowers.
In the spring, the woodland areas come alive with blooms such as trillium, bluebells, and Dutchman’s breeches. The 118-acre Walden Waterfowl Refuge within the park is particularly known for its vibrant displays of wildflowers.
Blacklick Woods Metro Park
Blacklick Woods Metro Park is a 643-acre park located in eastern Franklin County.
The park has more than 7 miles of trails, including the 1.2-mile Beech-Maple Trail, which is a popular spot for wildflower viewing in the spring.
Look for Mayapples, wild ginger, and trout lilies.
Highbanks Metro Park
Nestled along the eastern shore of the Olentangy River, Highbanks Metro Park is a must-visit destination for wildflower enthusiasts.
The park offers several miles of trails that wind through mature forests, meadows, and along scenic river bluffs.
During the spring months, hikers can revel in the beauty of Virginia bluebells, wild columbine, spring beauties, and jack-in-the-pulpits. For an elevated view of the wildflower displays, the Overlook Trail provides panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape.
Shale Hollow Preserve
Located in nearby Delaware County, Shale Hollow Preserve is a true hidden treasure. This 190-acre nature preserve is renowned for its picturesque shale cliffs, tranquil waterfalls, and diverse wildflower populations.
The Preserve features well-maintained trails that take visitors through hardwood forests and meadows, where they can encounter wildflowers such as hepatica, trillium, wild ginger, and mayapple.
The highlight of the preserve is the breathtaking shale amphitheater, which serves as a stunning backdrop for the wildflower displays.
Clear Creek Metro Park
Located in Rockbridge, about an hour’s drive southeast of Columbus, Clear Creek Metro Park offers a rugged and scenic hiking experience.
The park covers over 5,300 acres and features diverse habitats, including forests, meadows, and rocky cliffs.
In the spring, the wooded areas of Clear Creek burst with colorful blooms such as Dutchman’s breeches, bloodroot, and wild geranium. The Hemlock Trail, Fern Trail, and Chestnut Trail are excellent choices for encountering these delicate beauties.
Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve
Just east of Newark, about an hour’s drive from Columbus, Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve is a stunning destination for wildflower enthusiasts.
This 4.5-mile long gorge, carved by the Licking River, features towering cliffs, lush forests, and a picturesque bike trail that meanders through the heart of the preserve.
During springtime, hikers can enjoy a vibrant display of wildflowers, including Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauties, and Virginia bluebells.
Dawes Arboretum is a 1,800-acre arboretum located in Newark, Ohio. With its diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and prairies, the arboretum offers an exceptional setting for wildflower hikes.
Dawes has more than 12 miles of trails, including the 1-mile Azalea Glen Trail, which is known for its wildflowers in the spring.
The Arboretum Loop Trail takes visitors on a journey through various habitats, where they can encounter an impressive variety of wildflowers, such as wild hyacinth, shooting stars, wild geraniums, and butterfly weed.
Glen Helen Nature Preserve
Glen Helen Nature Preserve is a 1000-acre nature preserve located near Yellow Springs, Ohio. The preserve has more than 25 miles of trails, including the 1-mile Birch Creek Trail, which is known for its wildflowers in the spring.
Look for bluebells, Dutchman’s breeches, and bloodroot.
Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve
Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve is a 268-acre nature preserve located near Yellow Springs, Ohio.
The preserve has more than 2 miles of trails, including the 1.3-mile Gorge Trail, which is known for its wildflowers in the spring. Look for hepaticas, spring beauties, and Dutchman’s breeches.
Cedar Bog Nature Preserve
Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is a 450-acre nature preserve located near Urbana, Ohio.
The preserve has more than 4 miles of trails, including the 1.5-mile Cedar Bog Trail, which is a popular spot for wildflower viewing in the spring. Look for marsh marigolds, skunk cabbage, and yellow lady’s slipper.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
This 88-acre park features exotic plant collections and displays, including a stunning collection of wildflowers. Take a leisurely stroll through the park’s gardens and enjoy the beautiful blooms that are on display.
Read more about visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory, including discounts and more.
Ohio State Parks
State parks are another great spot for a quick wildflower hike. Check out the trails at Alum Creek, Cowan Lake, John Bryan, or Mt. Gilead state parks.
When venturing out on wildflower hikes in Columbus, Ohio, and Central Ohio, it’s essential to be aware of the potential presence of ticks. These tiny arachnids can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, so taking precautions for tick protection is crucial.
Read more about preventing tick bites when out and about in Columbus!
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