Battelle Darby Creek is my favorite Columbus Metro Park! Kenneth and I visit this park the most, it is the only Metro Park we have been to during every season (the photos in this post and the slideshow are from our recent visits in September and October). This park contains 7,000 acres and 18 miles of trails, making it the largest Metro Park! It's located on the west side of Columbus, just south of US Route 40.
The habitats at Battelle Darby Creek are prairie, wetlands and riparian forest along Big Darby and Little Darby Creeks. The creeks are state and national scenic rivers and provide habitat for 44 species of freshwater mussels (8 of these are endangered) and 100 species of fish. Visitors can get an up close view of these underwater creatures in the new nature center, which opened in late 2012. The nature center features an indoor stream with live fish and turtles and interactive exhibits about the history of the area as well as the native flora and fauna.
Kenneth's favorite part about visiting Battelle Darby Creek is getting to see the bison! The park has a herd of seven bison, six females and a male who was recently introduced to the herd. Bison once roamed over much of North America, the small herd at Battelle Darby Creek give visitors a rare opportunity to see these animals in their native habitat. On certain days park naturalists are on site with spotting scopes to allow visitors a closer look!
Other features to enjoy at Battelle Darby Creek include shelter houses, picnic areas and fishing at Osprey Lake, which also includes an area for dogs to go swimming. The park has several canoeing and kayaking events a year and there are natural play areas in the park where children and adults can venture off of the hiking path to explore and play in the woods.
Kenneth and I enjoy exploring the nature center and hiking down to Big Darby Creek. It's nice to sit by the creek and just listen to the sound of the water. It's so soothing! We both like to take our cameras here to photograph the scenery, I always find something interesting and beautiful! Our favorite trails are the Cobshell Trail, Indian Ridge Trail, and the Terrace Trail.
In January, the Columbus Metro Parks will begin their annual Winter Hike Series. This beloved program features short 1, 2 and up to 6 miles hikes at all of the parks in the cold winter months of January and February. Most days feature a guided hike with a park naturalist and hot chocolate or hot food at the end of the hike. Kenneth and I have participated for two years and are looking forward to a third! To find more information about the Winter Hike Series and other programs in the park, click here.