Many areas of Ohio transform into a winter wonderland during the colder months. The breathtaking views create a memorable experience for people who scenic Ohio road trips along any of the byways in the state.
Travel back in time as you cross a covered bridge. Enjoy the picturesque views of lakes and rivers. Or, take a scenic train ride if you prefer to enjoy a different type of scenic Ohio trip in winter.
Ohio Scenic Byways Winter Drives
Ohio has 27 byways that offer spectacular views, whether you want to travel through a large portion of the state or enjoy a short scenic Ohio drive during the winter months. Check for great places to stop for local food or walking paths to enjoy the area.
Ohio River Scenic Byway
The Ohio River Scenic Byway stretches across more than 940 miles, crossing into Indiana and Illinois, with around half of the scenic byway bordering Ohio. Visitors have a nearly continuous view of the Ohio River as they travel through 14 counties across Southern Ohio.
The rural landscapes provide a glimpse into a simpler lifestyle, with views of farms and red barns covered in white after a snowfall. Travel through historic Native American habitations, and wander along the ancient prehistoric Native American sites.
The quaint river communities, the beauty of the Ohio River, and the landscape along the four regions of the byway provide a unique adventure with many stops available along the byway.
The Appalachian people, rich in culture and diversity, often have festivals along the scenic byway. Also, great road stops provide food and opportunities to unwind and take in the views of the Ohio River Scenic Byway.
Amish Country Byway
One of the most spectacular Ohio road trips during the winter season is the Amish Country Byway. It is not simply the farmland that many people believe the trip will be when thinking about driving through Amish Country.
The Ohio Department of Transportation organizes scenic road trips through some of the most beautiful areas of Amish Country. Fantastic landscapes, such as the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area, add to the beauty of the drive that spans more than 160 miles of countryside through several Amish counties.
The Amish homes and red barns blanketed in snow offer a beautiful sight during the scenic winter drive. Look for the unique snow rollers as you drive through the rolling hills of the Amish County Scenic Byway.
Snow rollers are a naturally occurring meteorological phenomenon. Large snowballs form across the land because of Ohio winter winds.
Choose to drive the entire span of Amish Country in one day, or plan your excursion to take two or three days. Either way, you can immerse yourself in the culture and natural beauty of this winter road trip through Ohio’s Amish Country.
Olentangy Heritage Corridor
The Olentangy Heritage Corridor in Franklin County is just over 10 miles long but offers outstanding points of interest during a winter drive. The scenic byway follows the path of the Olentangy River’s Native American Trails.
View homes and barns on one side and the Olentangy Scenic River on the other side. Gaze at the entrance of the Olentangy Caverns with a blanket of fresh snow, or stop and explore the caves that were formed several million years ago.
Ohio Road Trips Through State Parks & Valleys
Ohio has some of the most jaw-dropping things to see when traveling through state parks and valleys in the winter. Enjoy the natural beauty during the drive or when you get out of the car to explore caves, frozen Ohio waterfalls, or trails.
Big Creek Valley
Big Creek Valley starts in Chardon Ohio and joins the Hardin River near Painesville Ohio. The forests, rocky ravines, and ledges form beautiful rock formations.
The winter months bring snow and ice that turn the area into what many people are likely to refer to as an ice palace. Dramatic scenes transform the area into a spectacular scenic drive during the winter months.
Also, Big Creek Valley joins with the Grand River near Painesville Ohio. Steep gorges play a role in the formation of ice sheets and frozen waterfalls.
Do not be surprised if you see anglers on the river even on the coldest winter days. Ice fishing in the waters of Big Creek Valley yields catches such as steelhead trout.
Hocking Hills Scenic Byway
The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway allows visitors to take a trip that is deep into the hills and valleys of the state park. It passes through several historically significant sites and areas.
The scenic byway connects sites and locations such as Rock House, Cantwell Cliffs, Old Man’s Cave, and Ash Cave, providing the opportunity to experience spectacular winter views during scenic Ohio road trips.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has a designation as a National Park Scenic excursion. The train ride features an awe-inspiring trip through several sites during the winter months. Park the car, and get on board the train for an unforgettable experience.
The train travels southbound and northbound several times each day, with several stations where passengers can board in Independence, Ohio, and Akron.
Travel along the historic Ohio & Erie Canalway. The train races across the Cuyahoga River and winds through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Some people prefer to ride the train through all the stops, while others prefer to disembark at the historic Boston Mills Station to visit the Boston Mills Visitor Center. Learn more about the area, or stop for a while to take in the beautiful winter scenery before boarding the next train.
Winter Drives to Covered Bridges in Ohio
Drive across a covered bridge in Ohio to experience the feeling of days gone by and enjoy the beauty of freshly fallen snow. Or, drive through the state during the winter months to experience crossing all 135 covered bridges.
Some covered bridges are particularly interesting and picturesque to travel across when looking for scenic winter drives. You can get out of the car to walk across some of the historic covered bridges. And, enjoy quaint features, such as a bridge that spans across a frozen creek or river.
Harpersfield Covered Bridge
The Harpersfield Covered Bridge, located in Geneva, is one of the 16 covered bridges open to vehicle traffic in the state. The historic bridge combines a wooden span and a metal span, and it measures 228 feet. It is the third longest covered bridge in Ohio.
Look out of the car at the icy Grand River as you drive across, or get out to walk part of the bridge and take in the sights and crisp winter air.
Smolen Gulf Covered Bridge
Smolen Gulf Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the United States. It measures 613 feet long and spans across the Ashtabula River. The bridge is surrounded by picturesque plants and trees.
Smolen Gulf stands 93 feet above the river, giving people crossing the bridge a spectacular view of the river with stunning scenery during winter, including a trail system below the bridge.
Roberts Covered Bridge
The Roberts Covered Bridge in Eaton is one of only six surviving double-barrel covered bridges in the country. And, it is the only remaining double-barrel covered bridge in Ohio.
Originally built over Seven Mile Creek, visitors to the Preble County area get a firsthand glimpse of the bridge, which is currently closed to vehicle traffic. The beautiful red color of the double-barrelled bridge provides a picturesque site when covered with a blanket of snow.
Thompson Road Covered Bridge
The Thompson Road Covered Bridge, constructed in 2010, is a newer covered bridge. It is still a great scenic Ohio road trip destination to take for people who want to experience crossing a covered bridge, particularly during the winter.
This Ostrander Ohio bridge is capable of handling modern vehicles whose occupants want to experience traveling on a two-lane covered bridge that is styled after local farm buildings.
Plan Your Ohio Road Trip This Winter
As you plan your scenic drive, there are dozens more awesome places to visit in Ohio during winter. You can even check out a variety of Ohio winter festivals and events. Plus, you can explore many winter activities in Ohio.