Olentangy-Scioto Trail In Ohio

Here is everything you need to know about the Olentangy-Scioto Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Ohio
  • Length: 13.5 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Columbus Recreation and Parks Department
  • Permit Required?: No.
  • Website: https://www.ohioriverwatertrail.org/

The Olentangy-Scioto Trail holds a significant place in the history of central Ohio. This trail, which stretches approximately 13 miles, follows the course of two major rivers in the region, the Olentangy and Scioto. The trail has been used by indigenous peoples for centuries, serving as a vital transportation route and connecting various settlements and hunting grounds.

Before European settlement, Native American tribes such as the Shawnee, Wyandot, and Delaware utilized the Olentangy-Scioto Trail as a means of travel and trade. These tribes recognized the strategic importance of the trail, as it provided access to fertile lands, abundant wildlife, and important water sources. The trail also facilitated communication and cultural exchange between different tribes, contributing to the rich tapestry of indigenous history in the region.

With the arrival of European settlers in the late 18th century, the Olentangy-Scioto Trail gained further significance. The trail became a crucial link between the newly established settlements and forts, enabling the movement of people, goods, and information. It played a pivotal role during the War of 1812, serving as a military route for American forces and witnessing several skirmishes and battles along its path.

Over time, as the region developed and modern transportation infrastructure emerged, the Olentangy-Scioto Trail gradually lost its prominence. However, its historical significance remains deeply rooted in the collective memory of the area. Today, the trail serves as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage and the important role it played in shaping the history of central Ohio.

While On The Trail

Access Points

Info not available.

Transportation Available

1. COTA Bus – Public bus service covering various routes in Columbus.
2. Lime – Electric scooter and bike-sharing service.
3. Uber – Ride-hailing service providing convenient transportation options.
4. Lyft – Another popular ride-hailing service for quick and reliable rides.
5. CoGo Bike Share – Bike-sharing program with stations located throughout the city.
6. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service available for transportation needs.
7. Zipcar – Car-sharing service offering hourly or daily rentals.
8. Bird – Electric scooter rental service for short-distance travel.
9. LimePod – Car-sharing service providing compact electric vehicles for rent.
10. Car2Go – Car-sharing service offering flexible rentals by the minute or hour.


The Olentangy-Scioto Trail offers several amenities for visitors. Some of the amenities available at the trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: The trail provides parking areas or lots at different access points, allowing visitors to park their vehicles before starting their journey.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not directly available on the trail, there are nearby campgrounds where visitors can stay overnight. Examples include Alum Creek State Park and Delaware State Park.

4. Picnic Areas: The trail features designated picnic areas where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas often have picnic tables and benches.

5. Water Fountains: There are water fountains along the trail, providing a source of drinking water for visitors.

6. Bike Repair Stations: The trail offers bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps, allowing cyclists to fix minor issues with their bikes.

7. Bike Rental: Some sections of the trail have bike rental services nearby, enabling visitors to rent bicycles if they don’t have their own.

8. Trail Maps: Information boards or kiosks are available at various points along the trail, providing visitors with trail maps and other relevant information.

9. Benches: The trail has benches placed at regular intervals, providing resting spots for visitors to take a break and enjoy the surroundings.

10. Trash Receptacles: There are trash receptacles along the trail, encouraging visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

Please note that amenities may vary at different sections or access points of the Olentangy-Scioto Trail. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management for specific amenities available at your desired location.

