Office of Student Life

Recreational Sports

Outdoor DIY

Get Outside for the Health of it.

Significant research* exists showing that a walk in the woods, a stroll on a path, or a weekend by the lake has profound impacts on our health. Recreational Sports wants to help you engage your environmental wellness by providing DIY Outdoors to help you plan and implement an adventure close to campus. See below for a range of opportunities to get outside and don’t forget to visit the OAC for tips or gear via our equipment rental program.

*Here are a few articles to help you understand the health benefits of time in nature:

Find your new favorite trail with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources new app!

The Outdoor Adventure Center shares tips and resources about creating your own outdoor adventure in Central Ohio.

Olentangy Trail

The Olentangy Trail is a paved two-way trail that runs along the Olentangy river and can be accessed right from campus by the bridges on lane and woodruff. It's great for walking running and biking and offers access to numerous other parks and recreational areas along the way. It runs seamlessly from Worthington to the arena district and easily connects to other well-known trails at its southern tip such as the Scioto and camp chase trails. Due to its accessibility, the Olentangy trail can get quite busy during the day so try to visit during off hours such as early morning or close to sunset and be sure to practice proper social distancing while on the trail.


TOP 10 Places

Walhalla Ravine

Walhalla Ravine, less than 2 miles from campus and is one of my favorite places to run close to campus. You can run two miles north on High Street from campus to get there, or you can take the Olentangy Trail to Sunset Cove Dr. to Neil Avenue, then cross High Street to get onto Walhalla Road. The road is beautiful and has many trees and spring flowers, and even follows a small creek. The road is in the backyard of a lot of private homes, so remember to be respectful of the residents’ yards. The road tends to get busy with many people walking, so just remember to maintain social distancing, and don’t come with a group!


Whetstone Park of Roses

The Whetstone park of roses is a sight for sore eyes. Located in Clintonville and only an 8-minute drive from campus, it sits on 13 acres of land filled with different roses and gardens. In total, it features eleven thousand roses with more than three hundred and fifty different types. In addition to the roses, the park also has four different gardens, each with their own unique plant life, they include: the main rose garden, the heritage garden, the earth-kind rose garden, the herb garden, and the perennial garden. What makes the park even better is that it completely free, make a visit to get the chance to see one of the largest public rose gardens in the U.S.

High Banks

Highbanks metro park located about 20 minutes north of Columbus offers some beautiful wooded trails and pockets of green space spread throughout 1200 acres of park. While most of the trails are under three miles, they can all be easily connected, and many are ADA accessible. Highbanks is also known for its eagle population and nests can often be viewed from the trails. With its small network of trails, the park can get quite crowded during the day so be sure to come during off peak hours and try to check out less popular or more remote areas of the property!


Battelle Darby Creek

Battelle Darby Creek metro park, located about 30 minutes south west of campus and encompasses a whopping 7100 acres of forest, prairies and wetlands. One major attraction of this park is its bison pasture which is easily viewed from observation decks on the Darby creek greenway trail. Outside of that, Darby creek offers an exciting network of hilly trails for bikers, hikers, and trail runners alike and seems to be a little less busy than parks closer to campus. Battelle Darby creek also offers easy access to the camp chase trail which runs from Grandview heights to South Charleston.


Alum Creek State Park

Alum Creek State Park is a great place for mountain biking, hiking, boating, sitting on the beach of the lake, and more. It offers many miles of trails, some of my favorites being the Rocks and Roots North and South Loops, the Alum Creek State Park Mountain Bike Trail, and the Park Office and Hollenback Trail. All you need is yourself and a good pair of shoes to hit the trails and spend a nice day outdoors here. Again, try to go early in the morning or in the evening to avoid crowds and be conscious of social distancing.


Marne Road Wall

The Marne Road wall is the closest outdoor climbing area to campus. Located directly off the side of Marne Road, 45 minutes east of Columbus towards Newark, it offers a wide range of bouldering and sport climbing for all levels of experience. Be sure if you go that you have all the proper equipment for the type of climbing you are doing, and also that you have the proper knowledge to be safe when on the wall! Also respect social distancing in this time and if the crag is busy, maybe pick a different day to get outside.


Indian Run Falls

Did you know that spending time frequently near a body of water is has been shown  to encourage stress relief, greater self esteem, and productivity? Nothing is more calming than the sound of a waterfall, and though Indian Run Park is small, it boasts a running creek and waterfall. Indian Run Falls is located about 20 minutes north of Columbus in Dublin, and there are two access points. You can access it from the Post Office parking lot off Bridge Street or from the parking lot behind Sells Middle School. Especially in these stressful times, it is always great to get outside and relax near a body of water. Just be sure to maintain your distance and visit during an off time.


Blendon Woods Park

Blendon Woods park is a great place to see wildlife and be in scenic forest setting. Located in Westerville, it is a 25-minute drive from campus. The six hundred- and fifty-three-acre park contains spectacular ravines and exposed sandstone which is surrounded by oak-hickory and beech-maple forests. Another benefit of the park is the chance to see or hear a variety of songbirds and other wildlife. Hiking on the loop or walking around the 11-acre Thoreau lake, the park is a great location for running, walking, or some much-needed outdoor time.


Central Ohio Greenways Trail

The central Ohio greenways make up around 230 miles of trail that weaves all throughout central Ohio. This network of paved trails allows gives anyone who wants to the opportunity to explore their local community. There's a great interactive map on the central Ohio greenways website that allows you to map you to view all the available trails, look at future trails, and map any route imaginable using primarily the greenways. Trails closer to the city center get heavy use but the crowds thin out as you venture into the more suburban and rural stretches of trail available.


Here are some ideas to make your own DIY climbing adventure!





Marne Road Wall

Newark, OH

Sport, Bouldering


Scioto Audobon Metropark

Columbus, OH

Bouldering, TR, Sport

Largest outdoor artificial wall.

Mad River Gorge


Sport, Trad, Bouldering

No camping, but John Bryant State Park and Buck Creek State Park offer great options!

Salt Fork State Park

Lore City, OH; 90 min East of Columbus

Bouldering, V0-V10


Whipp's Ledges

Hinkley, OH; 35 min South of Cleveland

Top Rope, Bouldering

Require long webbing and static lines to set up. Possibility of finding caves.

Beach City Nature Preserve

Dundee, OH

Top Rope, Bouldering



Lisbon, OH

Trad, Sport, TR


Mill Creek Metro Park

Youngstown, OH



Sawyer Quarry

Perrysburg, OH

Bouldering, Rappeling


Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills, OH

TR, Bouldering, Rappeling


John Bryan State Park

Yellow Springs, OH

TR only


Athens Bouldering

Athens, OH