What better way to unplug from the often-overwhelming fast pace of life than by stepping out and exploring the beautiful outdoors? Indeed, anyone who’s ever hiked before will tell you that there’s something special about it. Thanks to its diverse, picturesque scenery, the Buckeye State, Ohio, is undoubtedly the perfect location to explore the outdoors.
The State of Ohio offers a vast number of exciting hiking opportunities. From forests to waterfalls and exquisite rock formations, hiking in Ohio promises to be the perfect adventure for hikers of all skill and experience levels. Popular trails include Old Man’s Cave and Buckeye Trail.
If you’re looking for the most fantastic way to press pause on life and recharge, then a hiking adventure in the Buckeye State is everything that you need. Indeed, Ohio is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and topography, making it the perfect destination for an unforgettable outdoor adventure. Discover why Ohio should be your next hiking destination.
Table of Contents
Hiking In Ohio
Hiking is likely not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Ohio. Perhaps the Football Hall of Fame is a more likely competitor. However, the Buckeye State is teeming with incredible hiking opportunities. Although there may not be many towering mountains around you, Ohio’s uniquely beautiful topography is the perfect backdrop for an outdoor adventure.
Ohio boasts thousands of miles of unique hiking trails offering the most beautiful and fascinating scenery just waiting to be explored. Ohio’s diverse hiking trails boast many sightseeing opportunities, including forests, rivers, exquisite waterfalls, caves, fascinating rock formations, and even grasslands filled with stunning flowers.
The other benefit of having such a wide range of hiking opportunities is that there is something to offer for everyone. Indeed, the Buckeye State caters to hikers of any skill and experiences levels. Even if you’ve never been on a hike in your life, Ohio has the perfect scenic trail for you providing little to no strenuous challenge.
On the other hand, if you have years of hiking experience behind you and are looking for more of a strenuous challenge, the Buckeye State has plenty of exciting opportunities. Ohio’s trails offer a wide range of challenging options for experienced hikers looking for a thrilling outdoor experience from full-day to multi-day adventures.
Preparing For A Hike In Ohio
As is the case with a hike anywhere in the world, a vital aspect that should never be overlooked is the necessity of preparation. Ensuring that you are adequately prepared for a hike, both physically and with all your necessary equipment, is undoubtedly the best way to ensure the best possible experience.
Out of all the outdoor activities, hiking is undoubtedly one of the most popular, primarily because it is undoubtedly one of the most budget-friendly activities anyone can do. Most hiking trails are entirely free to explore! An issue that often occurs is that many people underestimate hiking and do not properly research each trail before embarking on it.
This is ultimately how people find themselves in unfavorable situations that, in some cases, can often be dangerous. It is vital to thoroughly research each of the hiking trails you are considering and determine whether your current physical and fitness ability will be able to handle the distance and the various kinds of obstacles that may be on any particular trail.
Thankfully, as previously mentioned, Ohio has a wide range of hiking opportunities. So, even if you aren’t the fittest individual out there, there are still plenty more accessible hiking trails that boast just as much beauty as the more strenuous trails. The more regularly you hike, the fitter you will get, and then you’ll naturally be able to embark on trails with increased difficulty.
What To Wear For A Hike In Ohio
The next aspect of preparation to consider is the kind of clothing you will wear for your hike in Ohio. The clothing and shoes you wear on your trek will undoubtedly make a massive difference in your overall experience. Thanks to Ohio’s wide range of seasonal variability, knowing what you should wear for a hike in each season is essential.
The Buckeye State is known for its hot and humid summers and freezing winters. We will show you everything you will need regardless of the conditions you will be hiking in. From shoes to clothing, let’s dive into what you will need to wear for a hike in Ohio:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that shoes are arguably the most crucial aspect of a hiker’s attire. You will be spending several hours on your feet – obviously – so the shoes you wear must give you the proper support and stability needed for a hike.
For shorter hikes that do not have a lot of challenging terrains, a good pair of walking shoes or a pair of trainers should more than suffice as long as they remain comfortable over a few hours of walking. However, if you are starting to get more serious about hiking and begin to embark on longer, more strenuous hikes, then a proper pair of hiking shoes or boots are in order.
The strength, stability, and support provided by hiking shoes are second to none since they are designed for outdoor adventure. Waterproof options are available for the inevitability of getting your shoes wet and thermal options for those who will be hiking during very cold or even snowy conditions.
All in all, a good pair of hiking shoes or boots will be an asset to any outdoor enthusiast. In fact, we would go as far as to say that they should be considered as a hiking essential.
The next thing to consider is the clothing that you will be wearing while on your hike. For the most part, a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that you are okay with getting dirty will more than suffice – at least during the summer. However, investing in clothing made with a breathable material is a fantastic idea to ensure that you stay both cool and dry while on your hike.
