Coyote Run TrailHighbanks 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: 3.6 miles
Duration: 2.5 hours
Type: Loop Trail-Hiking,
Accessibility: The trail is not technically ADA accessible, but is fairly flat and reasonably wide.
This pleasant walking trail at Highbanks Metro Park is an easy stroll through a rather disturbed forest, which leads you to an open field dominated by grasses. This field is managed as a meadow, both to allow for a diversity of species that would otherwise not find much habitat in central Ohio, and as a side effect, to allow us an unobstructed view of a large Adena mound located near the spot where the trail first pops out of the forest and into the meadow.
During mid-to late summer, you can see the hot-pink flowers of the Depthford Pink in the meadows along the Coyote Run Trail.
The Adena people lived in the Ohio area during approximately 800 B.C.E. to perhaps 100 C.E. For more information check out this web page on Adena Indians and archaeology of the Woodland Period in the Eastern Uniterd States.
The meadows here are home to songbirds, as well as butterflies such as the Monarch. Meadows such as this are also great places to observe small mammals such as rabbits, moles, voles and mice. Because of these small mammals, meadows can also be advantageous spots to observe predators, such as red-shouldered hawks, which may often be heard and seen here, and sometimes, the shy, cautious coyote, which may be seen near the forest edges and trotting through the meadows near dusk.
Plant species you will see include the invasive plant teasel, which is so named because its spiky flower heads were literally used to tease fibers of products in woolen mills. This useful plant has, however spread in open habitats around Ohio and can grow thickly enough to worry some land mangers. To learn more about invasive plants such as teasel, Smooth Brome Grass, another invasive plant found in these meadows, visit the Ohio Invasive Plant Council on the web.