Trail Tails: Battelle Darby Creek

One of the best places to go in the colder months is Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

This park is a must-visit destination in the wintery months because it offers so many trail options that are shorter in length, yet harder in difficulty. You can trade your running shoes for hiking boots and trek a difficult trail through the woods, with lots of forestry to help shield you from the wind.

On Feb. 22, starting at 10 a.m., the park is offering an event as part of the 41st Annual Winter Hike Series. You can choose to participate in a two-, four-, or six-mile hike along the Big Darby Creek. Participation is free and it starts at the ranger station, accessible from the main entrance.

For running, my favorite trail is the Darby Creek Greenway trail. It features 4.7 miles of gravel surface that winds through woods and fields. You even run past the bison area of the park, and it’s always neat to see wildlife during your workout. The nature center is also about a mile into the trail, so you can stop to warm up a bit if it’s really biting. The trail ends in a horse track, so you can extend your run past 4.7 miles as far as you want.

If biking is your forte, you can check out the Camp Chase trail, which is part of the Ohio to Erie trail. This trail runs along the Camp Chase Railroad, and you can park your car at the main entrance of the park and bike down Darby Creek Drive to jump on the trail. It is a paved 11.4-mile trail that will take you by the bison area as well.

Another frigid feature of Battelle Darby Creek is its access to winter-only cross-training activities. By changing up your routine, you’ll stay motivated to move and be less agitated that it’s freezing outside.

A great example is skating at the ice rink. You can access the rink from 3711 Gardner Road. A 150-pound person can burn about 460 calories ice-skating for an hour, so why not try it out?

There is also a sledding hill, located across from Alkire Road. Don’t think sledding is exercise? Think again! The best exercise comes from a fun workout, and sledding combines total fun with total work. It takes lots of energy to walk up a hill, and that means having fun while shedding calories, thanks to all the walking up a steep incline.

If you do choose to continue your outdoor exercise in the winter months, make sure you are staying safe. Remember that it gets dark a lot earlier in the evening, so plan your exercises accordingly. Make sure to check the weather forecast regularly, and try to work out during the warmest part of the day.

Everyone knows to also dress warmly, but overheating can be a big issue for people exercising in the cold. Don’t layer too much … you could end up being too hot after you start sweating. A good rule of thumb is to dress for the temperature plus 10 degrees to account for your body’s extra heat during physical activity.

Lace up your hiking boots, running shoes, ice skates, biking shoes or sledding boots and get to Battelle Darby Creek and one of its amazing trails for a winter workout you (and your body) won’t forget.

Battelle Darby Creek is located at 1775 Darby Creek Drive in Galloway, and it is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. through March.