Walnut Woods is the newest Columbus area Metro Park. This 1,032 acre park is located southeast of Columbus near Groveport.
We visited the Metro Park in March and again at the end of summer. The park is divided into three sections. The middle section is currently unimproved, with no trails. It has several lakes and ponds and a segment of Big Run Creek. It will eventually have a trail and areas for bird watching. The other two sections – the Tall Pines Area and the Buckeye Area have facilities and trails, with the Buckeye Area just opened in the spring of this year.
Much of the park was originally a tree farm – hence many of the trees are grouped together by type and lined up in rows. It seems a little odd, but it’s a pleasant place for a family stroll or bike ride.
The Tall Pines area has a gravel parking lot with an informational kiosk and a port-a-john. There is a figure-eight-shaped, paved multi-use trail that totals 2.6 miles. The trail named the Sweetgum Trail traverses fields and wooded areas. The entire trail is paved and marked for pedestrians and bicyclists with the exception of a short gravel segment .
Most of the trail passes through groves of deciduous trees, pines and some meadows. The multi-use paths wind through the park across relatively flat terrain with a few small hills. Inline skaters may wish to avoid the gravel segment that occurs just prior to entering the pine area on the north side of the second loop.
On the way out, we met and spoke to one of the rangers. He said that the metro parks allow "off-trail" hiking in most areas (except where explicitly prohibited with signs). There are two mown paths through the forest (see map) – where visitors might want to leave the multi-use, paved trail to see birds and other wildlife.
In spring the range said that there were numerous flowering trees, as well as wildflowers. He also said that the park looked beautiful in the fall when the leaves started changing color.
The recently opened Buckeye Area features a paved parking lot, picnic shelter, a children’s playground, a 4 acre dog park, and restrooms. It features the 2-mile Buckeye Trail (not to be confused with the ‘blue-blazed’ Buckeye Trail) which is also roughly a figure eight. It passes through meadows, forest, and even runs along Walnut Creek for a while.
Overall, Walnut Woods is a nice addition to the Metro Park system and a place where local residents can enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. The meadows and central area (when complete) should be of interest to bird watchers.
Here are some of the wildflowers that were growing near the multi-use path in late August.
- TrekOhio: Franklin County Parks & Nature Preserves — This is the county where Walnut Woods is located; check out this page for links to the official website and for information on nearby parks and preserves.
- Tall Pines Area
- Address: 6833 Richardson Road, Groveport OH 43125
- GPS: 39.838859,-82.870231
- Directions: From I-270, take US 33 east toward Lancaster. Go about 1.3 miles then turn right on Hamilton Road/SR 317. Go about 2.7 miles and turn left onto Main Street/Groveport Road. Go 1.4 miles to Richardson Road and turn right. The entrance to the Tall Pines Area is about 1.1 miles on your right.
- Buckeye Area
- Address: 6716 Lithopolis Road, Groveport Ohio 43125
- GPS: 39.842616,-82.853236
- Directions: From I-270, take US 33 east toward Lancaster. Go about 1.3 miles then turn right on Hamilton Road/SR 317. Go about 2.7 miles and turn left onto Main Street/Groveport Road. Go 1.75 miles to Lithopolis Road and turn right. The entrance to the Buckeye Area is about 0.75 miles on your left.