The Most Difficult Hiking Trails in Ohio

Are you looking for some of the most difficult hiking trails in Ohio? If so, then you should definitely check out these trails. They offer something for everyone, from beginners to experts.

Ohio is home to hundreds of miles of trails. From urban parks to remote wilderness areas, they provide hikers with endless opportunities to explore nature.

Whether you want to hike through the woods or along the shoreline, there are plenty of options for those who love outdoor activities. The state has over 300 miles of paved bike paths, too.

Most Difficult Hiking Trails in Ohio for All Experience Levels

Difficult Hiking Trails in Ohio

If you are looking for something more challenging than hiking with friends or family, then consider these hikes. They range from easy to moderate difficulty and include some of the best views in the state.

Easy Hiking in Ohio

Conkles Hollow Gorge Trail—Rockbridge, Ohio

Hiking through the Conkles Hollow Gorge provides hikers with some amazing views while also giving them the chance to explore some great trails located all around the area. There are many different paths you can choose to take, so be sure to keep track of where you’re going by checking out the detailed trail map on this page. This gorge also contains a small waterfall that’s fun to watch as it cascades down the cliff side. It’s an excellent day trip if you live close by or if you enjoy exploring nature with your dog. With its many scenic hiking spots, Conkles Hollow is ideal for families and groups of friends.

Buckeye Trail

This trail begins at Buckeye Lake State Park and stretches across the southern half of the state. It offers more than 300 miles of hiking paths, making it one of the longest trails in Ohio. Hikers will discover numerous waterfalls, lakes, rivers, state forests, and even Civil War sites. You’ll find the trailhead near the end of the park road, by the Buckeye Trail parking lot.

The trail passes through several towns, including Lodi, Medina, Findlay, Mansfield, and Marion, before ending at New Harmony in West Virginia. And although most parts of the route are flat ground, there are sections that require some climbing up steep hills. Be prepared to sweat to reach the top because it will not be easy.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Plateau Trail

This trail covers about 22 miles of rugged terrain in the Cuyahoga Valley. This national park was created after the Cuyahoga River burned in 1952. Since then, the land remained untouched until 1996, when the federal government purchased it to create the park. The park now serves as a refuge for animals like black bears and wolves, as well as plants such as trout lilies, wildflowers, and rare trees. Its lush landscape features deep valleys, towering cliffs, rocky ridges, rolling hills, and beautiful meadows. The Plateau Trail winds through many of these areas.

Nelson’s Ledges Trail – Garretsville, Ohio

Located just outside of Columbus, Nelson’s Ledges Trail leads hikers into the northern part of the city. When people think of urban settings, they often associate them only with large cities, but there are plenty of peaceful areas hidden away right in the heart of big cities. One example would be the Garretsville section of Columbus. This particular area of the city was chosen to be the site of the new home of the NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, in 1999. As a result, there have been a number of renovations done to make the community more attractive to residents and visitors alike.

There are many other parks throughout the greater Columbus area, so be sure to check them out!

Paddy Road Nature Preserve—New Middletown, Ohio

Paddy Road Nature Preserve is a beautiful park located in southern Ohio. In addition to offering some of the most gorgeous scenery in the state, this preserve also offers visitors the opportunity to see wildlife like white-tailed deer, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, and foxes. You’ll find a variety of hiking trails at this park that are perfect for walking, running, biking, horseback riding, inline skating, and even sledding and snowmobiling during the winter months.

Mt. Pisgah State Park—Cincinnati, Ohio

Mt. Pisagah State Park is a beautiful mountain park that features several trails for hiking. Some of the most popular ones include the Ridge Trail, which takes you high above the trees to get spectacular views; the Lower Ridge Trail, which connects the Ridge Trail to the Mount Pisagah Lodge; and the Westside Trail, which leads to a beautiful overlook called the “Cincinnati Skywalk.” These three trails make up the main loop for the park. However, the park also includes a number of smaller trails you may not know about.

