Posted in Central Ohio, Hiking, Park review

Walnut Woods Metro Park

Walnut Woods is the newest Columbus area Metro Park. This 1,032 acre park is located southeast of Columbus near Groveport.

A cyclist at Walnut Woods

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.

Trailhead at the Tall Pines area of the park
This photo from March shows how the tall pines were planted in lines when the property was a tree farm.
A summer view
Not-so-tall pines
Backlit deciduous trees
Picnic tables have been placed near the trail. This one was in the Buckeye area of the park.
These relatively young trees have also been planted in rows.

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.

We stopped riding for a while, and this Hackberry Emperor butterfly landed on Bob’s bicycle water bottle; maybe it thought that the colorful bottle was a flower.

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.

Swings in the playground
Climbing structure in the playground
Restrooms on the left, dog park on the right.
The enclosed dog park
Riding through a deciduous forest in the Buckeye area of Walnut Woods.

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.

Mown paths like this one seemed like they would be good for birdwatchers.

Here are some of the wildflowers that were growing near the multi-use path in late August.

Green Coneflower
Tall Ironweed
This is evening primrose; it closes during the day.
Bindweed; it’s a relative of Morning glory.
Flowers within a flower
Additional information
  • 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, Ohio 43125
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.838859, -82.870231
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions
Buckeye Area
  • Address: 6716 Lithopolis Road, Groveport, Ohio 43125
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.842616, -82.853236
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions
© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

10 thoughts on “Walnut Woods Metro Park

  1. Thank you for the reply and pics Deb – I am “addicted” to wildflowers – I have a blast going out searching for new
    unknowns . Your pictures are amazing ! Thank u so much for sharing them.

    1. Hi, J. I think that it’s a False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides). When there are hundreds of little flowers in a flower’s center, the whole blossom is called Composite flowerhead (Pseudanthium). All the flowers in the Aster family are like this, but you have to look closely at the flower center to notice them. And if the little interior flowers haven’t opened yet, you also might not notice them. Here are some other asters that have little, tiny flowers in their centers.


      New England Aster


      Roundleaf Ragwort (Packera obovata)

      In the above photo of Roundleaf ragwort, most of the interior flowers are still closed, buds, so they look like little round bumps. But if you look around the photo, you’ll see that some of the interior flowers have opened. If you click on any of the above photos, you can see a larger version of them.

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