Columbus Ohio may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of waterfalls, but the city and its surrounding areas are home to a surprising number of beautiful cascades.
From the natural wonders of nearby Hocking Hills State Park to the man-made beauty of the Inniswood Metro Garden, there are waterfalls to suit every taste in and around Columbus.
Whether you’re a nature lover looking for a peaceful escape or simply want to admire the power and beauty of falling water, the waterfalls in Columbus, Ohio are definitely worth exploring.
Waterfalls in Columbus Ohio
Within Columbus proper, there are three “waterfalls” – I say waterfalls with an asterisk because at least a few of them are pretty small man-made versions. However, they are still lovely!
1. Glen Echo Park
Glen Echo Park, located in Columbus, Ohio, is a small but picturesque park that boasts a charming waterfall. The waterfall in Glen Echo Park is a man-made feature that cascades over a series of steps, creating a tranquil and soothing atmosphere.
The water flows down into a small pool at the bottom, surrounded by lush greenery and rocks. The waterfall is not particularly large or dramatic, but it provides a lovely focal point for visitors to the park.
2. Inniswood Metro Garden
Inniswood Metro Park is a beautiful and tranquil oasis located in Columbus, Ohio. The park covers over 100 acres and features a variety of habitats, including forests, meadows, and wetlands.
When you visit Inniswood, you can enjoy a wide range of activities, including hiking, picnicking, bird-watching, and gardening. The park is particularly renowned for its stunning display of flowers and plants, which can be found in the park’s gardens and natural areas.
The park also features a variety of facilities, including picnic areas, a nature center, and a historic home. There is a small manmade waterfall located in the Rock Garden – it was dry when we visited, but I suspect it’s lovely when it’s full of water.
3. Milliken Falls in Quarry Trails Metro Park
Quarry Trails Metro Park is a brand new addition to the Columbus Metro Parks system, which opened in 2021. The park is located on the west side of Columbus and covers over 200 acres, featuring a variety of habitats including wetlands, forests, and meadows.
The park’s centerpiece is a 50-foot-deep, 20-acre lake that was once a working quarry, and Milliken Falls can be observed when visiting the quarry.
In addition to viewing Milliken Falls, when you visit Quarry Trails you can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and picnicking.
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Waterfalls near Columbus Ohio
Like many Midwestern cities, Columbus is surrounded by lovely little suburban towns such as Dublin – and Dublin is home to TWO lovely waterfalls. Combine your love of finding waterfalls with a day trip to downtown Dublin for a perfect escape.
4. Hayden Falls
Hayden Falls is a stunning waterfall located in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. The waterfall is a natural cascade that drops 35 feet into a peaceful pool below, surrounded by steep rock walls and lush vegetation.
It’s very easy to visit Hayden Falls via a short trail that winds through a wooded ravine, offering stunning views of the surrounding scenery. The area around the waterfall is a designated nature preserve, providing a habitat for a variety of wildlife, including birds, turtles, and fish.
You can also walk up the sidewalk from the small parking lot and see the falls from an observation deck right off the road.
Can you swim at Hayden Falls?
Swimming is not allowed at Hayden Falls. The area around the waterfall is designated as a nature preserve, and visitors are asked to respect the natural environment and stay on designated trails and observation areas.
5. Indian Run Falls
Just a short drive from Hayden Falls (and very close to downtown Dublin) is Indian Run Falls.
The waterfall is a natural cascade that drops 20 feet into a tranquil pool below, surrounded by steep rock walls and lush vegetation. Visitors to Indian Run Falls can access the waterfall via a short trail that winds through a wooded ravine, offering stunning views of the surrounding scenery.
Waterfalls that make the perfect day trip from Columbus Ohio
In addition to the handful of waterfalls in Columbus Ohio, there are also several that would make a fantastic day trip or even a weekend getaway from Columbus Ohio.
6. Ludlow Falls
Ludlow Falls is located in Miami County, Ohio, which is about an hour and a half north of Columbus. The falls are a popular attraction in the area, with a natural cascade that drops 15 feet into a rocky gorge below.
When you visit Ludlow Falls you can enjoy hiking one of the two trails, fishing, and picnicking in the surrounding park area. The falls are particularly beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colors, and during the winter when the falls freeze over.
💥 Related post: Pack the perfect picnic
7. Hocking Hills
Hocking Hills is a stunningly beautiful natural area located in southeastern Ohio. It’s located about an hour from Columbus, so makes for an easy day trip.
The region is known for its unique geological formations, including picturesque waterfalls. There are miles of hiking trails that wind through lush forests and scenic vistas, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
The area is also home to several state parks, including Hocking Hills State Park, which features popular attractions such as Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, and Ash Cave. The other popular falls in Hocking Hills are Great Falls and Greenville Falls.
