Just because the temperatures are frigid and there may be snow on the ground, there is no reason to stay cooped up inside on a sunny day. With proper precautions winter hiking can be exhilarating fun and good exercise. Be sure to dress in layers, wear comfortable and warm hiking boots, bring a compass and/or phone, grab a trail map, and check out these top 8 winter hiking spots around Lake Erie Shores & Islands.

Sheldon Marsh/Sawmill Creek Resort


Sheldon Marsh is a fantastic year-round trek, with a mile long paved trail that ends at a secluded Lake Erie beach. Beginning on US 6 with an arch marking the beginning of the old Cedar Point road, this path includes a marsh lookout along the way as well as several benches for resting and enjoying the surroundings. When snow is on the ground, visit the adjacent Sawmill Creek golf clubhouse to rent snowshoes for a unique hiking experience.

East Sandusky Bay MetroPark

A range of paths are available throughout this preserve, including treks through wetlands and to the Sandusky Bay coastline. Winter is a perfect time to be on the lookout for the park's resident eagles. A scheduled night hike with Erie MetroParks on January 11, 2017 from 7-9 pm will allow you to experience a different perspective of the trails.

James H. McBride Arboretum

This easy trail features a path around a scenic lake and through an array of evergreens. Asphalt paths are regularly plowed for winter walking ease.

Osborn Park

This park features a relatively flat perimeter path, but hikers can venture through a number of wooded and meadow trails for some variety. While you can walk with leashed pets through the trails, Osborn also features the MetroBark off-leash dog park near the Hull Road parking lot. The MetroPark Hikers group will walk Osborn MetroPark on January 18, 2017 at 10:30 am.

East Harbor State Park

Hiking paths at East Harbor State Park are well-marked year-round and during the winter the park even allows cross-country skiing and snowmobiling with your own equipment. Be sure to head towards the shore and view the dozens of ice shanties of those ice fishing on Sandusky Bay.

DuPont Marsh State Nature Preserve

Discover one of Ohio's last remaining river marshes with natural trails plus the adjacent paved south end of the Huron River Greenway MetroPark trail.

Castalia Quarry

This trail offers fantastic views, with a variety of terrain. Explore these trails with a fun group through the MetroPark Hikers program, which offers guided hikes twice a month at different parks. The MetroPark Hikers group will explore Castalia Quarry MetroPark on February 8, 2017 at 10:30 am.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

This national wildlife refuge features ungroomed or plowed trails so be sure to dress for the conditions. However the rewards are amazing…you may see Bald Eagles, Tundra Swans, and Sandtail Cranes.

Don't forget to check the weather before heading out and always hike with a friend. Where are your favorite Shores & Islands spots for a winter walk?