Alley Park, part of the Lancaster Parks system, offers over 6 miles of barefoot-friendly trails winding their way through Hocking Hills topography. Some trails travel along ridgetops, others follow valleys, and then of course some run between the ridges and the valleys. It is easy to put together a hike of just about any distance, from 1/2 a mile to 3 miles within this park.
There are two lakes that provide wonderful scenery. Unfortunately, the two trails that circle the lakes have a bit of gravel on them that might be too challenging for the novice barefoot hiker. However, it is possible to avoid much of the gravel by walking along the edge of, or just off of, the trails.
There are plenty of other trails, though, with fully-natural surfaces. Some of the trails run right along side of the blackhand sandstone, and between slump blocks. Here you will be able to feel the texture of the sandstone under your feet. The Meadow Trail runs through grass, which seems to be mowed about every 2 weeks, so its length will depend on when it was last mowed. There are a few muddy spots in the park after it rains, but these are few and far between.
The park is filled with oak trees, so, after the gravel trails around the lakes, the most challenging part of hiking these trails is treading on acorns in the fall.
From Columbus take US 33 east to the Lancaster bypass. Take the bypass most of the way around Lancaster to Tarkiln Road. Turn left onto Tarkiln Road and pass the north bound 33 entrance ramp. Take the next left onto Old Logan Road SE (before the traffic light). Do not accidentally pass by Old Logan Road SE and turn onto Logan Lancaster Road SE at the traffic light. Follow Old Logan Road SE north less than 2 miles. The park is on the left.
Alley Park location and trail maps.
Lancaster Parks & Recreation has more information about Alley Park.
Have questions? Write the Ohio Barefoot Hikers.
Trail description provided by Robert