Ohio is a great place for landscape and nature photographers. There are stunning waterfalls, deep gorges, woodlands, picturesque lakes, and wildlife. Here we’ll look at some of the most noteworthy places to photograph in the state of Ohio. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is conveniently located between Cleveland and Akron and is easy to access. This is one of the newer national parks having just received national park status in 2000, but is a favorite of many photographers. The Cuyahoga River runs through the park and there are several picturesque waterfalls. The park features steep ravines, farmlands, a scenic railroad, and a former stretch of the Ohio and Erie Canal.
Blue Hen Falls is not a big waterfall, but it is very picturesque. It can be reached with a short half-mile hike.
Brandywine Falls can easily be reached with just a short hike. The 65-foot waterfall is one of the most popular spots in the park, and you can also hike the trail around the gorge for even more views.
Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park is about a one-hour drive southeast of Columbus. This amazing park offers rock formations, a gorge, and waterfalls that photographers love. Old Mans’s Cave, Ash Cave, Rock House, and Cedar Falls are among the main attractions of the park. There are actually five separate sections of the park, so you will want to plan ahead and know where you want to go. Short hikes will take you to all of the best spots in the park. These trails range from about 1/4 mile to 3 miles.
The Clifton Gorge State Natural Preserve is in western Ohio, between Cincinnati and Columbus. Here you’ll find an awesome dolomite and limestone gorge, along with waterfalls. There are four short trails (0.5 miles to 1 mile) that lead to overlooks and other outstanding scenery.
Fallsville Wildlife Area
The Fallsville Wildlife Area is about 40 miles south of Clifton Gorge. Here you will find meadows and woodlands. There are also some ponds, as well as Clear Creek and a nice waterfall. There is a parking lot not far from the waterfalls.
Mentor Marsh Nature Preserve
The Mentor Marsh Nature Preserve is northeast of Cleveland around a channel of the Grand River. The area includes maple forest, an oak swamp forest, and a marsh. There are 4 miles of trails that allow you to photograph the surrounding wetlands.
Mohican State Park
Mohican State Park is in central Ohio, between Columbus and Akron. Here you can explore the Clear Fork Gorge, the Mohican River, and the area’s hemlock forest.
Mill Creek Park
Mill Creek Park is a 4,000-acre urban park in Youngstown. The park includes 20 miles of roads and 15 miles of hiking trails. There are lakes, streams, waterfalls, gardens, and more.
Lake Erie borders much of northern Ohio and offers plenty of opportunities for photography. The photo below was taken in Lorain Ohio, east of Cleveland.
Lorain West Breakwater Lighthouse
In Lorain and on Lake Erie, the Lorain West Breakwater Lighthouse is a great photographic subject (it is also visible in the photo above).
Ohio is home to one of the larger Amish populations. There are some great rural photo opportunities, including farms, that an be found by driving through the Amish County. Holmes County, which is southeast of Canton, is the best place for photographing Ohio’s Amish Country.
Hammertown Lake in Southern Ohio is also known as Jackson City Reservoir. The north end of the lake is accessible by County Road 76 and the south end by County Road 10.
The Wilds is a private safari park and conservation center in eastern Ohio. It is the largest wildlife conservation center in North America and contains animals from around the world. If you want to get a chance to photograph a wide variety of wildlife without traveling around the world, The Wilds is a great option. Safari tours are available that will get you close enough to many different animals.
The Krohn Conservatory is in Eden Park in Cincinnati. It contains more than 3,500 plant species in several different gardens and collections. This is a great location for photographing a wide variety of different flowers and plants.
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland Botanical Garden includes 10 acres of gardens, as well as the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse that contains plants and animals from the spiny desert of Madagascar and the cloud forest of Costa Rica.
Want to learn more about neighboring states? Please see:
- The Best Places to Photograph in Michigan
- The Best Places to Photograph in Indiana
- The Best Places to Photograph in Kentucky
- The Best Places to Photograph in West Virginia
- The Best Places to Photograph in Pennsylvania