Today’s post is all about Highbanks Metro Park– a hidden gem wedged in the suburbs of northern Columbus! The park has 10 main trails to offer, ranging in length, difficulty, and scenery. I’d recommend first stopping at the nature center to get your bearings and see the jawbone of a prehistoric fish that was found in the region (yes…I’m a bit of a dork and find that awesome).
Anyways, two of my favorite trails are the overlook and wetland spur trails, located on the Edward F. Hutchins Nature Preserve. The overlook trail is rightfully named for the beautiful view of the Olentangy River that you’re rewarded with at the eastern-most point. On your way out to the overlook, make sure to stop by the Pool Family gravestones and the Prehistoric Earthworks. While the gravestones are no longer in their original spots, they give us a glimpse into the lives of the Pool Family, who used to farm a portion of the land. For another dose of history, continue along the trail to the Prehistoric Earthworks, thought to have been created by The Cole Culture. While the formations may not look like much at first, you’ll notice that they were designed to create a moat, an impressive feat for being estimated at ~1,000 years old. Once you reach the observation deck, look carefully for an eagles nest that is often seen on the Northeast side of the river.
The wetland spur trail is a bit farther out, but displays some of the park’s efforts to protect wetland environments- a crucial element of many ecosystems. At the end of the walkway there is a cute little shelter (built by a boy scout troop years ago) with a few windows for viewing the wetland from afar. Click here to learn more about why wetlands are so awesome.
For additional photos of Highbanks and details on where to go, visit my travel guide. This is truly one of those parks where you leave feeling extremely thankful that someone fought to protect the land from development…so get out there and explore it!
Park map …so you know where to roam!
Awesome YouTube video that details to park and some neat nature you can look for.
Looking for more information on the park’s history and features? Bob Downing did an excellent job with an article for the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com.