Hike the Overlook-Dripping Rock Loop

Highbanks Metro Park, Lewis Center, Ohio, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Running, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    4.8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    100 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area

Named for the high bluffs overlooking the Olentangy River below, Highbanks Metro Park is the premier hiking spot in Central Ohio, with a variety of terrain and landscapes to please outdoor lovers of all types, and none more than the Dripping Rock and Overlook Trails. 

Starting at the nature center near the entrance of the park, the 2.5 mile long Dripping Rock Trail heads off in two directions, to the south and to the west. Either way will take you back to the nature center at the end of the day. Going west takes you past an observation deck and then along a deep ravine before it swings south, while the southern approach crosses the road and after 0.3 of a mile brings you to the junction with the Overlook Trail, a 2.3 mile trail that I normally hike in conjunction with the Dripping Rock Trail, and creates a solid near-5 mile hike over rolling, scenic terrain. The Overlook Trails' claim to fame is obvious: It leads to the observation deck that overlooks the Olentangy River Valley, and to the Bald Eagle's nest that it contains.

Both trails also feature remnant Adena Indian structures. A well-preserved burial mound is a spur trail off of the Dripping Rock Trail, and the Overlook Trail passes through a surviving section of earthen embankments believed to have been used as a defensive position.

As a bonus, both trails at Highbanks are well-maintained gravel and grass paths, which makes the park a favorite of local trail runners.

Overall, Highbanks is the crown jewel of the Columbus Metro Parks, and the Dripping Rock/Overlook Trail Loop is the cream of the crop.

More information can be found about the current status of the park and events going on there at the following website: http://www.metroparks.net/park...

Pack List

  • Hiking or Running Shoes
  • Water Bottle
  • Daypack
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Overall rating: 

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Great hike. Amazing nature. Every time I hole it I'm drawn to the past eras.

7 months ago
7 months ago

Dan Barr

A Buckeye with a backpack and a bad case of wanderlust

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