Scioto Grove Metro Park in Winter

What To Do in Ohio: Jan. 11-17

Bundle up and embrace the chill. These destinations offer great options for a winter hike.

Scioto Grove Metro Park: The Scioto Grove Metro Park’s 620 acres are home to more than 7 miles of trails, making it a great destination for a winter hike through the woods. The 1.8-mile REI River Trail is a popular route and features a suspension bridge that crosses Grant Run. Scioto Grove is also ideal for winter bird-watching, including ducks, red-tailed hawks, Canada geese, osprey and eagles, and the REI River Trail is a great place to find waterfowl in the wintertime. Located in Grove City, the park even welcomes well-behaved dogs on a leash.

Aullwood Garden MetroPark: Visitors at Aullwood Garden MetroPark love the diversity and abundance of flora, towering trees and serenity. The 31-acre park has a picturesque creek, a prairie, woods and, in warmer months, gardens planted with native and cultivated flowers. Currently, the trails are designated as one-way routes. As for those towering trees, a large bur oak greets visitors on the trail to the garden entrance. Look for it on the banks of the Stillwater River — and for the mark high on the tree showing the 1913 flood level of the river. At the back of the garden, you’ll find a 600-year-old twin sycamore, as well as a nearby blue ash tree that stands 127 feet tall.

Side Cut Metropark: The Metroparks of Toledo Area encompasses 11 preserved natural areas and covers 11,500 acres in and around the city. One route to seek out is Side Cut Metropark’s Fallen Timbers Trail. The 4.1-mile round trip goes through a thick patch of woods, and once you get through, hikers can find big prairie where the Battle of Fallen Timbers took place in the 1790s. Those who climb the steep final 300 yards of the trail get to view the Fallen Timbers Monument up-close.

Ash Cave Gorge Trail: Looking for an easier hike that you can tackle with your little ones? Head to Hocking Hills’ Ash Cave. The most common approach to the cave is via the Gorge Trail, an easy-to-navigate, quarter-mile jaunt through hardwood forest on a paved trail. It emerges at the park’s largest recess cave, measuring more than 700 feet from end to end and 100 feet tall. Year-round, the Hocking Hills is beloved for its wooded ravines and waterfall gems. Ash Cave is no different, offering an extra special sight during the winter when the falls form a frozen column of ice.