We’re Going Creeking! Best Parks to Get Down and Dirty

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I don’t know about you, but staying at home is getting more difficult. Summer is coming, and many pools are closed. My kiddo is getting restless, and our backyard sprinkler just isn’t getting the job done.

The next best thing? Going creeking. “Creeking” is exactly as it sounds: walking through a creek and exploring natural surroundings. It’s a great way to practice safe social distancing and cool down at the same time. So strap on some water shoes, bring a small net, and see what you can find around Columbus!

*Remember to use caution and follow all of the rules.

Get outside and go creeking!

Shale Hollow Park

Shale Hollow Park is located in Lewis Center, and is a perfect introduction to creeking. The creek is shallow enough for a toddler (my 2 ½-year-old did just fine walking through the water by himself.) The surrounding shale rock is smooth for little hands to pick up. Your child can easily walk in and out of the water, and there are plenty of opportunities to catch minnows.

Pro Tip: There are a few main areas for creeking. If this is your first time, head to the natural play area. Not only is the creek is easy to access, but the natural play area includes a bridge, teepee, and more—a perfect way to spend the morning.

creeking at Shale Hollow
Shale Hollow

(If you are game for another adventure very close to Shale Hollow, check out Olentangy Mini Golf and Batting Cages.)

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Located in Galloway, Battelle Darby Creek provides children opportunities to throw rocks, look for tadpoles, and practice their independence. The creek can be accessed through the natural play area, and you can park in the last lot of the roadway.

Pro Tip: Once the Nature Center reopens, make sure to visit! There is an indoor living stream, as well as an observation deck to watch the live bison roaming around.

Highbanks Metro Park

Highbanks, one of the most popular metro parks in Columbus, has a hidden creek off the beaten path. Head to the natural play area, walk across the open field, continue on the wooded path, and turn left. This creek is great to splash around and collect various rocks.

Pro Tip: Highbanks offers five pet-friendly hiking trails, ranging from 0.4-3.5 miles.

Scioto Grove Metro Park

Located in Grove City, Scioto Grove Metro Park has a rope bridge over the creeking spot. To access this area, park at Grove Lodge and follow the trail to “Rope Bridge” as it is marked on the map. It’s not too far of a walk to this spot.

Pro Tip: While in Grove City, head to one of these places: Visitor’s Guide to Grove City

Rope Bridge at Scioto Grove Metro ParkCreekside Gahanna

There’s lots to do in the Creekside District. In addition to wading in the water, there’s fishing, paddle boating, several restaurants (many with patios looking at the water), water features for kids to splash in (seasonal and might not be on now during the pandemic) and shopping.

Pro Tip: For more to do in the area, check out the Visitor’s Guide to Gahanna.

Indian Run Falls

Situated in Dublin, Indian Run Falls is a bit of a hidden gem that you wouldn’t see driving down the road. This provides a picturesque spot for pictures both within the wooded area and at the edge of the parking lot you’ll find an old lodge cabin. If the water is high enough you can even spot small waterfalls. (It is illegal to jump off of the waterfalls so be sure to adhere to the signs.) *As noted below, one reader commented that there are now signs saying to stay out of the water.

Pro Tip: The parking lot is pretty small so if you can’t find parking in the main area you could try parking in Old Dublin and walking to the entrance.

nature walk in Dublin
Waterfall at Indian Run Falls

Other Creeking Spots

Here are some other creeking spots we haven’t visited yet, but our readers chimed in to say they’ve been creeking there.

Which are your favorite Columbus parks to go creeking? Post them in the comments below!

Looking for more outdoor adventures? Check out these posts.

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Martha Magrum
Martha is a graduate of The Ohio State University and serves as a marketing director for an educational publishing company. A former high school ELA teacher, Martha loves to read—YA fiction, cookbooks, magazines, anything she can get her hands on! She has a two-year-old son who taught her about unlimited patience, unconditional love, and Floorios (Cheerios found on the floor, yet are somehow deemed perfectly fine to eat). Married to Lucas, Martha is in awe of her husband’s selflessness and commitment to be a true partner in all facets of their life together. Martha is great at making lists and cleaning out her inbox; she is terrible at taking breaks and baking cookies. You can find Martha and her family at COSI, Franklin Park Conservatory, or the nearest playground. Other hobbies include cooking and strategy board games.

3 COMMENTS

  1. FYI- The creek at Battelle Darby was really high when we went (6/7/2020). We saw lots of kayakers but definitely not safe for wading littles.

  2. There are now signs at Indian Falls telling us we are not allowed in the water. When we were there 6/10/20, everyone was pretty much ignoring these signs. But I’ve heard that the parks and rec department is enforcing the new rule. Total bummer.

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