Quarry Trails Metro Park

A couple of weeks ago we had some warm weather and Tom and I took advantage of it by walking around Quarry Trails Metro Park.  With a metro park just across the street, it always seems silly to drive to another park just to walk.  But we were in Grandview Heights to listen to the Rust Belt Fibershed talk, so we decided to take advantage of the park in that area.

Quarry Trails Metro Park is the newest Columbus Metro Park, opened in 2021.  Metro parks turned an abandoned quarry into a recreation destination for Franklin County residents and beyond. Quarry Trails, the 20th Metro Park, is located within 5 miles of 350,000 residents. Current amenities at the 182-acre park include trails, observations areas, a single-track mountain bike trail, a picturesque 25-foot waterfall and lakes.  A very large dog park was recently completed and is now in use.

Marble Cliff Quarry was once the largest contiguous quarry in the United States.  The quarry provided limestone for over a century that was used to build the Ohio Statehouse, roads, buildings and many other places in central Ohio.  The quarry is still in use, operated by The Shelly Company, but the active part has moved away from the area where the park is.

The active quarry

Quarry Trails Metro Park is still very much under construction.  The sections that are finished look brand new and still lack some of the amenities, such as restrooms, found at the other parks.  A new Visitors Center was recently completed and the park expects it to be open to visitors beginning Memorial Day.

Lake area with the Thrive housing in the background

On the beautiful Saturday Tom and I visited, the park was being used by lots of people.  Even though it was March, people were out on the quarry lake paddle boarding and kayaking.  Lots of people walked the trails.  We were especially impressed by the housing units surrounding the park.  It felt like all the people who lived in them were enjoying being outside.  Thrive Corporation has built condos and apartment buildings on both sides of the park.  Thrive is dedicated to repurposing forgotten urban land into mixed use well-planned neighborhoods.

Millikin Falls

Tom and I walked all the trails around the completed parts of the park.  We enjoyed the pretty Millikin Falls, then walked around the lake areas.  A boardwalk goes out on the water and we saw a large snapping turtle swimming across the lake.  We continued our walk past the new Visitors Center, the dog park, and the mountain biking trail.  By doing a figure eight through the completed parts of the park, we walked about two miles.

Boardwalk on the lake

We also walked by the active quarry.  The machinery was standing idle on Saturday, but I’m sure it is noisy and busy during the week.

I was very impressed by the way the Metro Parks have redeveloped this area.  It is clearly paying off in terms of people getting outside and enjoying their neighborhood.