Big Meadows PathHighbanks Metro Park
Columbus Metro Parks
Lewis Center, Franklin County
Access Highbanks Metro Park from Route 23. From I-270, take U.S. 23 north 3 miles. The entrance is on the left. If you get to Powell Road, you have gone too far.
Length: 1 mile
Duration: 1/2 hour
Type: Loop Trail-Hiking, jogging, biking, roller-blading
Accessibility: The trail is ADA accessible.
These managed meadows provide a wealth of bird habitat.
The Big Meadows Path is an easy hike, or bike ride. Roller-bladers and stroller-pushing families will also find the trail easy and enjoyable. The peaceful trail winds its way through meadows, picnic areas and playgrounds.
The managed meadows that abound along the trail contain numerous raspberries, a red cedar here and there, and bluebird boxes. Small groves of deciduous trees provide some habitat diversity. Trees here include white oaks and white ash. Because the meadow is well managed, a diversity of birds are frequently seen and heard here. Cardinals, warblers and sparrows are usual visitors here. If you are a beginning birder, check out our guide for beginning birders, and our birding links as well.
In order to keep a meadow from turning into a forest in Ohio, it must be managed in some way. Generally, the choices are mowing or burning. It appears that this meadow is managed by mowing. If a field is brush hogged at an interval of approximately three years, the woody growth is less likely to dominate, and grasses and forbs are able to thrive. In order to keep areas of shrubs, grasses and forbs, a different third of the field may be mowed every year. In this way, diversity is encouraged, and the entire field is mowed incrementally over a three-year period.
Bring your family and combine your hike with a picnic. Young children will enjoy the playgrounds, while older kids can benefit from hiking along the trail with field guides for birds, plants, and butterflies.