Trail Review: Olentangy Trail, Columbus, Ohio

Now that summer break is here, I get to spend more time on the trail with my favorite walking buddy: my daughter.  While we were out for one of our early summer walks, we were brainstorming some fun ideas, and she decided that we should show you some of the trails that we visit—and give you our reviews.  So keep an eye out this summer (and beyond!) for our trail review series!

I’m starting the series with our favorite trail—and not just because it’s so convenient, with multiple entry/exit points throughout the city.  The Olentangy Trail in Columbus is a paved and rather well-maintained multi-use, year-round trail that travels around 14 miles from the suburbs in Worthington all the way into downtown Columbus.  Along the way, you’ll find neighborhoods and parks and wooded areas while following the Olentangy River (and also State Route 315—which, admittedly, makes the trail noisy in parts).  You’ll find all kinds of wildlife along the way, too—from birds and squirrels to families of deer that will often stand alongside the trail, watching the action from their home in the woods.

On mild, sunny days, the trail can be busy—with everyone from bikers to families out walking their dogs sharing the trail.  But it rarely feels overcrowded.  In fact, having a number of other people passing by makes it feel safe instead of secluded—and as long as you follow proper trail etiquette, it’s a friendly environment.  There are plenty of trail regulars, and the more time you spend on the trail, the more you’ll get to know them and look forward to seeing them day after day.  Still, I definitely recommend staying on your side of the trail and listening for bikers speeding up behind you to prevent any accidents.

Since there are so many entry points along the way, you can choose your favorite sections of the trail.  You can walk through forests or suburban backyards or around Antrim Lake.  And since it’s a long, out-and-back trail, you can walk any distance you choose—whether you’re out for a short stroll with the family or a long weekend walk with a friend.  But however far you walk, you’ll enjoy the scenery and fresh air of this natural escape in the city.

– Paved trail that’s maintained throughout the year
– Scenic natural setting
– Plenty of wildlife
– Many parts are well shaded
– A variety of views: foliage, river, playgrounds, yards, lake
– Not too busy but not too secluded
– Long trail with lots of entry points, so you can explore different parts

– Near a busy highway—so some parts are noisy
– Need to be careful to prevent getting hit by a bike
– Not a lot of restrooms along the way

You can find more on the Olentangy Trail on the Columbus Recreation and Parks site.


Kristin has been hitting the trail (or the treadmill) for a walk almost every day for the past several years, and she recently completed her first half marathon. She loves sunny fall days, cushy walking shoes, and coconut caramel iced coffee from Dunkin.

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