15 Best Scenic Views in Ohio
I love heights. I love being up high and seeing things look smaller down below. I’ve been on the hunt for the best scenic views in Ohio, and I’ve been finding places I’ve never heard of the entire time I’ve lived here.
I’ve been reading from fellow Ohio bloggers. I’m so glad there are people who write these things up. Without people willing to share some of these gems, I would never find them on my own.
To my fellow bloggers: don’t stop writing. It may seem like not many people are reading, but I am!
I haven’t found all the best views in Ohio, but I thought I would start posting these places as I visit them…
Mt. Jeez, Lucas
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably sick of hearing about Malabar Farms. I’ve written about it in places within four hours of Columbus, Ohio. I’m not sick of visiting there, nor am I sick of writing about it, so again, I’m going to mention this fantastic overlook.
How to get there: Drive to Malabar Farm State Park. There are directional signs at the park for Mt. Jeez, and also a map you can pick up at the visitor’s center.
It’s closed from Nov. to March. However, I have a confession to make. Twice now, I parked and walked up there anyway. Their biggest concern is that the trail is too icy for people to climb. I wasn’t the only one on the trail, either, so there are some more rebels out there!
The climb takes about 10-15 minutes. It is steep, you might break a sweat, but it’s worth it!
Rising Park, Lancaster
This overlook gives you a view of the entire city of Lancaster from up on a rock. As you drive through town, you can see the rock on the side of a hill. It’s real easy to find, and it’s a great overlook.
How to get there: Once you enter the park’s entrance, you can park near the pond/gazebo area. From there, you’ll see a bulletin board and water fountain that are at the bottom of the hill. From there, you can walk up to the top.
It takes about 10-15 minutes, and it is a steep hill. You will get some thigh-burn going up, but the views are wonderful. Also, it’s dog-friendly, so you can bring Fido!
Carew Tower, Cincinnati
In Cincinnati, you can take a ride up 49 floors for a 360 view of Cincinnati. On a clear day, you can see for miles. It happened to be a clear day when we went and could see ice skaters below (looking like ants), the Ohio River, and a lot of buildings!
How to get there: It costs $4 a person, and they accept cash only. We looked at the building on Google maps when we arrived because we had a bit of a time figuring out which building it was!
And, there are no bathrooms… so make sure to go before you get up there. Don’t want to pee your pants when you look down the side and see how far you’d drop.
Buzzards Roost Nature Preserve, Chillicothe
This involves a little bit of a hike, but I thought the views rivaled some beautiful parks and vantage points in West Virginia. It was hard to believe this was in Ohio.
How to get there: Once you arrive at the park, you’ll be doing a little trek to get to this point. There are two hikes, and the one to this vantage point is the South Point Lookout Trail.
The trees are marked, so as you follow the path (some steep uphill climbs) you will eventually reach this vantage point. Well-worth the short trek!
Christmas Rocks, Lancaster
This was a steep little hike with a rewarding view. Spring was a beautiful time to be there, with everything budding, and I can imagine that seeing this in the fall would be equally as gorgeous.
How to get there: Drive to Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve. You park in the parking lot at the bottom of the hill (near some houses in a neighborhood). You take the main route up to the top of Jacobs Ladder. There are signs intermittent on the trail that help you stay on track. The hike is about 4 miles round trip.
Hoover Dam, Westerville
Being a Westerville native, obviously, I’ve been to Hoover Dam a million times. So many times, that I forget how pretty it is. It’s a beautiful place to view the sunset, get in a run up the stairs (my sister does this almost weekly), and see a lot of wildlife and birds.
How to get there: GPS it and you’re there. You can’t miss it right off of Sunbury Road. There are a lot of natural areas to walk around, as well as a bike and walking path along the dam and reservoir.
Rock House, Hocking Hills
This is a gorgeous area of Hocking Hills, with a beautiful arch that you can walk through. It gets pitch black in some places (so bring a flashlight or use the one on your phone) but it opens up to a gorgeous area where you can see the ground, the sky, and gorgeous trees.
