Ohio offers a range of top-rated hiking trails perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. From scenic waterfalls and lush forests to stunning overlooks and serene lakes, these 18 best hikes in Ohio promise fun hiking trips for all skill levels. Whether you prefer leisurely strolls or more challenging treks, the state’s landscapes and trails allow you to connect with nature and discover hidden gems throughout the region. Lace up your hiking boots and get ready to embark on the best hikes in Ohio.
Best Hikes in Ohio
Set out on a quest with the best hikes in Ohio: Cuyahoga Valley Ledges Trail, Brandywine Gorge Trail, and Old Man’s Cave and Naturalist Cabin Loop. Witness the great outdoors as you encounter magnificent ledges, enchanting waterfalls, and captivating rock formations.
1. Cuyahoga Valley Ledges Trail
Ledges Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Peninsula, OH 44264, USA
Location: Peninsula Mileage: 2.3-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Popular year-round trail for hiking and running. Expect company. Leashed dogs welcome.
Cuyahoga Valley Ledges Trail
, accessible through a connector trail behind the bulletin board. The route is well marked, leading to breathtaking rock formations on the plateau. Wear sturdy shoes and bring hiking poles for the rocky terrain. Enjoy the adventure and the stunning views.
2. Brandywine Gorge Trail
Brandywine Gorge Trail, Ohio, USA
Location: Hudson Mileage: 1.4-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Popular hiking and running area, expect crowds. Best time to visit: April-October. Leashed dogs allowed.
Experience the beauty of
Brandywine Gorge Trail
with its waterfall, creek, and colorful forest, especially in the fall. Enjoy lovely views along the route, which includes fine gravel, broken-up asphalt, and dirt sections. Going clockwise means descending and then ascending. This trail is also part of the Stanford House to Brandywine Falls Loop. Get ready for a short but rewarding hike in this picturesque landscape.
3. Old Man's Cave and Naturalist Cabin Loop
Old Man's Cave, CFM4+8P, South Bloomingville, OH 43138, USA
Location: South Bloomingville Mileage: 0.6-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Popular hiking and walking area with crowds. Best time to visit: April-October. Leashed dogs allowed. Note: Some trails are one-way in Hocking Hills State Park.
Old Man's Cave and Naturalist Cabin Loop
, a 0.6-mile easy out-and-back trail in South Bloomingville, Ohio. Kid-friendly and packed with sights at every turn. Enjoy cool bridges, numerous waterfalls, and towering rock walls. It's a fantastic route offering a delightful nature experience.
Best Short & Easy Hikes in Ohio
Ohio’s best short and easy hikes include Broken Rock Falls Loop, Conkle’s Hollow Gorge Trail, and Horseshoe Falls. These trails offer waterfalls, gorges, and picturesque landscapes, perfect for a quick and enjoyable outdoor adventure. Whether you’re a beginner hiker or simply looking for a relaxing escape, these trails promise just that.
4. Broken Rock Falls Loop
South Bloomingville, OH 43152, USA
Location: South Bloomingville Mileage: 1.0-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Ideal for hiking and walking. Best time to visit: April-October. Leashed dogs allowed. Note: Some trails are one-way in Hocking Hills State Park.
Broken Rock Falls Loop
, a 1.0-mile easy loop trail in South Bloomingville, Ohio. It's beautiful, with lots of waterfalls and well-groomed paths. Expect some elevation gain, but it's totally worth the effort. Be prepared for crowds during weekends as it's a popular spot. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and the abundance of waterfalls along the trail.
5. Conkle's Hollow Gorge Trail
South Bloomingville, OH 43152, USA
Location: South Bloomingville Mileage: 1.2-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Popular area for birding, hiking, and running with crowds. Best time to visit: April-November. No dogs allowed on this trail.
Discover the beauty of
Conkle's Hollow Gorge Trail
, a scenic path with paved sections leading to a waterfall. Enjoy breathtaking views of high cliffs, rock walls, and lush greenery as you progress along the trail.
6. Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls, 3286 N Clarksville Rd, Waynesville, OH 45068, USA
Location: Waynesville Mileage: 1.7-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Popular hiking area, expect crowds. Best time to visit: April-October. Leashed dogs allowed.
, a 1.7-mile easy out-and-back trail in Waynesville, Ohio. Kid-friendly and perfect for beginners. Enjoy a simple hike with cool falls and a bouncy bridge to cross. Venture a bit further for an excellent view of the falls. It's an active and fun-filled trail for the whole family.