Lake Metroparks North End—Cleveland, Ohio

This section of Lake Metroparks is one of the largest lakefront parks in the country. It offers two distinct parts: The North End and the South End. Each offers its own unique beauty and activities for visitors. Many people come here just for the views, but others visit because of the various recreational amenities offered. One of the highlights of the park is the John Kretschmann Memorial Bridge, which spans the Cuyahoga River and offers a breathtaking view of the city skyline.

Rocky Knob Recreation Area—Pomeroy, Ohio

This recreation area is part of Lake Metroparks and consists of 15 miles of multi-use trails that provide access to waterfalls, natural areas full of wildflowers and trees, lakeside beaches, and much more. Although this recreation area covers only 2 square miles, there are enough places to hike, bike, paddle, run, swim, and fish to fill days filled with outdoor activities. The area also has picnic tables, pavilions, restrooms, playground equipment, and more.

Difficult Hiking Trails in Ohio

Old Man’s Cave-Logan, Ohio

Old Man’s Cave can be found near downtown Logan, Ohio. This cave is one of the longest in the world, providing over a mile of stunning limestone caverns. The cave has a number of different paths that lead through its impressive formations. Visitors can explore the cave by hiking along the various pathways or climbing down into the rocky chasms. If you don’t feel like going underground, you can still enjoy Old Man’s Cave from the surface. There are many scenic viewpoints throughout the park where you can take in the magnificent landscape. For example, the “Big Hole” viewpoint allows visitors to have an unobstructed view of the entire cave system.

Falls Glen State Park—Findlay, Ohio

Falls Glen State Park is a gorgeous nature preserve located on the banks of the Maumee River in southwest Ohio. The park has numerous trail loops as well as the Maumee River Gorge Overlook, which provides stunning views of both the river and surrounding cliffs. Another highlight of the park is the falls itself, which cascades down a 400-foot cliff face before emptying out into the Maumee River below. Falls Glen State Park offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, canoeing, swimming, and kayaking.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Ledges Trail

This trail winds through the majestic forests at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, offering stunning views of the valley floor below. The trail begins at the end of an old railroad line and continues for nearly 12 miles to the base of Mount Bogart. Along the way, hikers will pass several small ponds and streams, as well as several observation decks and lookout points. The Ledges Trail is great for all skill levels, so beginners should not fear it!

Pinnacle Rock State Nature Preserve-Salem, Ohio

Pinnacle Rock State Nature Preserve is a great spot for hikers who want to experience the outdoors while visiting northwest Ohio. The park features 40 acres of forested land, as well as some steep cliffs and rugged hillsides. You’ll find plenty of wildlife inhabiting the park as well. Pinnacle Rocks is home to many different types of birds, including owls, eagles, hawks, and even bald eagles. In addition to being beautiful, this park offers several challenging hikes, perfect for those looking to test themselves. Some popular routes include the Big Hill Trail, Little Falls Loop Trail, and the Eagle Ridge Trail.

Lanterman’s Mill Trail – Youngstown, Ohio

The Lanterman’s mill was once one of the biggest employers in Youngstown. Today, though, most traces of the building have been destroyed, and nothing remains but stone foundations. However, the site does offer a unique glimpse into the history of the city. There are remnants of the old mill, such as the foundation walls and parts of the dam that were constructed during the Civil War. The trail also follows the course of the creek that ran under the mill when it was operational.

Raccoon Creek State Game Area—Cleveland, Ohio

Located just north of Cleveland, the Raccoon Creek State Game Area is a great destination for families looking for an outdoor adventure. Offering more than 35 miles of trails, there are plenty of options for hikers of all ages and abilities. From easy strolls to challenging treks, the area has something for everyone. Hikers can expect to see lots of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, raccoons, foxes, and muskrats.

Erie Canal–Cleveland, Ohio

If you’re looking for a hike with amazing panoramic views, then look no further than the Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor. This 1,800-mile-long trail runs along the Ohio River and connects cities like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Toledo. It’s mostly flat terrain, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels. The trail is open year-round and includes over 70 parks and historic sites.

Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad-Cleveland, Ohio

The Cuyahoga Scenic Railway runs from downtown Cleveland to Akron and provides visitors with the chance to take a ride on a vintage train. Passengers are able to enjoy scenic views of the countryside as they travel past farms and towns. If you are interested in taking the trip, tickets can be purchased online or by phone.

