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 Columbus, 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 five top spots:
Metro Parks for Fall Colors
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.
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.
Battelle Darby Creek, right outside of Columbus, includes more than 7,000 acres of forests, wetlands and prairies, where even bison roam freely.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re looking for an activity with less impact, choose a driving tour throughout central Ohio to view the countryside’s best colors.
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 and historic home and barns.
Looking for more driving tours outside of central Ohio? 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.