Hardest Hikes in Ohio
Take on the challenge of the hardest hikes in Ohio with Shawnee State Park North Loop, Zaleski North Loop Trail, and Lake Vesuvius Backpack Trail. These rugged and demanding trails offer adventurous hikers stellar scenery, diverse landscapes, and a true backcountry experience. Test your limits as you navigate through challenging terrain and steep inclines, rewarded with the unmatched beauty of Ohio’s outdoors.
7. Shawnee State Park North Loop Location: West Portsmouth Mileage: 19.7-mile loop trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: Ideal for backpacking, camping, and hiking with fewer crowds. Dogs allowed, some areas off-leash. Enjoy your adventure in peace and with your furry friend by your side.
Take on the
Shawnee State Park North Loop
, a challenging 19.7-mile loop trail in West Portsmouth, Ohio. Enjoy spectacular views and rugged terrain, providing a true backpacking adventure. The trail is reasonably marked, making it a great experience for hiking enthusiasts seeking a thrilling challenge with lots of hills.
8. Zaleski North Loop Trail
Zaleski State Forest, OH-278, Zaleski, OH 45698, USA
Location: Mc Arthur Mileage: 19.5-mile loop trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: Popular trail for backpacking, birding, and camping. Enjoy solitude during quieter times. Best time to visit: March-October. Leashed dogs allowed.
Check out the
Zaleski North Loop Trail
. It's a challenging 19.5-mile loop in McArthur, Ohio, and a hit for backpacking, birding, and camping. For the best experience, go in early spring or late fall to avoid overgrowth. If you brave the trail in late spring or summer, be prepared for lots of it. Get ready for a challenging adventure in the wild.
9. Lake Vesuvius Backpack Trail
Lake Vesuvius, Elizabeth Township, OH 45659, USA
Location: Pedro Mileage: 18.1-mile loop trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: Popular trail for backpacking, birding, and camping. Enjoy solitude during quieter times. Open year-round, beautiful anytime. Leashed dogs allowed.
Take a journey along the
Lake Vesuvius Backpack Trail
, an 18.1-mile challenging loop near Pedro, Ohio. Customize your backpacking adventure with countless great campsites along the trek as you circle the scenic Lake Vesuvius.
Best Waterfront Hikes in Ohio
Did you know that Ohio has some of the best hiking trails by the water? You have to check out the Covered Bridge and Lyons Falls via Pleasant Hill and Lyons Falls Loop, Sharon Woods Lake Trail to Gorge Trail Loop, and Whispering Cave – Cedar Falls Loop. Whether you’re a pro or just want to take it easy, there’s something for everyone on these trails.
10. Covered Bridge and Lyons Falls via Pleasant Hill and Lyons Falls Loop
Perrysville, OH 44864, USA
Location: Perrysville Mileage: 2.3-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Popular area for birding, hiking, and running, expect crowds. Best time to visit: April-November. Leashed dogs allowed.
Don't miss the
Covered Bridge and Lyons Falls hike via the Pleasant Hill and Lyons Falls Loop
. Start at the covered bridge - the hike will lead to waterfalls, a dam, and a scenic river. Wear good hiking or running shoes, as it might get muddy depending on the season. Bring water and snacks for an enjoyable hike with plenty of shade from trees.
11. Sharon Woods Lake Trail to Gorge Trail Loop
West Chester Township, OH, USA
Location: West Chester Township Mileage: 4.3-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Popular area for birding, road biking, and running, expect crowds. Best time to visit: April-October. Leashed dogs allowed. Note: Parking fee at Sharon Woods.
Sharon Woods Lake Trail to Gorge Trail Loop
, an easy and beautiful route that takes about an hour and a half to complete. Enjoy mostly paved paths, with a small portion on the Gorge Trail made of light gravel. Stay shaded throughout the trail for a pleasant and scenic hike.
12. Whispering Cave - Cedar Falls Loop
Whispering Cave, Logan, OH 43138, USA
Location: South Bloomingville Mileage: 5.8-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Popular area for hiking and walking, expect crowds.
Embark on the
Whispering Cave - Cedar Falls Loop
for a moderate, fun hike. Discover fascinating rock formations, challenging rock climbs, and a double cave and waterfall. While some parts can be difficult to traverse, the enjoyable experience is well worth it.
Best Winter Hikes in Ohio
Ohio has some amazing winter hiking trails, including the Holler Collar and Doanville School Trail, Sampson Trail, and Chapin Forest Trail. Each of these hikes offers unique views and challenges, making them perfect for those looking to get outside and explore during the colder months.
13. Holler Collar and Doanville School Trail
Nelsonville, OH 45764, USA
Location: Nelsonville Mileage: 3.2-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Perfect for hiking, running, and walking with fewer crowds.
