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Marion Tallgrass Trail

Updated: Apr 26

Marion Tallgrass Trail

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“In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Marion Tallgrass Trail

We had an appointment in Marion, and we wanted to make the most of our trip by checking out a local trail. The rain had been crazy in the previous weeks, so we wanted to find a paved trail that wasn’t going to be a sloppy mess. This place was a great choice, for the most part.

The First 2 Miles

The Marion Tallgrass Trail is a 12.44-mile trail that follows along the abandoned Erie-Lackawanna railroad. It is straight, flat and paved. It does not loop. At one point only 3.7 miles was asphalt, but from what we have been reading the whole thing is now paved. We cannot say for sure if that is actually the case.

Concrete Phone Booth

We got there pretty late, so we couldn’t get much walking in before we started losing daylight. We managed to get in 4 miles (in and back). There is a section of trail (Lakeside Trail) that sits alongside the edge of Marion Community Foundation Lake. It is not paved and was holding water in several areas.

The Marion Tallgrass Trail is well kept and has benches set up sporadically. There is very little to no elevation change. The Ohio trail is a great getaway for a leisurely stroll or biking. For the average person wanting to get outside and enjoy an easy walk, Marion Tallgrass Trail is a nice place to visit.

Next to the parking lot are 3 huge wind turbines. You can't miss them.

The first section of the trail passes through a wooded area and crosses 2 old railroad bridges. We went in March, so there weren’t any leaves on the trees. But during the summer months, there should be plenty of shade to keep you cool. Once you pass the lake, you cross Herr Road. The next section of the trail makes its way through a farm field. It is wide open with no shade for approx. 1650 ft. After the clearing, you make your way back into a wooded area.

Intersection at Herr Road

Marion Community Foundation Lake

Lakeside Trail is an unpaved trail that is .8 mile in length. It follows around the edge of Marion Community Foundation Lake. The trail is constructed of gravel. On the northern side of the trail is Marion Airfoils. When the club is flying radio-controlled aircraft, a portion of the trail is closed off.

Lakeside Trail

The lake spans 53 acres and is used for boating and fishing. Although boating is allowed, powerboats are prohibited. Only human-powered watercraft are permitted. A fishing license is required to fish the pond.

There is an observation deck that gives a great view of Marion County Foundation Lake. It is off-limits for fishing, unless someone needs handicap accessible fishing. The deck is easily reachable off of the paved trail.

When we visited the lake in March, there were several Canada Geese and Ring-billed Gulls. It is also known to be a good place to spot Bald Eagles, Trumpeter Swans, Tundra Swans, migratory waterfowl, beavers, fox, deer, minks, muskrats and coyote.


We visited the Ohio trail in early March, so the birding wasn’t great yet. There were several birdhouses set up along the path. We were hoping to see some different waterfowl, but only saw Canada Geese and Ring-billed Gulls at the lake.

Ring-billed Gull

Birds we spotted:

Our Thoughts

The trail was an easy walk, but if you are wanting something a little more challenging this is not the place. This is just the first 2 miles. We didn’t get to check out the rest of the trail. That will be for another day.

There were also a lot of people for the time of year. If you want a more serene relaxing place to visit without a lot of people, you should go elsewhere. However, most people were polite and courteous.

This trail is nice and is a great addition to the community. It was very clean. It seems to be more of a place for families to hang out rather than take in the scenic beauty and get some exercise.

Glass Insulators

What You Can Expect at Marion Tallgrass Trail

Please note that park rules and regulations can change at any time. The following information was in effect for Marion Tallgrass Trail as of March 2020.

Recycling Toilet at Walnut Woods Metro Park

There was a porta potty that was located at the Holland Road parking lot.

Bicycles are Permitted at Walnut Woods Metro Parkl

Bicycles are permitted.

Birding at Walnut Woods Metro Park

This looks like a great place for birding. There are open fields, areas of trees and water features.

Bridges at Walnut Woods Metro Park

We crossed 2 old railroad bridges in the first 2 miles.

Concealed Carry is permitted at Marion Tall Grass Trail

Concealed carry is permitted.

Dog park at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Well behaved dogs are permitted, if they are kept on a leash.

Little to no elevation change at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Very little to no elevation change.

Paved parking areas at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Paved parking area is located at the trail head. Parking lot has approximately 45 spots. I do not recall seeing any specified ADA spaces.

Picnic tables at Walnut Woods Metro Park

There are picnic tables located in the shelter house/nature center.

Playground at Walnut Woods Metro Park

There is playground located at the Holland Road entrance.

Seating is available along trails at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Quite a bit of seating is available along the trail.

Shade at Walnut Woods Metro Park

The Marion Tallgrass Trail should have plenty of shade during the spring, summer and fall months.

Shelter house at Walnut Woods Metro Park

A shelter house is attached to the nature center.

Trails at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Trail is asphalt and easy to see and navigate.

Paved Trails at Walnut Woods Metro Park

The Marion Tallgrass Trail is asphalt. It is in great shape.

Trash cans at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Trash cans are located at the shelter house. We also spotted another can along Lakeside Trail.

Waterways at Walnut Creek Metro Park

There is a large 53 acre lake. Human-powered boating and fishing are permitted.

ADA accessible trails and parking at Walnut Woods Metro Park

We did not see any specified ADA parking spaces. However the trail is perfect for wheelchairs. It is very smooth, with little to no elevation change.

Canoe access at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Human-powered boating is permitted in Marion Community Foundation Lake.

Fishing at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Fishing is permitted in Marion Community Foundation Lake.

Kiddie sledding at Walnut Woods Metro Park

Special Features – There are quite a few old poles that still have some of their original glass insulators still attached. There is also an old concrete telephone booth located near the beginning of the trail.

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