"I was born for this!" my young son shouted as he skittered away across the rocks lining the pool of water at the base of the Hayden Run Falls. Setting aside for a moment my concern that he'd crack his head open, I had to step back and admire the effect that our visit to this little urban oasis had on him.

In case you've never heard of it, Hayden Run Falls are like a miniature version of the Hocking Hills wonders, but right here within shouting distance of suburbia. You've got your towering cliffs (about 25 feet tall), abundant greenery this time of year and (usually) a waterfall of some volume flowing right off the top of the cliff into a broad pool below where you can spy crawfish and other multi-cellular life forms.

The whole thing, technically known as a gorge and technically part of the Griggs Reservoir Park, is tucked away on the southwest side of the Scioto River, just beyond the bridge there at the intersection of Riverside Drive (aka Rt. 33) and Hayden Run Road (which is what Hayden Road turns into after it stops being Bethel Road got that?). There's a parking lot to the north of the falls and you can now hike down to the falls on a set of wooden stairs, thoughtfully erected back in 2005. (Yeah, I know, half the fun before was tripping down the rocky hill, but the stairs and official observation boardwalk are better for the environment and preservation of the site, etc., etc., etc.).

Now I will warn you I've known two different families whose cars got broken into, in broad daylight, parked in that lot along Hayden Run Road, but they also said they had left their cars unlocked. So lock them. And then go enjoy an escape from suburbia, right within suburbia.

-- Jane Hawes, Editor of the new Columbus Parent