Fall colors in Ohio are breathtaking. Indeed, fall in the right park can appeal to all of your senses — from the earthy, fresh smell of leaves to the crunchy sound of your steps on fallen foliage. Most of all, you know it’s truly autumn when the air feels crisp and the trees change from bright green to yellow to eventually deep red and purple. In Ohio, you can expect fall color to reach its peak in October, but in full bloom throughout November.
The best trees to see are the red maple, sugar maple, sassafras, sweet gum, dogwood and sumac. You can see a wide range of trees and foliage throughout the state’s parks, including these 25 top spots:
Metro and State Parks for Fall Colors
Enjoy the rolling woodlands and quiet waters of A.W. Marion State Park in Circleville this fall season. You’ll have 310 acres to explore, so go out and find the perfect spot to witness nature unfold.
Battelle Darby Creek, right outside of Columbus, includes more than 7,000 acres of forests, wetlands and prairies, where even bison roam freely.
Escape everyday stresses and immerse yourself into the cozy atmosphere of Burr State Park in Glouster. You’ll be mesmerized by the miles of fall foliage you’ll be able to see there.
Located right off State Route 430 in Mansfield is 2,000 peaceful acres surrounding the beautiful Charles Mill Lake. The grounds include a total of 457 campsites, where you and your family can stay to fish, relax and watch the leaves change.
Just 20 minutes south of Marion are the expansive woodlands and meadows of Delaware State Park. This 1,300-acre reservoir offers camping, swimming, boating and plenty of fall foliage views.
Deemed by many online reviewers as a charming place to make memories with friends and family, Faurot Park in Lima is a great choice if you’re looking to sit amongst the fall foliage.
If you’ve been looking for a breath of fresh air, take a trip to Gorman Nature Center in Mansfield. The scenery here will calm you down to your core, and give your mind the recharge it needs.
Named for its 100-foot-high shale bluff that overlooks the Olentangy State Scenic River, Highbanks Metro Park is a treasure trove of natural sights all year long, but especially during the fall.
Hocking Hills State Park is well-known for a reason. Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls and the Cantwell Cliffs are just a few stunning spots to hike to within this massive state park. Surrounded by thousands of trees, you’re guaranteed a lovely view of fall foliage here.
Whether you live closer to Marion, Mansfield or even the Columbus area, Mt. Gilead State Park is a small bit of paradise not too far away. Explore the abundance of wildflowers, wildlife and woodlands this park has to offer, while basking in the warm, fall foliage.
The Scioto Audubon Metro Park, located in the city of Columbus, provides the best views of both the downtown skyline and fall foliage. You can walk along the Scioto Mile, stop at the Bicentennial Park, and enjoy the colors of fall within the Metro Park itself. Plan to spend a long afternoon here, and end your day at a local restaurant.
Witness breathtaking views of the Ohio River and Appalachian foothills as you explore the 63,000 acres of Shawnee State Park in West Portsmouth. If you find yourself needing a little vacation, you can rent a cabin amongst the trees.
Less than an hour south of Columbus, you can visit Slate Run Metro Park, known for its historical attractions and scenic trails. Here you can find fall foliage in full bloom within its natural preserves, marshes and wetlands.
Walking and Bike Trails
This trail stretches from Westerville to Three Creeks in three sections. It follows Alum Creek, highlighting a nice view of the water with the changing trees.
For those on the east side of Columbus, this trail runs along Blacklick Creek, through Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg and ends at Three Creeks Park in Pickerington, giving you the perfect opportunity to go through a few different parks.
This preserve, located in Bucyrus, includes the last 74 acres of the original 200,000 acres of the Sandusky Plains. The Division of Natural Areas and Preserves keeps this land well maintained, so that the tall grass prairie and oak savannah trees can survive and be gazed upon. Enjoy this preserve by staying on the designated trails, and from there you will witness exquisite fall foliage.
The Olentangy Trail follows the Olentangy River starting in Worthington. This trail offers the perfect mix of greenery and cityscapes. From Worthington, this trail then goes through Clintonville, The Ohio State University campus, Grandview and ends close to the Arena District.
If you find yourself in the Athens area, hiking this trail is an absolute must. Good for all skill levels, your hard work is paid off by ending near a delightful waterfall.
This historic bike trail is 18.4 miles of paved road open to all kinds of activity. The length of the trail covers some of the loveliest areas to see fall foliage from Butler to Mansfield.
If you have some hiking experience under your belt, the Rockhouse Trail and Athens Trail Loop are fun to explore. This 6.3 kilometer trail offers wonderful views of fall foliage and will leave you feeling refreshed and tranquil.
Want to stay in downtown Columbus? The Scioto Trail offers a central location while still featuring scenic views. This trail starts in Grandview, goes through the Scioto Mile and ends just south of downtown.
If you’re looking for an activity with less impact, choose a driving tour to view the countryside’s best colors.
The Appalachian Mountains are simply charming this time of year. Get in the car with your family and take a ride through the beauty of southern Ohio, starting in Clarington, Ohio and ending in Nelsonville, Ohio. While you’ll have to drive to Clarington first, you’ll be able to end your adventure right back at home (if you’re local to the Nelsonville/Athens area).
This scenic byway starts at I-270 in Franklin County and follows the Olentangy River up to Delaware State Park. During your drive, you’ll see scenic views of the river and wide-open fields with churches, barns and houses.
Located on the east side of Franklin County, this scenic tour showcases nature, historic homes and barns.
This scenic byway includes hilltops, deep ravines and wetlands for travelers to feast their eyes on. Take delight in this byway, running through Ashland, Holmes and Knox counties, during autumn’s peak beauty.
Looking for more driving tours? The Ohio Department of Transportation shows you all of the scenic byways in Ohio.
Ready to explore the best fall colors in Ohio? Ohio. Find it Here. asks that you use the hashtags #FallinOhio and #OhioFindItHere when you share your fall pictures on social media. You can also explore the hashtag to find your next hiking or driving tour.