How to get there: It’s a short little hike (.6 miles), but it is steep. It’s easy on the way there (because it’s downhill) but it’s more challenging uphill on the way back. You do have to climb up through some boulders, so I would recommend having good sturdy legs, and knees to do this one!
Clifton Mill, Clifton
If you want a good meal and see “one of the largest water-powered grist mills still in existence”, you’ll want to check this out. Walking around the mill also provides a beautiful view of the mill, the waterfalls, and the greenery.
We’ve been here in the summer, and around Christmas, which is when they deck this place out with lights.
How to get there: GPS “Clifton Mill” and you’ll be there. If you want a good hike and more beautiful views, check out Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve which is less than a mile away. (If you want more stuff to do in this area, check out this article I wrote on daytrips from Columbus.)
Scioto Mile, Columbus
I love urban views and seeing buildings lit up at night. Walking around the Scioto Mile at dusk is a great way to see the city. There are little pockets that let you hop down and see even more views of the city.
How to get there: Parking downtown is always annoying, but there are parking meters around here as well as lots. If you want to couple this with dinner, you could pay for valet parking at a restaurant and then walk around the park.
Rim Trail, Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve
The entire rim hike is about 2.5 miles and goes all along the edge of a gorge. This means you have some beautiful and scenic views the entire time. We loved this hike. However, I do not recommend this for anyone who is afraid of heights.
We saw two parents trying to get a kid (about 8 years old) to keep going. The mother said, “There’s nothing to be afraid of.” The child snapped back, “THERE’S PLENTY TO BE AFRAID OF!” So, if you’re afraid of heights, this might not be the trek for you!
How to get there: We drove to the main entrance of the park and parked in the lot. We walked up past the bridge and made it to a posted map. If you keep going, you’ll see signs for the rim trail (as well as “DANGER” signs because you are walking around the edge of some steep drop off points.)
Monticello Canal Boat Ride, Coschocton
For $8 a person, this is what you get: “A horse-drawn canal boat replica takes visitors on a 40-minute ride into Ohio’s colorful past with a glimpse of a 1 1/2 mile restored section of the original Ohio-Erie Canal.” It is pretty awesome to be on a canal and being pulled by horses. It’s a unique experience and a great view of a horse’s butt.
How to get there: There is a lot to park in behind the boathouse, and you simply walk up to buy your ticket (or you can get one at the welcome center in the Historic Roscoe Village)
Rose Lake, Hocking Hills
A mini-hike through the forest gets you to a beautiful view of Rose Lake. This is my dad’s favorite part of Hocking Hills, and he even wrote a symphony piece for it (the Dispatch wrote about his Hocking Hills Suite, check it out here). This is a beautiful pocket of the hills, quiet and peaceful.
How to get there: There are two ways to get here, one costs money and one is free. We chose the free route, followed some signs to a side area to park. After parking, you cross the main street and walk down a path to the lake.
Old rail trestle over Big Walnut Creek, Sunbury
My sister lives in Sunbury, so we can walk down here anytime I visit. But last time I was there, it was overgrown with trees and had a beautiful view of Big Walnut Creek. It’s well worth a visit.
How to get there: This is in a neighborhood, so if you pass the main historic area of Sunbury Square and keep going down East Cherry Street until it dead-ends, make a left. You can park right near the entrance and walk up.
Rockmill Brewery, Lancaster
We went here for a concert with the Campfire Experience, but the brewery itself is a destination. Behind the brewery is a beautiful lake and behind that is a beautiful view of a river with rocky, jagged cliffs. There is also an old church on the site that was very picturesque.
How to get there: GPS Rockmill Brewery and it will take you through some open grassy fields and some houses right to the entrance.
Water Tower at Scioto Audubon, Downtown Columbus
If you’re looking for a great place to view the sunset (or sunrise) in Columbus, this is a great option. The water tower sits high above the park, and you can see the urban landscape, and behind you is the Scioto River with some birds and views of nature. It’s a great combo of urban and natural. You can also bring your dog!
How to get there: Park in the main lot, find the big red water tower, and walk up. It’s that simple!