Scenic River Trail

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Highbanks Metro Park
Columbus Metro Parks

Trail Location

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.

Trail Summary

  • Length: .6 Mile
  • Duration: less than 1 hour
  • Surface: natural
  • Type: Loop Trail-Hiking,
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Accessibility: The trail is not ADA accessible.

This trail provides fine views of the state-designated "Scenic" Olentangy River

Trail Description

This easy hiking trail parallels the Olentangy River, which is designated a “Scenic” river by the State of Ohio for its natural beauty and relatively natural condition. The gravel trail goes through a hardwood forest composed of cottonwood, sycamore, Ohio buckeye, and ash. As you hike along the river, you may see a cardinal or two, the small gray tufted titmouse. If you listen closely, you will surely hear a variety of warblers in the spring as well.

Although this is a short trail, it is well worth the half-hour or so it takes to hike through. Take a few moments to soak in the many views of the Olentangy River. The riffles in the river reflect the light of the sun like sparkling gems glistening in the distance.

Wildflowers are abundant along the trail. On both sides of the path you will see spring ephemerals (if you hike the trail in March, April, or early May) such as yellow trout lily and spring beauty. Also abundant as you hike along will be false mermaid, gallium (also known as cleavers or bedstraw), and waterspot. Squirrel Corn also grows here in the early spring, with its white bleeding-heart-like flowers and fine bluish-green foliage.

Among the other wildflowers, you may see Virginia Bluebells along the river in April and early May.Those picured here are just about to bloom.

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