Highbanks 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: 2.5 Miles
- Duration: 2 hours
- Surface: natural
- Type: Loop Trail-Hiking,
- Difficulty: moderate
- Accessibility: The trail is not ADA accessible.
This primitive trail at Highbanks Metro Park is about 2.5 miles long. The gravel and natural surface goes through woodlands, past steep ravines, and above streams with shale ledges dripping with water. These shale seeps give the trail its name, Dripping Rock.
If you enter the trail from Big Meadows Picnic Area, you will first traverse a young woods consisting of white ash, wild black cherry, and red maples. An occasional open-grown oak tree hints that the field may have been a pasture in the not-too-distant past. As you hike up into older woods, the trees are bigger in diameter, and the spacing between the trees becomes greater. These woods are dominated by Oaks, but honey locust trees, with their large thorns protruding, dot the landscape.
The understory, or the woody plants below the canopy trees, is dominated by invasive non-native bush honeysuckles. In spite of the invasive plants, the birds are great in this forest. Older standing dead trees, as well as dying trees, attract the red-bellied woodpecker. Although called the red-bellied woodpecker, you really can’t see the red on its belly. Look instead for a ladder of black and white on its back and a patch of red on the head.
Tufted titmice, chickadees, and cardinals also frequent the woods along the Dripping Rock Trail. If you learn to identify birds by their call, you may very well hear the distinct calls of a dozen or more birds here on your hike.