Columbus is located nearly smack-dab in the middle of the state of Ohio, giving visitors easy access to nearly all of the best trails in the state. While none of the excellent trails on the list below are technically located within the city limits, two are located within a 30-minute drive of downtown, and the others are located an hour and a half away or less.
Alum Creek Phase II
The Central Ohio Mountain Bike Organization (COMBO) has done an excellent job building and maintaining the Alum Creek trails over the years. The Phase II trail is only about 6 miles long, but it’s well-worth the trip! With fast, flowy sections punctuated with wooden features and rooty, technical interludes, this trail is rated solidly intermediate by Singletracks readers. “The combination of naturally formed and manmade tech was amazing,” says Singletracks reviewer manduro.
Chestnut Ridge Metro Park
The trails at Chestnut Ridge were the first to be approved in a Columbus Metro Park, thanks to the tireless work of COMBO members. Bryan Pack from COMBO tells us Chestnut Ridge boasts “10 miles of trail with a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced riding,” including a professionally-constructed flow trail. He also notes, “there is a decent amount of climbing for a trail so close to flat Columbus.” These trails are so good, Singletracks reader shawng16 even recommended we ride Chestnut Ridge when visiting Cincinnati more than 100 miles away!
Dillon State Park
Dillion State Park is located almost exactly one hour east of Columbus near Zanesville. This 15-mile, stacked loop system offers trails that range from easy to difficult. Singletracks reader outback96 says, “the trails really do seem to have it all; fast, flowy singletrack, great rock gardens, challenging climbs…probably some of the best trails I have ridden.” Bryan Pack also recommends another trail system not too far outside of Zanesville called The Wilds, where “you can find plenty of gaps, jumps, berms, and drops.”
Moving a bit further outside the Columbus metro area, here are two more trails that come highly recommended.
Mohican State Park
The 24 miles of singletrack at Mohican State Park are rated the best natural trails in the state of Ohio. Mountain bikers will find some of the biggest climbs in the region at Mohican, along with a relentless web of roots blanketing the trail system. The trails here are well-marked and offer excellent scenery throughout the park. Singletracks reviewer Dan Zaccardelli says the trails are comparable to those in Pisgah, while Ashbrook15 says simply, “probably the best place to ride in Ohio! Great trails!”
Great Seal State Park
COMBO’s Bryan Pack calls Great Seal State Park “Ohio’s hidden gem.” Located less than an hour directly south of Columbus, the park features nearly 10 miles of singletrack trails featuring a backcountry, mountainous feel. Singletracks reader phasty jokingly claims, “they sprinkle crack on the trails so the more you ride [them], the more addicted you get!”
Sells Park and Strouds Run State Park
The city of Athens, OH has two excellent trail systems that are well-worth the hour and a half drive southeast from Columbus. The Sells Park and Strouds Run State Park trail systems flow right into one another, combining for more than 40 miles of riding. These trails are well-maintained and feature plenty of natural rock features to keep riders entertained. Singletracks reader rsb21 says, “if you’re in the Athens, Ohio area, don’t miss out.”