Nearby Services

1. Hilton Columbus/Polaris – Upscale hotel offering comfortable accommodations near the Olentangy-Scioto Trail.
2. Courtyard by Marriott Columbus Worthington – Modern hotel with convenient access to the trail and nearby amenities.
3. Hampton Inn & Suites Columbus/University Area – Affordable lodging option close to the Olentangy-Scioto Trail and Ohio State University.
4. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Columbus – Polaris Parkway – Convenient hotel with complimentary breakfast and easy trail access.
5. Hyatt Place Columbus/Worthington – Stylish hotel offering spacious rooms and a fitness center near the trail.
6. Whole Foods Market – Grocery store providing a variety of food options for trail-goers.
7. Northstar Café – Local eatery serving healthy and delicious meals near the Olentangy-Scioto Trail.
8. Piada Italian Street Food – Quick-service restaurant offering Italian-inspired dishes for a satisfying meal.
9. Graeter’s Ice Cream – Popular ice cream shop with a range of flavors to cool off after a trail adventure.
10. OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital – Nearby hospital providing emergency medical services if needed during your time on the trail.

Olentangy-Scioto Trail Difficulty Notes

The Olentangy-Scioto Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and bikers. The trail spans approximately 13 miles and features a mix of paved and unpaved sections, making it suitable for various skill levels. The terrain is generally flat with some gentle inclines and declines, providing a relatively easy and enjoyable experience for most outdoor enthusiasts. However, occasional sections with loose gravel or uneven surfaces may require extra caution. Overall, the Olentangy-Scioto Trail offers a pleasant and accessible outdoor adventure for individuals seeking a moderate level of challenge.

Features And Attractions

1. Scioto Mile: This is a scenic parkland along the Scioto River, offering beautiful views of the downtown Columbus skyline. It features walking paths, fountains, gardens, and an outdoor amphitheater.

2. Goodale Park: Located in the Victorian Village neighborhood, this historic park is known for its beautiful landscapes, ponds, and tree-lined paths. It also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year.

3. Ohio Stadium: Also known as “The Horseshoe,” this iconic football stadium is home to the Ohio State Buckeyes. It is a historic landmark and offers a great view of the field and the surrounding campus.

4. The Ohio State University: As you travel along the trail, you’ll pass through the campus of The Ohio State University. This prestigious institution is known for its beautiful architecture, including the Thompson Library, Mirror Lake, and the Oval.

5. Whetstone Park of Roses: This park is home to one of the largest public rose gardens in the United States. It features over 13,000 roses, walking paths, and a beautiful gazebo.

6. Olentangy Parklands: This section of the trail offers scenic views of the Olentangy River and its surrounding parklands. It is a great spot for birdwatching, picnicking, and enjoying nature.

7. Antrim Park: Located near the trail, Antrim Park offers a picturesque lake, walking trails, and a disc golf course. It is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and enjoying outdoor activities.

8. Griggs Reservoir Park: This park is situated along the Scioto River and offers stunning views of the water. It features walking trails, picnic areas, and a boat ramp for kayaking and canoeing.

9. Hayden Falls Park: This natural landmark is a hidden gem along the trail. Hayden Falls is a 35-foot waterfall surrounded by lush greenery, making it a perfect spot for photography and relaxation.

10. Dublin Arts Council: Located near the trail in Dublin, Ohio, the Dublin Arts Council hosts various art exhibitions and events throughout the year. It is a great place to explore and appreciate local art.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can experience along the Olentangy-Scioto Trail.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles and pedestrians should yield to horses.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Camping and open fires are prohibited.
– Hunting and fishing are not permitted.
– Use caution and be aware of seasonal restrictions, such as closures during winter months or flood conditions.
– Stay on designated trails and do not trespass onto private property.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
– Dispose of trash in designated receptacles or carry it out with you.
– Alcohol and drug use are strictly prohibited.
– Be considerate of other trail users and maintain a safe and respectful environment.

Seasonal Information

The Olentangy-Scioto Trail, located in central Ohio, offers a picturesque and serene escape for outdoor enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit this trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. Spring and fall are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and vibrant foliage. During these seasons, the trail is adorned with colorful flowers and trees, creating a stunning backdrop for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll.

Summer is another great time to visit the Olentangy-Scioto Trail, especially for those who enjoy water activities. The trail runs alongside the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers, providing opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The warm weather also makes it ideal for picnicking or having a family outing in one of the many parks along the trail.

