Hiking is one of those benefits in life that is simultaneously an adventurous activity, good for physical fitness, and costs nothing to do. Not only can you catch glimpses of wildlife in its natural habitat, discover interesting things, and see interesting sights, hiking also burns calories. A 180-pound person hiking cross-country, or on flat ground, can burn over 500 calories in an hour; hiking hilly or mountainous terrain can burn over 700.
Hiking in Ohio affords the outdoor enthusiast the opportunity to see native wildlife, which includes white tail deer, the red horned owl, red tail and cooper hawks, painted and snapping turtles, coyotes, and a variety of song birds, pheasant, and quail. In addition to the wildlife, Ohio also offers beautiful landscape that changes with each season.
Some of the prime spots for hiking in Ohio include the Little Miami River Loop and Spur Trail, which is located along the Little Miami River and Clifton Gorge in Yellow Springs, the 17 Mile Trail near Toledo, and the Grandma Gatewood Trail between Old Man's Cave and Ash Cave in Logan. In fact, Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills is one of the best outdoor getaways in Ohio, not just because of the hiking and exploration opportunities, but because of the scenery, landscape, and nearby outdoor attractions.
For those who prefer a more urban setting and an easy hike, Quail Hollow State Park in Stark County boasts several miles of hiking trails, one of which is paved, and Kiser Lake State Park has five miles of easy trails that wind through woodlands and wetlands in Champaign County. Most of Ohio's state parks offer maps that rate trails based on difficulty, so be sure to stop at the information center of your destination to pick one up.
Before heading out for a day of hiking in Ohio, inexperienced hikers should remember to pack a light bag. Take plenty of bottled water or fill sports bottles with water for everyone and take along a basic first aid kit. If hiking with children, make sure to remind them to wear comfortable shoes. For rougher trails through woodlands, wear long pants to protect the legs from dangerous plants and insects. Poison oak, ivy, and sumac all grow wild in Ohio so be sure to know how to identify these pesky plants. It is also important to teach children to leave wildlife undisturbed and not to approach animals.
Hiking is not only enjoyable, it is a healthy activity that gets muscles moving, burns calories, and steadily increases the heart rate. Hiking in Ohio provides friends, couples, and families a peaceful and fun time while enjoying the best nature has to offer. Many state parks even permit leashed dogs to tag along for the fun. Additional information about hiking in Ohio can be obtained from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.