Can you go in the waterfalls at Hocking Hill?
It is not safe to go in the waterfalls at Hocking Hills. While the waterfalls at Hocking Hills are beautiful, they can also be dangerous due to the slippery rocks, and unpredictable water levels.
You are advised to stay on designated trails and observation areas and to never climb on or swim near the waterfalls.
What is the big waterfall at Hocking Hill?
Hocking Hills is home to several beautiful waterfalls, but the most iconic and largest waterfall in the region is Cedar Falls. Cedar Falls is a natural waterfall that drops 50 feet into a serene pool below, surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation.
Cedar Falls is located in Hocking Hills State Park and can be accessed via a hiking trail that winds through the surrounding forest. Don’t miss this one – it’s well worth the hike!
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8. Rock Mill Falls
Rock Mill Falls is a beautiful and historic waterfall located in Fairfield County, Ohio. Rock Mill Falls is adjacent to the Rock Mill Covered Bridge which is one of the last remaining covered bridges in Ohio and a popular spot for photography.
Rock Mill Falls was an integral part of the old Rock Mill which is now a part of Rock Mill Historical Park, with its restored gristmill and scenic pond. Rock Mill Falls is just about half an hour from Columbus – but check to be sure it’s open before you visit, as it has been closed for renovations in recent years.
9. Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve
Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve is a stunning natural area located near Columbus, Ohio. The preserve is situated along the Licking River and features a picturesque gorge that is over 100 feet deep and one mile long.
The gorge is a popular destination for hikers and bikers, with over 10 miles of trails winding through the surrounding forest and along the river. When the water is high you might find a few lovely waterfalls along the trails.
10. Honey Run Waterfall
Honey Run Waterfall is a hidden gem located near Columbus in Howard, Ohio. The waterfall features a picturesque cascade that drops into a rocky pool below. The surrounding area is lush with vegetation, including several large trees and ferns, making it a tranquil and serene spot for visitors to enjoy.
The waterfall is easy to find – it’s just a short trail from the parking lot, but beware that it can dry up during hot or dry seasons, so plan your visit accordingly.
FAQs about waterfalls in Columbus Ohio
Curious to learn more about waterfalls in Columbus Ohio?
Are there waterfalls in Ohio?
Yes, there are waterfalls in Ohio. Despite Ohio being a relatively flat state, there are several stunning waterfalls scattered throughout the state.
Some of the most notable waterfalls in Ohio include Cedar Falls at Hocking Hills State Park, Hayden Falls in Dublin, Mill Creek Falls in Cleveland, Indian Run Falls in Dublin, and Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, among others.
Ohio’s waterfalls range in size and shape, from powerful cascades to gentle trickles, and provide a beautiful and unique natural attraction for visitors to explore and enjoy.
How many waterfalls are in Ohio?
It’s hard to say exactly how many waterfalls are in Ohio as some of them are quite small, some manmade, and some dry up during hot seasons. However, I have seen estimates of up to 300! Even if there is only half of that number, there are still plenty of waterfalls for you to explore in Ohio.
What are the best waterfall hikes in Ohio?
Hocking Hills is typically reported as the best place in Ohio for waterfall hikes. There are several lovely waterfalls located in the area, and the hiking is wonderful!
Which are the best waterfalls in Columbus Ohio?
If you choose to stay in the Columbus area, Hayden Falls is the best waterfall. It is gorgeous and easily accessible. If you prefer a day trip, definitely head to Hocking Hills to enjoy several lovely waterfalls.
What is the biggest waterfall in Ohio?
The biggest waterfall in Ohio is arguably Upper Falls, which is located in Hocking Hills State Park. Upper Falls has a drop of approximately 25 feet, making it one of the largest waterfalls in the state.
However, the tallest waterfall in Ohio is Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which has a drop of approximately 65 feet.
Keep in mind that the size of waterfalls can vary depending on factors such as water flow, rainfall, and season.
What waterfalls can you walk behind in Ohio?
Although you can see the waterfalls from various viewpoints, there aren’t currently any near Columbus Ohio that you are allowed to wade in or go behind.
Conclusion: Waterfalls in Columbus Ohio
In conclusion, Columbus, Ohio and its surrounding areas offer a surprising number of beautiful waterfalls that are perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway.
From the stunning Hayden Falls and Indian Run Falls to the serene Glen Echo Falls and Ludlow Falls, there are plenty of options for waterfall enthusiasts to explore.
And while the waterfalls themselves are undoubtedly the main attraction, the surrounding parks, and nature preserves offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the great outdoors.
So whether you’re a local looking for a weekend adventure or a visitor to the area, be sure to check out some of the amazing waterfalls that Columbus, Ohio has to offer.