It’s important to note that the Olentangy-Scioto Trail does not have any seasonal closures. It is open year-round, allowing visitors to enjoy its beauty in all seasons. However, it’s worth considering that winter can bring cold temperatures and occasional snowfall, which may limit certain activities. Nevertheless, the trail remains accessible for those who enjoy winter hiking or cross-country skiing.

Overall, the Olentangy-Scioto Trail offers a delightful experience throughout the year. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring and fall, the water activities of summer, or the peacefulness of a winter walk, this trail has something to offer for everyone. So, pack your gear and embark on an adventure to explore the natural beauty of the Olentangy-Scioto Trail at your preferred time of the year.


1. Paved Surface: The Olentangy-Scioto Trail features a smooth, paved surface, ensuring easy wheelchair access and mobility for individuals with disabilities.
2. Wide Pathways: The trail offers wide pathways, allowing ample space for wheelchair users to navigate comfortably alongside other trail users.
3. Accessible Entrances: The trail provides accessible entrances with ramps or curb cuts, ensuring easy entry and exit for individuals using wheelchairs.
4. Rest Areas: Along the trail, there are designated rest areas equipped with benches or seating, providing opportunities for wheelchair users to take breaks or enjoy the surroundings.
5. Accessible Parking: The trail offers accessible parking spaces near its entrances, allowing individuals with disabilities to conveniently access the trail.
6. Signage: The trail features clear and visible signage, including accessible trail maps and directional signs, aiding individuals with disabilities in navigating the trail.
7. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available at certain points along the trail, providing wheelchair-accessible facilities for trail users.
8. Handrails: Where necessary, the trail incorporates handrails, ensuring additional support and stability for individuals with mobility impairments.
9. Slope and Grade: The trail maintains gentle slopes and grades, minimizing barriers for wheelchair users and ensuring a smooth and comfortable journey.
10. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available at various points along the trail, allowing individuals to stay hydrated during their visit.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any closures or maintenance updates before heading out to ensure a safe and smooth experience.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress accordingly.
3. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by following proper etiquette, such as yielding to pedestrians and using appropriate signals.
4. Stay Alert: Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of other trail users, wildlife, and potential hazards.
5. Use Lights at Night: If using the trail after dark, use proper lighting to enhance visibility and ensure safety.
6. Share the Trail: Be mindful of other users, including cyclists, runners, walkers, and families, and share the trail responsibly.
7. Stay Hydrated: Carry enough water to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather or longer distances.
8. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
9. Carry Identification: Have your identification and emergency contact information with you in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
10. Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the trail’s emergency contact information and carry a cell phone for emergencies.
11. Buddy System: Consider using the trail with a friend or in groups for added safety and security.
12. Trail Maps: Carry a trail map or use a GPS device to stay on the designated trail and avoid getting lost.
13. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications.
14. Secure Valuables: Keep your personal belongings secure and out of sight to prevent theft.
15. Stay on Designated Paths: Avoid venturing off the trail into restricted areas to ensure your safety and preserve the natural environment.

Conservation Notes

The Olentangy-Scioto Trail is a significant natural resource in central Ohio, known for its ecological diversity and recreational opportunities. As a conservation area, the trail plays a crucial role in preserving and protecting the region’s natural habitats and wildlife. The conservation status of the Olentangy-Scioto Trail is considered to be in good condition, thanks to ongoing efforts to maintain and restore its ecological integrity.

The trail traverses through various ecosystems, including wetlands, forests, and meadows, providing a habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. These habitats support a diverse array of wildlife, including migratory birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The conservation efforts focus on preserving these habitats and ensuring the sustainability of the trail’s ecosystems.

Conservation initiatives for the Olentangy-Scioto Trail involve regular monitoring of the flora and fauna, as well as implementing measures to control invasive species and protect sensitive areas. Restoration projects are also undertaken to enhance the natural habitats along the trail. These efforts aim to maintain the ecological balance and biodiversity of the area, ensuring the long-term conservation of the Olentangy-Scioto Trail for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

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