5 Fun Hikes for the Fall in Fairfield County

The midwest is full of opportunities for getting out into nature. And within its borders, Central Ohio has some of the best trails and parks. In fact, it’s one of the many charms that keep a lot of us here. So if you’re looking for fun hikes in the area, you really don’t have to look far! Here are five of our favorites along with some practical advice for year-round hiking.

What to Wear Hiking in Fall

Ready to get outside and see some Ohio fall foliage? We don’t blame you. If you’re new to trail hiking or not used to getting out in autumnal climates, you may be wondering what to wear hiking in the fall. A common annoyance of fall hikers is overheating. It’s 50 degrees and cool out, sure. But after the first half-mile up that picturesque incline, your body is going, hey… why are we wearing a jacket right now?

Body heat will sneak up on you like that, especially in the thermally confused period of time when tree leaves turn brilliant colors and incessant ads for pumpkin spice lattes flit back onto television screens. So if you don’t want to be stuck carrying a windbreaker for 75% of your hike, I suggest investing in a small backpack along with some active wear and a good set of boots or trail shoes.

Trail Clothes

Walker’s Shoe Center is an excellent local spot for all your podiatric needs. Plus, folks LOVE the customer service this shoe shop so consistently provides. From Clarks and Teva to Alegria and Merrell boots, you’ll find a variety of options for trail trekking.

When it comes to trail storage, CamelBak makes a world-famous line of lightweight trail bags so you can stuff your windbreaker in there, sip on a built-in water bladder, and keep hiking without breaking stride.

So now that you’re all equipped, let’s get hiking.

A boot retail display beside a rack with pairs of sock for sale at Walker's Shoe Center.
Walker’s Shoe Center can help you decide what to wear hiking in any conditions.

Check out our full write-up on Walker’s Shoe Center for more details about their history and everything this fantastic shop offers!

5 Fun Hikes Around Fairfield County

Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve

There may be no better natural view in all of Ohio than the one at the top of the Jacob’s Ladder Trail in Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve. Hiking Jacob’s Ladder is also an opportunity to check out the Mink Hollow Covered Bridge, located near the parking area for the trail. On top of all that, this fun hike spot is also one of the best places for fall foliage you’re likely to find this season and an author-tested romantic date spot 😉

A woman in a long-sleeve shirt and vest standing at the Christmas Rocks overlook after a fun hike.
The Christmas Rocks overlook. || Photo credit: @brandongalik

Chestnut Ridge

There are a variety of great trails at Chestnut Ridge. From the pet-friendly Milkweed Loop to the more challenging Ridge Trail itself. With a view of the Columbus skyline, this is a wonderful opportunity to take a short break and get away from everything for a while.

A gorgeous, placid blue lake with a wooded shoreline at Chestnut Ridge.
Chestnut Ridge is among the best places for fall foliage in Fairfield County. || Photo credit: @cbusfoodandbeer

Mount Pleasant

We’ve talked about the beauty of Mount Pleasant many times — sometimes from the sky and sometimes from the fishing spots around Rising Park. But it’s been a while since we shouted out the Mount Pleasant Trail, which is definitely worth noting for out-of-towners who might not be familiar already. At the top of Mount Pleasant, Natural Ohio Adventures says that hikers can expect stunning views of Lancaster and the area foothills. It’s also a prime spot for spotting some remarkable Ohio fall foliage in the right season.

Two women enjoying the view from a checkered picnic blanket on Mount Pleasant overlooking a town.

Clear Creek Metro Park

Oh, Clear Creek Metro Park — how we love you. Part of the Columbus Metro Parks system but located in Rockbridge, Ohio, Clear Creek is something like royalty when it comes to Central Ohio parks. Inside its approximately 5,000 acres of gorgeous land, hikers enjoy seven separate trails that make for some of the most breathtaking, memorable, and downright fun hikes in the midwest. And yes, Clear Creek Metro Park is also known for some dream-like fall foliage.

Check out this Columbus Metro Parks video on Ohio fall foliage in the parks.

Alley Park

For a short-yet-rewarding excursion into the great outdoors, you can’t do better than Alley Park. All Trails lists an elevation rise of 262 over a 2-mile loop for this Ohio gem. This serene trail offers a peaceful option for taking in the annual bliss of autumn.

A lodge on the water at Alley Park with a forest of Ohio fall foliage behind it.
Breathtaking autumnal foliage at Alley Park. || Photo credit: @perfectweddingsbridal

What’s Your Favorite Fall Foliage Hike?

Do you have a favorite fun hike from the list? Is there a spot we didn’t mention that you’re looking forward to trying out this year? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!

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