Fall Hiking Activities

Fall is arguably the best season for hiking, particularly in Ohio. There is a bright crispness to the air, the forests are awakened with changing leaves, and the animals are busy preparing for their winter hardships. Fall is an outdoor lover’s paradise. There is an abundance of wildlife to observe, a rainbow of colors at every turn, comforting smells of dried leaves and damp earth, and the rhythm of the forest ecosystem seems to be slowing down to a calm dreamy melody. We are truly spoiled here in Ohio during these Autumnal months. Now is our time to play. Here are some creative ways to enjoy every moment of our beautiful fall days:

Collect a rainbow of fallen leaves

Try to pick up as many different colors as you can. Take some time to figure out which nearby tree it has fallen from. Bring a guidebook with you on your hike and use the leaves to identify the tree. Some common trees in the Peninsula area are the Sassafras, Tulip, Hornbeam, Eastern Cottonwood, and Yellow Birch. Get to know them and soon every time you see their fallen leaves it will be like meeting an old friend. When you get home, arrange them to create a mandala pattern. It is a wonderful relaxation technique and will help relieve some stress. You can also dry the leaves and frame them to create a beautiful handmade work of art and a lasting memory of your day on the trail. Take a look below as some of the guidebook options Appalachian Outfitters offers:

National geographic pocket guides

Search for mushrooms

Don’t pick them for consumption unless you are confident in identifying them and are in place where mushroom hunting is allowed. Some popular fall mushrooms in this region include the puffball (true to its name it can grow to be the size of a soccer ball!), hen of the woods (it actually does taste just like chicken), and the shaggy mane (think a mushroom with a wig on). If you are going on a hike with a group of friends or family it can be fun to see who can spot the most mushrooms by the end of the hike. Take lots of pictures!

Puffball Mushroom
Puffball Mushroom

Hen of the Woods Mushroom
Hen of the Woods Mushroom. Image provided by: Forager Chef (foragerchef.com)

Shaggy Mane Mushroom
Shaggy Mane Mushroom

Join us for our Fall hiking series

Starting in September, we will be leading group hikes twice a week on different trails throughout the Cuyahoga National Valley. It’s a great way to connect with nature and make some new friends at the same time. More details to come!

What to wear

North face pull over

Now that you have some fall hiking activities to look forward to let’s talk about what you should wear while you’re out exploring. If there is one piece of information you take away from this article please let it be “LAYERS”. The layering system is key to enjoying a full day out on the trails during this time of year.

North face hoodie

Always bring a light jacket with you. It is Ohio after all and you never know when those blue skies will suddenly turn grey. A great one to choose is The North Face Fanorak. It is very lightweight and has a durable water repellent for those unexpected showers, plus it folds up nicely into itself turning into a fanny pack making it extremely easy to carry or throw in your backpack.

Another important tip is to bring a light but warm pullover or a hoodie. An example would be the Sherpa Dawa Hoodie. It’s super soft and will keep you warm when that chilly fall wind blows. It’s a full zip option and also comes with a hood.

Fjallraven pants

You will also want to ditch the thin, ultralight summer hiking pants you’ve been wearing and move into something a little thicker with a bit more durability. A popular pick is the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trouser or the Sherpa Jannu Pant. Both are comfortable and offer a great range of motion while providing nice warmth and protection. Wet leaves can be very slippery so wearing pants that won’t rip easily is always a smart idea.

Deuter day backpack

Where do you keep all these layers while you’re hiking? In your backpack! A perfect choice for a leisurely trail hike is the Deuter Futura 24. This pack features a 24-liter packing capacity which is large enough to store your water, small snacks, trail essentials, and your layers.

Happy Hiking! Hope to see you on the trails!

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