Local Hiking

Top 8 Columbus Hiking Groups

Columbus Ohio Large Buildings
Hiking near Columbus takes hikers to breathtaking river views, serene tree-covered trails in the woods, to the base of gorgeous waterfalls, and so much more. These marvelous hiking trails attract many hikers to seek out these amazing natural sights and experiences. Columbus is home to many hiking groups and organizations for you to check out.

Below is a list of the top 8 hiking groups in Columbus. Each of these groups will help you in different ways on your hiking journey. These groups all have their own unique vibe and culture, so if you are starting out you should definitely check out multiple groups and attend many events to get a feel for what suits you. Use this list as a starting point to meet many of the other hikers located in Columbus.

  • HikeOhio! – 14,980+ members
  • Columbus Outdoor Adventures – 12,110+ members
  • Explorer Chicks of Columbus – 3,390+ members
  • Friends Of The Buckeye Trail – 2,520+ members
  • HikeColumbus! – 1,335+ members
  • Columbus Trail & Hiking Group – 1,150+ members
  • Gay Walkers – 670+ members
  • Clear Creek Metro Park Hiking Group – 475+ members


Cost to Join: Free
Location: Columbus, OH
Link: https://www.meetup.com/hiking-555/
Description: HikeOhio! Is for people who like to hike and walk on nature trails and go backpacking anywhere in the great outdoors. They do evening hikes on Metro Park trails, day hikes in Ohio State Park, and many other outdoor adventures. This group has hosted a staggering 1,970+ events in the past with multiple events each week.

Columbus Outdoor Adventures

Cost to Join: Free
Location: Columbus, OH
Link: https://www.meetup.com/columbus-adventurers/
Description: Columbus Outdoor Adventures is for those that want to meet with other people who love the outdoors. They organize events from hiking and camping to sports events such as ultimate frisbee and volleyball. They have also done events involving kayaking, camping, rafting, ziplining, climbing, and more. This group has hosted an astonishing 2,680+ events with multiple events each week.

Explorer Chicks of Columbus

Cost to Join: Free
Location: Columbus, OH
Link: https://www.meetup.com/Explorer-Chicks-of-Columbus/
Description: Explorer Chicks of Columbus is for chicks who dig the outdoor and adventure life and love to travel. They organize many out of town trips from national parks and even international trips. They have hosted over 350+ events in the past with an average of one event each week.

Friends Of The Buckeye Trail

Cost to Join: Free
Location: Columbus, OH
Link: https://www.meetup.com/BuckeyeTrailFriends/
Description: Friends Of The Buckeye Trail is for those who want to learn about and do more with the Ohio Buckeye Trail. You can support the trail by hiking on it, organizing hikes, helping with trail crew outings or donating. This group has hosted over 660+ events in the past with weekly events.


Cost to Join: Free
Location: Columbus, OH
Link: https://www.meetup.com/HikeColumbus/
Description: HikeColumbus! Is for anyone interested in hiking in and around central Ohio. They welcome all skill levels. This group has organized over 65+ events in the past with an average of one event each week.

Columbus Trail & Hiking Group

Cost to Join: Free
Location: Columbus, OH
Link: https://www.meetup.com/Columbus-Trail-Hiking-Group/
Description: Columbus Trail & Hiking Group is for people who enjoy walking on trails, hiking, and exploring the columbus area, but don’t want to do it alone. This group has hosted 25+ events in the past with one event every few months.

Gay Walkers

Cost to Join: Free
Location: Columbus, OH
Link: https://www.meetup.com/meetup-group-gfMePPjz/
Description: Gay Walkers is one of Central Ohio’s LGBT hiking groups. They meet up once a month for hiking in various parks, preserves, and other natural areas. They have hosted over 25+ events in the oast.

Clear Creek Metro Park Hiking Group

Cost to Join: Free
Location: Columbus, OH
Link: https://www.meetup.com/Clear-Creek-Metro-Park-Hiking-Group/
Description: Clear Creek Metro Park Hiking Group is for those interested in hiking and exploring the Clear Creek Metro Park . This group has hosted 19+ events in the past with one event each week.

Why should you join a Columbus hiking group?

hiker sitting on road with a map

New Trails

Joining a Columbus hiking group has many great benefits, but one of the best ones is the ability to discover new hiking trails. Each group will research and organize many hikes throughout the year, which will naturally present you with completely new hiking trails and hiking areas that you might have never heard of. There are also even groups that do out-of-town trips, which will help expand your hiking areas.

Increase Hiking Stamina

Another helpful benefit of joining a local hiking group is you can work on your hiking fitness and stamina. If you are new to hiking or getting back into it you can join groups that are more casual to slowly get back into it. Or if you are more experienced and want to maintain your hiking stamina then you can join more intermediate groups that focus on more challenging hikes. There are many options to pick from to help you with your stamina goals.


If you’re just looking to go into nature and relax, you can definitely do that with some of these hiking groups. There are some groups whose goal is to just relax, take it slow and enjoy the trails. By joining a group the research for the trails is done for you, so all you have to do is show up and hike. This is a nice change of pace if you are always the one doing trail and trip research.

3 things to consider when joining a Columbus hiking group

hiker standing near a lake pondering

Experience Required

There are many things to think about before joining a hiking group, but one of the most important things is the required level of experience is for the group. There will be groups that cater to the beginner hiker and there will be groups that focus more on intermediate experienced hikers. Check out the hiking descriptions to see what level of experience is needed before attending an event. This can help you avoid joining a group that might be hiking too fast or too slow. Through trial and error, you will find a group that has a similar or higher level of experience.


Another important aspect to think about is if the group provides any education workshops or if they are solely focused on hikes. There are some groups that will organize workshops on hiking gear, hydration, camping, and more. If you are looking for formally organized workshops check out the group’s past events to see if they have held any workshops. These workshops will help you level up your skills and hiking knowledge so you are more prepared when out on the trails.

Fitness Level

While there are many other important things to consider, one thing you should definitely think about is the fitness level that is expected. Some groups will tackle more strenuous and challenging trails while others will tackle more gradual and casual trails. Be sure to ask the group organizers what level of fitness they expect and what pace they typically prefer to hike at. This will lead to hiking with a group that better matches your current fitness level.


Columbus, Ohio city skyline during sunset

Columbus hiking will bring you to beautiful shaded trails deep in the forests, astonishing waterfalls, to the top of sweeping views of river gorges, and many other alluring hiking trails. With so much natural beauty in and near the city, there is a very active hiking community. All of these awesome sights and sounds from local trails are fun, but even better when shared with other local hikers.

This list is only just the beginning of the many wonderful hiking groups located in Columbus. As you gain new experiences and hike more trails your interests may change over time. As your interest and goals change you can adapt and check out new groups that align with your new goals and interest.