Welcome to Hidden Gems, the monthly series in which we share the best places for weekend getaways. We know you’re having some wanderlust, but there’s so much magic to be seen in and around Ohio. Stick with us, and we’ll show you where to go to make the most of your weekend.
Take a trip with us, Columbus.
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Alum Creek State Park sits 20-some miles north of downtown Columbus, situated in nearby Delaware, Ohio. Due to its location, you’ve likely heard of—or even visited—the spot yourself. But even if you’ve been there before, chances are you don’t realize just how much it has to offer.
Featuring the largest inland beach in the Ohio State Park system, ACSP encompasses Alum Creek Lake, a sprawling reservoir stretches north for miles. Because of its location, the park is primarily known for its boating and fishing potential, but it also offers an 18-hole Disc Golf Course, over 200 campsites, and miles of hiking, horseback, and mountain biking trails.
Perhaps the best part of the entire park, though, is one that few visitors actually get to see.
The very northern end of the park—parallel to Hogback Road where Alum Creek Lake begins to taper back down into Alum Creek—offers world-class birding opportunities. This pristine landscape is home to a wide variety of species for birdwatchers to take in, but most notably it serves as a nesting site for local osprey.
Not only can you park-and-hike to the bluffs embanking this stretch of lake (an area nicknamed Osprey Overlook) you can even take to the water yourself for an up-close look at the sought-after raptors.
The calm water makes for a fantastic kayaking experience that’s accessible by paddling up from the main body of the lake, or by grabbing a rental from the nearby Alum Creek Adventures and launching on-site. And even if you don’t glimpse an osprey and one of their enormous five-foot wingspans in flight, it’s worth a trip before the summer ends.