The Highbanks Metro Park, open all year, has something for everyone. The seven trails winding through 1,159 acres range from brief easy walks to longer more difficult hikes. Deep ravines can be seen along many of the trails, exposing layers of bedrock formed thousands of years ago. Two trails include Adena Indian burial mounds, and yet another includes a breathtaking overlook of the Olentangy State Scenic River as well as prehistoric earthen works.
ADA Compliant Park Trails
The Big Meadows Path, Oak Coves Path, and Scenic River Trail are all easy, Americans With Disabilities Act compliant trails that are a mile or less in length. Both the Big Meadows Path and the Oak Coves Path are paved.
The Scenic River Trail is a gravel trail and is the only trail in the park that runs along a section of the Olentangy State Scenic River. This trail also meanders through the park’s natural play area where visitors are allowed to venture from the trail and can even climb trees.
Longer Hiking Trails Offer Views Of Indian Burial Mounds
The moderate Coyote Run Trail is a natural grass loop trail that runs east and west across the north end of the park. This trail has three loops within it and is the longest trail in the park at 3.5 miles. It is also the only trail that allows pets. Hikers can view one of the two Adena Indian burial mounds in the park while hiking the east end of this trail.
The Dripping Rock Trail loops its way through a majority of the park. Most of the other trails in the park can be accessed from some point on this 2.5-mile trail. This moderate trail is gravel and runs through the forest, over streams, and past steep shale ravines that drip water. Towards the southeast side of the trail, the loop is a spur where hikers can access the other Adena burial mound
Prehistoric Earthworks and Breathtaking Bluff Overlook
The Overlook Trail is a loop trail located at the south end of the park, accessed only from the Dripping Rock Trail. At the southern end of this trail’s loop is a spur leading to prehistoric earthworks as well as a very large, multi-layer deck overlook. The deck sits on one of the 110-foot shale bluffs overlooking the Olentangy River. According to the Highbanks Metro Park pamphlet, several prehistoric cultures used the bluffs as a lookout, including the Cole Culture who is attributed with building the 1,500-foot horseshoe-shaped earthwork that sits directly in front of the overlook. The Cole Culture built the earthwork 800-1200 years ago. Also near the south end of the loop is access to the Wetland Spur Trail which leads to a wetlands observation shelter. Near the north end of the loop is the fenced-in site of the Pool family gravestones. A sign posted at the site explains that no one knows the location of the actual graves. The stones were found south of the park and moved to the fenced-in location. The Pool family were some of Central Ohio’s earliest settlers, according to the park sign.
The seven trails within the Highbanks Metro Park offer many ways to enjoy a hike. In addition to wetlands, woodlands with deep ravines, and high bank river overlooks, hikers can experience prehistoric earthworks, Indian burial mounds, and early Ohio history.