The Darby Creeks boast an abundance of recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. With most of the natural setting intact, this sprawling watershed is a wonderful getaway for nature lovers of all ages and capabilities. From fly-fishing to cross-country skiing, the activities subtly change, as do the seasons.
Apart from the Metro Parks, much of the land paralleling the creeks is privately owned. Please respect these landowners’ rights as we share this special “Last Great Place” in harmony. We cordially invite you to experience this fine example of our natural Ohio heritage.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Canoeing and kayaking the Darby Creeks is one of the best ways to experience this exceptional warm water habitat. Its navigability affords the novice
and the veteran an enjoyable journey. Make sure to bring binoculars or a camera. As you quietly paddle down the Darbys you may come upon an array of interesting wildlife. White-tailed deer, herons, great horned owls, spotted turtles and beaver are just a few of the critters that live within the creeks and forested corridor. If you have your own vessel, a beautiful six-mile float starts at Battelle-Darby Creek Metro Park off of Alkire Road. You can portage downstream at the public access area on Route 665.
Big and Little Darby Creeks are well recognized as two of the finest sport fishing streams in Ohio. Black bass, crappie, sunfish and catfish all await the
angler. Though low in numbers, native populations of Esox masquinongy, the mighty muskellunge, can be found here. Of the bass species, the smallmouth is the most revered game fish in the creeks. Look for these hard fighters in pools and runs immediately below riffle areas. To help protect this fragile resource, anglers should practice and promote selective harvest.
Battelle-Darby Metro Park
The largest of the Franklin County Metro Parks, Battelle-Darby offers many interpretative and educational activities within the park and on Big Darby
Creek. Please visit the ranger station for a listing of these exciting naturalist-led events. The Cobshell, Hawthorne, Terrace and Ancient trails will challenge both the hiker and jogger. With a blessing from Old Man Winter, there is also a trail that is excellent for the cross-country skier. Some of the finest winter birding is at hand for the hardy. There is also a sledding hill in the park.
As winter gives way to spring, the park is painted in spring wildflower glory and wildlife activity abounds. Tallgrass prairie remnants show off their
colors as the summer wanes. These seasonal images beckon to be captured by the budding and experienced photographer.
Location: 1775 Darby Creek Dr., Galloway, OH 43119 (southwestern Franklin County)
Directions: From-270, take the W. Broad St. (U.S. 40) exit west. Go about 5 miles on Broad St. and turn left on Darby-Creek Dr. Main entrance is about 3 miles on the right.
Prairie Oaks Metro Park
The newest Columbus and Franklin County Metro Park features some of the oldest and largest burr oak and sycamore trees in the state, dating back
before European settlement of the area. Big Darby Creek, noted nationally for its diversity and abundance of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals, bisects the park, which is located in western Franklin and eastern Madison counties.
Visitors can hike a 1.5 mile ravine trail and bird watchers can enjoy a mile-long grassland trail.
Location: 2012 Amity Rd. Hilliard, OH 43026 (western Franklin & northeastern Madison counties)
Directions: From I-270, take I-70 west to the Georgesville Road (S.R. 142) exit and go south about 1/4 mile. Turn left on High Free Pike. Go about 1 mile to Roberts Road and turn left. Go about 1 mile on Roberts Road to Amity Road and turn left. Entrance is on the left.
Two good examples of the Darby Plains and tallgrass prairie are in Smith and Bigelow Cemeteries near Plain City. These preserves are home to over
thirty species of native prairie plants that once covered much of Ohio. More information on these preserves can be obtained from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.