Best Places to Run & Explore the Great Outdoors in Central Ohio

Hidden Gems

Teresa Gellenbeck is a business teacher, fitness blogger and photographer residing in northwest Columbus with her husband and two children. She enjoys running, yoga, hiking, traveling and exploring the Columbus fitness scene! 

We’ve toured a lot of running paths and parks around Columbus over the years. Check out some of our favorite places to explore all the spectacular outdoor options that Columbus has to offer!

1. The Olentangy Trail 
Good for: Running, walking, biking
Overview: This is the main trail in central Ohio, starting in Worthington and connecting all the way south through The Ohio State University campus, continuing to Confluence Park. When training for a marathon, you can easily get in a full 20+ miler, no problem! There are so many trailheads, parks and scenic points along this route to explore but here are some of our personal favorites ...
  • The most northern trailhead is near Hills Market, called Worthington Hills Park. Many locals get some extra hillwork by heading up the “big hill” in the Worthington Hills neighborhood.
  • Further south, there is a trail entry off 161 in Worthington. On summer Saturdays, enjoy the Worthington Farmer’s Market and Yoga on the Green, compliments of Native Juice!
  • Antrim Park is perhaps one of the more popular trailheads with ample parking and a large pond which allows fishing. 
2. Columbus Commons – Schiller Park, German Village
Good for: Running, walking, fishing, green space for yoga and more
Overview: Enjoy a scenic 5K run or walk from Columbus Commons to Schiller Park and back! We do this three-mile run before Yoga at the Commons and other Commons fitness events in the summer. Schiller Park is one of the oldest in Columbus and has gorgeous gardens, architecture and a fishing pond. Before or after, grab a coffee or treat at one of two nearby Winans – Commons and German Village – or Jeni’s Ice Cream ... both native to Ohio (and extra delicious)! Want a longer route? Head west until you hit the Scioto River and connect to the Scioto Trail!

3. Scioto Trail, Downtown Columbus 
Good for: Running, walking, biking, green space for yoga and more 
Overview: This is one of the best spots in all of Columbus if you’re lucky enough to catch a golden sunset on your run (or walk or yoga session or whatever you may be doing)! You’ll catch beautiful views of the city and several nearby parks with a variety of land/hardscapes including Bicentennial Park, Genoa Park, Scioto Audubon Metro Park and the popular Scioto Mile. In late-winter or early-spring, Living Fit Columbus usually joins with nearby Land Grant Brewery for a kick-off run event in conjunction with The Capital City Half Marathon!

4. Highbanks Metro Park 
Good for: Running, walking, hiking, biking, cross country skiing, fishing and canoeing
Overview: We love the hills here ... but we also hate the hills here! Whether you are on a training run or just a casual stroll, the inclines at Highbanks will give you a “run” for your money. It is especially beautiful in the fall, typically mid-October, and offers a wide variety of paths to meet all nature lovers' needs, from hikers to walkers to trail runners.

5. Village Green Park, Powell 
Good for: Running, walking, green space for yoga, HIIT and more 
Overview: Take a short loop around the bike path, drop some burpees on the green space or check out a FIT4MOM Columbus North Class, then cool down in the kid-friendly splash pad! Although we’ve met mostly at this location, Powell has eight award-winning parks with trails to connect them all. Not done exploring? Head north to Liberty Park then visit the nearby Olentangy Indian Caverns!