Jacobs Ladder and Christmas Rocks Trail–Christmas Rocks Nature Park

This trail takes you through wetlands and woodlands alongside the Lake Erie shoreline. Once you reach the end of the trail, you will find yourself at Christmas Rocks, where you can climb up rocks and search for fossils and other natural treasures. At the top is a lookout point offering amazing views of the lake and surrounding areas.

Arches Fork Trail – Athens, Ohio

One of the best places to go hiking near Athens is Arches Fork State Park. Located off I-75, the park features 20 miles of trails that wind through lush forests and across waterfalls. Over 5,000 feet of elevation gain makes this park ideal for hikers of all levels. Hiking here offers a variety of challenges and rewards. One example would be “The Gauntlet,” which starts as a moderate trail that leads to a steep climb. A few minutes later, it becomes even steeper before leveling off again. Another option is the Devil’s Backbone Trail, rated as one of the toughest hikes in America. Visitors should always wear proper footwear and clothing while hiking. Bring a map and a compass if you plan on exploring the backcountry.

Mohican State Park’s Hemlock Gorge Loop

Mohican State Park is located about 40 minutes southeast of Columbus. This state park is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Ohio. To get the most out of your visit, consider visiting Hemlock Gorge Loop, which lies within the park. This loop trail meanders through both deciduous and hardwood forest and ends at a waterfall called “The Falls”. Along the way, hikers have opportunities to view birds such as wild turkeys, blue jays, and golden eagles. For those who want to challenge themselves, the loop also features rocky paths and cliffs. Make sure to bring good shoes and sturdy walking sticks. Also note that dogs are not allowed in the park.

Hiking Essentials

Hiking Essentials

Breathable Hiking Clothes

For those who enjoy an active lifestyle, the right clothing can make all the difference between a comfortable hike and one full of aches and pains. To keep yourself warm during your next outdoor adventure, consider wearing a lightweight fleece base layer under your clothes. Then add a midweight thermal T-shirt and windproof trousers for extra warmth. You may also want to wear a hat and gloves, depending on the weather conditions. When packing for your next trek, remember to bring along plenty of water and snacks, too.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles (also known as walking sticks) offer many benefits for hikers. They help prevent knee injuries and improve balance and stability when climbing hills. In addition, they provide support for the upper body and give people more control over their movements. While using trekking poles is optional, there are several reasons why you might want to invest in them. First, trekking poles allow you to carry heavier loads than with just two hands. Second, they help reduce muscle fatigue by keeping your legs and arms from becoming tired after extended periods of time spent standing or walking. Third, trekking poles increase your stamina because they require less energy to walk uphill. Finally, trekking poles can protect against injury when crossing uneven terrain or traversing slippery surfaces.

Backpacking Stove

A backpacking stove is a small portable cooking device designed specifically for backpackers. It allows users to prepare food without having to build a fire. Instead, the user simply lights a fuel source, such as alcohol gel tabs, propane or butane cartridges, and then cooks meals with a pot placed directly over the flame. Because backpacking stoves do not need to be built up like traditional campfire stoves, they are often much lighter and easier to use. Backpackers can easily pack these devices in their backpacks and use them anywhere they go.


A headlamp is a light source worn on the head. Headlamps come in various sizes, shapes, and brightness levels. Some models feature adjustable settings so users can adjust the amount of light emitted. Others have integrated flashlights to aid visibility during low-light situations. Headlamps are especially useful when traveling at night. They allow travelers to navigate dark areas safely and quickly. If you plan to travel at night, consider bringing a headlamp.

A Water Purification System

When camping outdoors, it’s important to stay hydrated. However, drinking plain tap water can lead to stomach upset and other health problems. The best way to avoid this problem is to treat water before consuming it. A simple home water filtration system will remove harmful bacteria and contaminants from tap water. This ensures that you get clean, safe drinking water while camping out.

Emergency Blankets

An emergency blanket is a thin, rectangular piece of fabric that can be used to create a makeshift shelter. These blankets are made of lightweight material that can be folded into a compact package. Emergency blankets can be thrown over objects like trees, rocks, or vehicles to shield them from the elements. If you’re caught out in the wilderness and find yourself needing to construct a shelter, emergency blankets will help ensure that you survive until rescue arrives.

