10 Best Hiking Trails in Ohio
The state of Ohio is one of the best places to go hiking in the United States.
With 180+ trails covering over 9,000 kilometers, you’re bound to find the perfect trail whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced hiker.
Hiking in the Buckeye State
If you’re planning a hiking trip to Ohio, then this article is for you. Below is our attempt to pick just 10 of the best hiking trails in the Buckeye State along with information on what to expect and the best time to visit.
1. Cantwell Cliffs Loop
The Cantwell Cliffs Loop is located in Hocking Hills State Park near Rockbridge, Ohio. This 1.4-kilometer loop trail is moderately challenging and takes around 30 minutes to complete.
While this trail is relatively short, the trip around the Cantwell Cliffs’ rim is actually one of the more difficult tours in the park. Well-worn steps, fallen trees sometimes blocking paths, sharp climbs, and descents are just some of the natural obstacles you can expect.
Despite its obstacles, the Cantwell Cliffs Loop is quite popular with hikers, walkers, and trail runners so don’t be surprised to find other people along the way. You can bring your furry best friends as long as they’re on a leash. The best time to visit is between March to November.
2. Brandywine Gorge Trail
The Brandywine Gorge Trail is located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Hudson, Ohio. This moderately challenging trail is 2.3 kilometers long and takes about 35 minutes to complete.
This trail contains sections of dirt, broken-up asphalt, and fine gravel. It’s also the tail-end of the Stanford House-Brandywine Falls Loop.
The Brandywine Gorge Trail is quite popular among hikers and trail runners so you’re likely to encounter other people along the way. Dogs are welcome on this trail but they must be on a leash. The best time to visit is between April to October.
3. Cascade Falls to Devil’s Icebox Loop
The Cascade Falls to Devil’s Icebox loop is located in Nelson Kennedy Ledges Park near Garrettsville, Ohio. This 3.2-kilometer trail is considered moderately challenging and takes around 47 minutes to complete.
This trail has lots of nooks and crannies to find and explore. Prepare to do some climbing once you get to Devil’s Icebox.
Despite being a popular loop, you can enjoy some solitude on the trail, depending on the time of the day. Feel free to bring your dog along, just make sure to keep it on a leash. The best time to visit is between May to September.
4. Rock House
The Rock House trail is another popular trail in Hocking Hills State Park, near Rockbridge, Ohio. This moderately challenging trail is 1.3 kilometers long and takes about 24 minutes to complete.
This is an all dirt trail with plenty of shade during the warmer months. Parking space isn’t an issue but there are no bathrooms.
Don’t be surprised to encounter other people along this trail as it’s quite popular among hikers. Dogs are welcome on this trail so long as you keep them on a leash. The best time to visit is between April to October.
5. Ledges Trail
The Ledges Trail is another popular trail found in Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Peninsula, Ohio. This 3.7-kilometer loop trail is easy and takes around 55 minutes to complete.
Most of the trail is a gravel road. Some sections of this trail have wildflowers, ledges, and beautiful rock formations.
The Ledges Trail is popular among hikers so you’ll likely encounter other people along the way. Feel free to bring your furry companion with you as long you keep them on a leash. This beautiful trail is open year-round and can be visited at any time.
6. Plateau Trail
The Plateau Trail is one of the most popular trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This 7.1-kilometer loop is fairly easy and takes about 1 hour and 43 minutes to complete.
Much of the trail runs through the forest and the path mostly consists of dirt with some gravel sections. The focal point of this trail has to be the several rows of pine near Chestnut Pond.
Being one of the most popular trails in the area, expect to come across other people along your route. Dogs are welcome as long you keep them leashed. This trail is open year-round and you can visit it any time.
7. Gorge Overlook Loop
The Gorge Overlook Loop is located in Mohican State Park near Perrysville, Ohio. Rated moderately challenging, this loop trail is 2.3 kilometers long and takes around 40 minutes to complete.
Going clockwise through this trail, you’ll find a ladder to climb, a suspension bridge, steep inclines and declines, river views, and an easily accessible waterfall area. If you’re lucky, you might also spot a bald eagle or two.
While this trail is quite popular, you can still enjoy some solitude depending on the time and day that you visit. Your dogs can tag along as long as you keep them on a leash.
8. Lamping Homestead Trail
The Lamping Homestead Trail is located in a recreation area of the same name near Graysville, Ohio. This easy 2.9-kilometer loop trail is moderately challenging and takes about 49 minutes to complete.
The trailhead is a camping and picnic parking lot. Some sections of this trail are quite steep and narrow making it more challenging for some. Experience the beautiful scenery but be careful of narrow trail areas with fallen trees.
The Lamping Homestead Trail is great if you’re looking to walk, hike, or trail run in solitude.
9. Blackhand Gorge Trail
The Blackhand Gorge Trail is located in a state nature preserve of the same name near Newark, Ohio. This trail is 13.8 kilometers long and is fairly easy, taking about 3 hours and 6 minutes to complete.
The nature preserve is home to oak-hickory mature woods as well as Virginia pine and mountain laurel. The trail itself is asphalt with some rough patches (caused by roots) here and there.
The Blackhand Gorge Trail is popular among hikers, trail runners, and birders so don’t be surprised to encounter other people enjoying and exploring the trail. Dogs are welcome as long you keep them leashed. This trail is open year-round and can be visited any time.
10. Buckeye Trail
Last but certainly not least is the Buckeye Trail in Ohio. Stretching about 2,300 kilometers, the Buckeye Trail is by far the longest in the state.
This hike is not for the faint of heart as it’s considered the hardest and single most dangerous trail in all of Ohio. This danger is attributed to sections of steep cliffs (located in Hocking Hills State Park) that are often slippery.
If you’re keen on hiking this epic trail, you can check out this How-to page from BuckeyeTrail.org. This page contains maps, guides, and other useful information for hiking the Buckeye Trail including suggestions for shorter hikes along the trail.