Starting where Tipple Top Trail ends, this
offers rolling dips and climbing turns for an exciting ride. Counterclockwise, it connects with Bullfrog Loop at Utah Ridge Pond. To continue on Holler Collar, cross Utah Ridge Road. The trail then follows the top of Doanville holler and intersects with Doanville School Trail. Expect a short climb back to Utah Ridge Road and the loop's start. From the Doanville-York Trailhead, Doanville School Trail climbs via a switchback through white pine-dominated woods, offering scenic views of Doanville. Access the Holler Collar Trail for a great intermediate-level workout.
14. Sampson Trail Location: Tiffin Mileage: 0.8-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Popular trail for hiking, running, and walking. Enjoy solitude during quieter times. Best time to visit: March-November.
You've got to check out the hidden gem of
at the Forrest Nature Preserve. It's an easy 0.8-mile out-and-back trail near Tiffin, Ohio, and only takes around 19 minutes to complete. Perfect for hiking, running, and walking, with different paths that offer amazing views. Just a heads up, there's a steep part of the trail that leads to the road near the parking lot, so be aware of that.
15. Chapin Forest Trail
Willoughby, OH 44094, USA
Location: Willoughby Mileage: 5.7-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Popular area for birding, camping, and cross-country skiing, expect crowds. Best time to visit: April-September. Leashed dogs allowed.
The outlook along the
Trail offers a fantastic view, making the entire trail worthwhile. Enjoy the vistas of Lake Erie and the distant Cleveland skyline. The route is wide and well-marked. Avoid the steep connector trail and stick to the regular trails for a pleasant hike.
Best Hikes Near Columbus
Columbus offers some great hiking options, especially if you’re looking for a quick getaway from the city. The Blendon Woods Loop, Hayden Run Falls, and Scioto Trail North Bank are all fantastic options for those seeking a little adventure.
16. Blendon Woods Loop
Blendon Woods Metro Park, Columbus, OH, USA
Location: Columbus Mileage: 2.0-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Popular trail for hiking, running, and walking. Enjoy solitude during quieter times. No dogs allowed on this trail.
Check out the
Blendon Woods Loop
– well-maintained with paved and unpaved trails. Spot abundant wildlife, including wild turkeys, black squirrels, and colorful birds. Enjoy the beautiful, shady trail with some small, easy inclines around a ravine. A nature lover's dream in Columbus!
17. Hayden Run Falls
Hayden Run Falls Park, 4460 Hayden Run Rd, Columbus, OH 43221, USA
Location: Columbus Mileage: 0.3-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Popular trail for hiking and walking, offering solitude during quieter times. Open year-round, beautiful anytime. Leashed dogs allowed. Hayden Run Falls
is an easy 0.3-mile out-and-back trail near Columbus, Ohio. It's just a quick stroll along stairways and boardwalks leading to the falls. While parking may be limited, the short walk is well worth the magnificent view. Don't miss this gem if you're in the area.
18. Scioto Trail North Bank Location: Columbus Mileage: 1.8-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Popular mountain biking trail with moments of solitude. Best time to visit: February-November.
Grab your bike and ride along the
Scioto Trail North Bank
, an easy 1.8-mile out-and-back trail near Columbus, Ohio. It's popular for mountain biking and has great views of downtown Columbus.
Have you taken any of these hiking trails in the state of Ohio? Think they are some of the best hiking trails in Ohio? Which do you think are the best places for hiking in Ohio? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a day hike, our Ohio Hiking series below covers everything you’ll need; and be sure to Try AllTrails+ For Free!
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More to Explore
The Best Hikes In Ohio
Does Ohio have good hiking trails?
Ohio's best hiking trails include:
Barrett’s Rim Trail
John L. Rich and North Rim Trail Loop in
Clifton Gorge State Nature Cantwell Cliffs Loop
The Ledges Trail and Pine Grove Trail Loop
Jacobs Ladder and Christmas Rocks Trail
Ohio Erie Canal Towpath: Clinton to Canal Fulton
Wayne National Forest Scenic River Loop
Cincinnati Nature Center Loop
Olsen State Nature Preserve Loop
Twin Creek Metro Park Yellow Trail via Northern Trailhead
Blackhand Trail and Quarry Rim Trail Loop
What are the best months to hike in Ohio?
While Ohio is a nature lover's paradise year-round, winter offers a special appeal to outdoor sports enthusiasts. From skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing, ice skating, and even ice fishing, there are abundant opportunities to embrace the winter wonderland and partake in activities amid Ohio's natural beauty.