Here in Ohio, our nature scene is severely underrated. There’s simply so much more to see and do than most people realize. If you love the outdoors, the following are 10 things you must do in Ohio. Be sure to add these to your bucket list, and let us know what else should be added to an Ohio outdoor lover’s bucket list.
1. Old Man’s Cave (Hocking Hills State Park)
Hocking Hills State Park is arguably Ohio's most beloved state park, where waterfalls, caves and hiking trails abound. The Old Man's Cave hiking trails feature approximately 5.1 miles of sandstone gorges, breathtaking waterfalls, eerie caves and unique rock formations that will make you feel like you're living in a "Lord of the Rings" film.
2. Oak Openings (Swanton)
Close to Toledo you'll find what's considered to be Ohio's rarest ecosystem (and one of the world's rarest ecosystems) where rare plants and animals, oak forests, sand dunes, savannas, tall-grass prairies and swamp forests all thrive in harmony.
3. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Peninsula)
Ohio's very own national park features stunning waterfalls (pictured: Brandywine Falls), incredible views and rugged ledges to explore. There are more than 125 miles of hiking trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
4. Holden Arboretum Canopy Walk (Kirtland)
Not many people are aware that Ohio is home to an incredible canopy walk. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful experience—unless you’re absolutely terrified of heights, that is. The Judith and Maynard H. Murch Canopy Walk at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio features a 500 ft. long elevated walkway suspended 65 ft. above the forest floor. (And as an added bonus, there’s an observation tower on site that takes you up even further up—so much further that you end up above the trees.)
5. Magee Marsh Wildlife Refuge (Oak Harbor)
Arguably the state's top bird-wathcing spot—featuring more than 300 species of birds—you can find this peaceful refuge along western Lake Erie, between Toledo and Port Clinton.
6. Mohican-Memorial State Forest (Ashland County)
This beautiful 4,525-acre forest features several hiking trails that lead to attractions such as Pine Run Creek, the Fire Tower and Clearfork Gorge. (Pictured: Big Lyons Falls, a 300-foot deep sandstone gorge with two beautiful waterfalls.)
7. Rockbridge State Nature Preserve (Rockbridge)
April Dray/Only In Your State
The Rockbridge State Nature Preserve in the small town of Rockbridge features a natural bridge that stretches more than 100 ft. long – and it’s truly incredible. (After steady rainfall, the water trickling down into the ravine increases and forms what locals call “Rockbridge Falls” beneath the bridge.)
8. Rocky River Reservation Trails (Cleveland Metroparks)
The All Purpose Trail at Rocky River Reservation (pictured) features scenic views of the Rocky River and a total of 13.6 miles for cycling, walking, skating, etc. Along this trail you'll encounter others, such as the 1.3-mile Rockcliff Springs Fitness Trail, (which we also recommend.)
9. Shawnee State Forest (Scioto and Adams counties)
Ohio's largest state forest is known as "The Little Smokies of Ohio," and covers 63,747 acres. It features 60 miles of bridle and hiking trails, 60 miles of backpacking trails, 58 horse camp sites and an 8,000-acre wilderness.
10. Mill Creek Park (Youngstown)
Youngstown's metro park features some beautiful scenery and landmarks. The 1.5-mile asphalt surface East Cohasset Hike/Bike Trail features a scenic route above Lake Cohasset. It's perfect for a leisurely day hike.