Clearing the way for winter fun

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
A Battelle Darby Creek Metro Parks employee uses a “little Zamboni” to clear snow off of the park’s skating pond. Meanwhile, a group waited for the okay to put on their skates and hockey equipment for some outdoor practice, complete with their own goal.

(Posted Jan. 22, 2018)

Hiking isn’t the only option for winter fun at the Metro Parks, three of which are located in or near Madison County. Several parks also offer opportunities for sledding, ice skating, and cross country skiing, when conditions are right.

To know when to go, see for alerts, call a park ranger (phone numbers listed below),  or visit

Ice Skating

Metro Parks has two skating ponds, both of which are shallow and half an acre in area:

  • Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park–access from the Little Darby picnic area at 3711 Gardner Road, Georgesville, (614) 370-6254; and
  • Blendon Woods Metro Park–4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road, Westerville, (614) 620-1861.

The ponds are opened for skating when the ice is three inches thick across the ponds’ entire surface.


Grab your disc, toboggan, and sleds and head to the sledding hills at the following parks. Rangers are often on-site.

  • Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park–8465 Alkire Road, Galloway, (614) 370-6254 or (614) 878-7106, by the canoe access point and Ohio to Erie trailhead;
  • Blacklick Woods Golf Course–7309 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, (614) 861-3193, east of the golf course activities building;
  • Highbanks Metro Park–9466 Columbus Pike (U.S. Rte. 23 N.), Lewis Center, (614) 906-3149 or (614) 846-9962, in the Big Meadows picnic area;
  • Scioto Audubon Metro Park–400 W. Whittier St., Columbus, (614) 202-5197, between the bocce courts and the Columbus Rotary obstacle course;
  • Scioto Grove Metro Park–5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, (614) 949-1078, park at the Arrowhead picnic area;
  • Sharon Woods Metro Park–6911 Cleveland Ave., Columbus, (614) 315-5520, sledding hill entrance located north of the main park entrance on Cleveland Avenue; and
  • Walnut Woods Metro Park–6716 Lithopolis Road, Groveport, (614) 357-9375, kiddie sledding hill located in the Buckeye Area, close to the dog parks.

Cross-Country Skiing

A challenging workout and a great way to enjoy wintery nature, cross-country skiing is permitted at all of the parks, except Inniswood, when conditions allow.

Four parks have trails reserved for cross-country skiing only. They are:

  • Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park–(614) 370-6254, 3.2-mile Dyer Mill Trail;
  • Blendon Woods Metro Park–4265 (614) 620-1861, 2-mile Sugarbush Trail;
  • Highbanks Metro Park–(614) 906-3149, 3.5-mile Coyote Run Trail and 0.6-mile Scenic River Trail; and
  • Prairie Oaks Metro Park–3225 Plain City-Georgesville Road, West Jefferson, (614) 208-4321, 5.7-mile Bridle Trail and 2.5-mile Coneflower Trail.
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