Ohio’s spring and summer months see the most amount of rain compared to the rest of the year, so, in light of always being adequately prepared, make sure to take a raincoat with you in case of a sudden downpour. Do not let the sunny skies deceive you! Rather have a raincoat and not need to use it than be left without it in the pouring rain.
For the colder months in Ohio, with regards to clothing, make sure to think layers. Again, breathable materials are vital, but you will want to make sure that you wear long sleeves and long pants and have a warm jacket with you too. You can permanently remove the jacket if things happen to warm up a little.
Make sure to wear a hat at all times during your hike. If you are hiking in the middle of winter, you might also need a beanie.
What To Bring For A Hike In Ohio
Now that we have the physical preparation and the appropriate clothing covered let us dive into some essentials that you will need to bring with you for your hike in Ohio. First of all, you will want to make sure that you take a small backpack with you – preferably one that has a waist strap so that not all of the weight is sitting on your shoulders.
The most crucial aspect to keep in mind is that you want to make sure to pack as light as possible. The last thing you’d want is to be carrying a weighty backpack while on a long hike – you will undoubtedly spend all your energy in no time! Here’s what you should bring for a hike in Ohio:
Water And Snacks
Ensuring that you stay hydrated is a vital part of any hike and should undoubtedly be your highest priority. A liter of water for roughly every two to three hours of hiking should suffice. Remember that even if your bag is initially heavy from the water, this will get lighter and lighter throughout your hike.
Snacks are a great idea to bring to keep your energy levels up while hiking. Snacks like jerky, trail mix, or energy and protein bars are easy to store and work wonders.
Easily the most forgotten essential for any hike is sunscreen. Make sure to apply a good amount of sunscreen before your hike and continue to apply it as you need. Ohio is known to be rather cloudy throughout the year, but that does not mean that you will not burn.
Many of Ohio’s hiking trails are known to have many mosquitoes, ticks, and various other insects. Keep yourself protected – and sane – by bringing some insect repellant with you. Spray your clothes and your exposed skin (except for your face) to ensure that you do not get bothered by those little critters. Keep using the repellant as necessary.
Camera Or Phone
The scenery on the hiking trails in Ohio is absolutely exquisite. You will want to make sure that you have a camera or even your phone to capture the beauty you will be surrounded by. That way, you will be able to look back on the memories of the adventure you had on one of the Buckeye State’s hiking trails.
The Best Hiking Trails In Ohio
Now it is time to get to the part you have undoubtedly been anxiously waiting for. Now that you know a lot about the experience of hiking in Ohio, along with all of the necessary preparation, including what to wear and what to take with you; next we are going to show you where to enjoy some of the Buckeye State’s best hiking trails.
As previously mentioned, Ohio has a seemingly endless list of hiking trails and opportunities. Although we cannot possibly list them all, we will help you to plan for your next hiking adventure by showing you the best hiking trails in Ohio that you cannot afford to pass by.
Old Man’s Cave
First on our list is unquestionably one of the best hiking trails in the Buckeye State. The hiking trails found here are absolutely breathtaking, offering some of the best sightseeing opportunities in the state. Located in the Hocking Hills State Park, hikers will be able to enjoy the beautiful waterfalls, fascinating rock formations, and, of course, the sandstone cave.
The best part about the Old Man’s Cave hiking trail is that there are route options for both beginner and more experienced hikers. There is a short half a mile route that leads straight to the cave and back or a more strenuous six-mile trail for those looking for more of a challenge. This is a beautiful hiking experience not to be passed by.
The popular Buckeye Trail is made up of roughly 1,500 miles of trails that almost perfectly outline the border of Ohio. While that can seem daunting in itself, do not worry! You obviously won’t be covering all those miles at once! Instead, there are several exciting trails within the Buckeye Trail to enjoy one day at a time.
The Hocking Hills State Park has many trails that form part of the Buckeye Trail, so hikers can expect to experience everything that Ohio has to offer while exploring this vast network of hiking adventures.
Virginia Kendall Ledges
As a final entry to our list, but not nearly the last that Ohio has to offer, is the mesmerizing Virginia Kendall Ledges. This is the kind of place that makes you feel like you are in another world altogether. The fascinating ledges and rock formations formed over millions of years are the main attraction here.
Found in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the trail itself is only roughly two miles long, so it is perfect for any hiker to take on the challenge and experience the beauty of this trail. This is a must-visit spot that you need to see to believe!
There are so many more fantastic hiking trails that can be found in the Buckeye State, but we feel that these three perfectly capture the very best that Ohio has to offer. From waterfalls to rock formations and everything in between, a hiking adventure in Ohio is not to be passed by!