By Mat Stevens
An excellent way to spend quality time with your family and enjoy the great outdoors is by hiking one of Ohio’s many incredible trails. Across the state, you’ll discover trails among beautiful wilderness that are perfect for those with less experience. Explore these five awesome hiking trails throughout Ohio for an enjoyable trek.
Hocking Hills is full of great places to hike, but Ash Cave is your number one must-see. The massive horseshoe-shaped cave is nearly 700 feet-long and 100 feet-deep. Such a marvel of natural formation is sure to put a smile on the faces of kids and adults alike. It's just a short hike from the road, and from there you can turn back or continue deeper into the woods to see everything Hocking Hills has to offer.
Some hiking trails can be a lot to ask of your kids, but Lanterman’s Mill will help you avoid this. It's just a short two-mile loop. Halfway through, you can stop and look at the historic mill built in 1845, which is still operating to this day.
The Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve is made up of two loop trails of just over two miles, and if the family is feeling ambitious, they can be combined into a nice 4.75-mile loop hike. With numerous rocky outcroppings, fern-carpeted lands, and mature forests that stretch all the way to the horizon, you'll find yourself in awe at the beauty of nature.
If you're not necessarily looking for an in-and-out hike, and you want to stay for a while, the Lamping Homestead at Wayne National Forest has six walk-in campsites, eight picnic sites, a two-acre fishing pond, and two loop trails to hike, one at 3.5 miles and the other at 1.5 miles. Take the family away and get away from it all in the secluded and beautiful Lamping Homestead.
The Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve has lots of places to hike, but if you want to keep things simple for the kids, the Marie Hickey Trail and the Oak Knob Trail form a 2.5-mile loop for even the most novice of hikers. The preserve is full of rocky cliff faces, mature trees, stunning wildlife and flowers, and so much more. It's sure to bring the family together!