Activities in high gear at Highbanks Metro Park


LEWIS CENTER — With temperatures warming up and spring looming ahead, today is a good day to get outside and enjoy a walk in one of the county’s countless parks.

Last month, Highbanks was part of the annual Metro Parks Winter Hike series, and some walkers found one of 15 wooden logo tags along the trail. Others had a booklet stamped for completing the hike.

For March, Highbanks has several activities planned.

A “Backpacking and Hiking Open House” is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, March 6.

“Are you interested in backpacking or backcountry hiking, but not sure how to get started?” the description reads. “Learn about the 10 essentials to always have with you, whether hiking or backpacking. Information about equipment you might use for a day hike or 10-day wilderness hike, backpacking foods, sample hiking plans for the AT, and more.”

The AT is short for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which stretches 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine.

An adult hiking club will meet at 11 a.m. on March 9. The club will hike Highbanks’ Overlook Trail, and it may be muddy, the park warns. The social hike is moderately paced.

Next Saturday is National Plant-a-Flower Day, and from 1-3 p.m., children 6-12 can learn how to make a seed tape, a biodegradable way to space out seeds in a garden row.

A sunset hike of 2.5 miles will take place 6-7:30 p.m. March 12. This hike, for ages 3 and older, has limited stops to the overlook deck to see the sun set over the Olentangy River.

“Trail includes steep hills and uneven ground,” the park’s Facebook page said. “Bring a flashlight for the hike back to the nature center.”

On St. Patrick’s Day, kids 2-7 can do a “Leprechaun Search” scavenger hunt from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Prizes will be awarded. Another scavenger hunt — on any trail — runs from noon-2 p.m. on March 27, for ages 3-12.

A naturalist will be discussing Ohio mammals inside the nature center from 2-4 p.m. on March 20. Speaking of mammals, a 1.5-mile spring hike with your dog is planned for 2 p.m. March 26 along the river at Big Meadows Picnic Area. There will be water breaks and a treat. The picnic area is down the hill from the main road and to the left, and it has a playground.

For birdwatchers, there will be a spring bird hike from 3:30-5 p.m. on March 29. Bring your binoculars and meet in the Big Meadows picnic area at the back of the park.

Jill Snyder, assistant manager of interpretation and education, has said on the Metro Parks website that parks attendance increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Just before Valentine’s Day, one couple got engaged in the park.

Highbanks Metro Park is located at 9466 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center. Most events meet at the Highbanks Nature Center, which is the first right after entering the park. If that lot is full, there is a nearby lot at Oak Groves Picnic Area with a paved trail to the nature center.

For more information, visit

Among the features at Highbanks Metro Park is this natural play area at the Big Meadows picnic area at the back of the park. the features at Highbanks Metro Park is this natural play area at the Big Meadows picnic area at the back of the park. Gary Budzak | The Gazette

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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