Sleeping Bag

A sleeping bag keeps you warm throughout the winter months. Sleeping bags come in different weights and temperatures depending on what type of weather conditions you’ll encounter. For example, if you’re planning on spending most of your trip in cold climates, you may want to bring a heavy-weight sleeping bag. On the other hand, if you’re only going to spend part of your trip in colder climates, you may want a lighter-weight sleeping bag. Regardless of which sleeping bag you choose, make sure it fits properly. Sizing matters!


A tent provides protection from the elements and helps keep you comfortable. Tents come in many different styles and sizes. Depending on how large your group is, you may decide to bring one or multiple tents. When choosing a tent, look for features like mesh windows, removable floors, ventilation systems, and bug nets. These options allow you to customize your tent to suit your needs.

Toiletries Kit

If you’re heading off on an extended hike, you’ll likely be using bathroom facilities along the trail. Toilet kits contain everything you need to take care of business. These kits usually include toilet paper, soap, towels, toothbrushes, razors, and deodorant. You should also include a flashlight and a first aid kit in your toiletry kit. First aid kits are very helpful as they provide basic medical supplies to use if you sustain an injury. Flashlights are useful because they allow you to see where you’re walking and identify potential hazards such as broken branches or loose rock.

Food Storage Containers

If you plan on eating food while camping, you’ll need some sort of container to store your meals. Food storage containers come in various shapes and sizes. Some containers are designed specifically for storing food. Other containers are more general purpose and can be used to store all sorts of items. Choose a container that works well with your cooking style. For example, if your food tends to stick to pans, consider purchasing nonstick cookware.

Cooking Equipment

Camping trips require you to prepare meals. Cooking equipment includes pots and pans, spoons, forks, knives, and other tools. Before leaving home, think about what types of foods you’ll be preparing. Do you prefer to grill? Or do you enjoy baking? Decide which cooking methods work best for you so you don’t have to purchase new equipment when you arrive at camp.

Fire Starter

Campfire nights are a great way to relax after a long day of hiking. Fire starters are small devices that produce flames without requiring any matches or lighters. Fire starters come in many different designs and sizes. The size of your fire starter depends on what kind of fire you intend to build. Smaller fire starters are perfect for starting smaller fires, whereas larger ones are better suited for building large fires.

Water Bottle

Bring plenty of water with you during your hiking adventure. Water bottles come in several different sizes and capacities. If you plan on hiking through mountainous areas, you may want to pack two or three full-sized water bottles. Most full-sized bottles hold enough water to last you for days. However, if you plan on traveling through flat areas, you may want a smaller bottle. Compact bottles are easier to carry and less cumbersome than their larger counterparts.

Portable Stove

Portable stoves are compact and lightweight. They’re ideal for backpackers who like to eat outdoors. Portable stoves are easy to light and operate. Some models even heat up quickly and evenly. Stove tops come in various materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, and ceramic. Look for a model that’s made of durable material that will stand up to heavy use.


Be sure to bring sunscreen with you whenever you head out into the sun. Sunburns can cause serious health problems later in life. You should apply sunscreen before you leave home. Apply it liberally and reapply frequently throughout the day.

Bug Spray

To keep insects away from your campsite, spray insect repellent around your tent and sleeping bag. Insect repellents come in aerosol cans, pump sprays, and liquid forms. Don’t rely solely on bug spray to protect yourself from bugs. Wear clothing that covers most of your skin and shoes that cover your feet.

A Brimmed Hat

It’s important to protect your eyes from the harsh rays of the sun. A brimmed hat is an essential piece of gear for anyone planning on going hiking. Brimmed hats provide protection against the sun. Many people also choose to wear sunglasses to prevent eye damage from the intense sunlight.


Sunglasses offer protection against harmful UV rays and come in all shapes and sizes. Choose a pair that fit comfortably while protecting your eyes from the sun.


Hiking requires preparation and proper gear. Pack items that will help you get where you need to go safely and comfortably. When you’re ready to hit the trail, remember these tips!

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