Summer is prime time for new adventures, and one of the most interesting places to explore is Hoover Reservoir, which offers enough outdoor entertainment for 10 seasons.
Summer is prime time for new adventures, and one of the most interesting places to explore is Hoover Reservoir, which offers enough outdoor entertainment for 10 seasons. Hoover is beautiful, but its size can intimidate first-time users. Many want to visit - they just don't know where to start. Below you'll find eight entry points for discovering one of Central Ohio's coolest waterways. Sailing (Spring, Summer, Autumn) Hoover Sailing Club 4250 Smothers Rd., Westerville hooversailingclub.com For aspiring captains, Hoover Sailing Club offers classes through mid-August that accommodate a range of experience levels. Landlubbers can watch fleet races scheduled from 1-6 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 21. A great viewing spot lies in the northeast corner of Sunbury and Smothers roads. Insider info: During many club races, novice boaters can hitch a ride with a sailor who needs an extra pair of hands on deck. Windsurfing (Summer) Wind Over Water Sailing School 5530 Red Bank Rd., Galena wowsailingschool.com Sailboards are an exciting way to cut across the waves, and instructor Doug Golding can teach you to master one at his Wind Over Water Sailing School, which is operated from his quaint lakeside house. Classes run through Sept. 9. Insider info: Hoover's winds are weird. Many believe that if you can sail there, you can sail anywhere. Hiking (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) Hoover Meadows 3715 Sunbury Rd., Galena Part of a nature preserve in the reservoir's northeastern corner, Hoover Meadows boasts grassy paths, prairies, marshes and thin forest tracts. Columbus Audubon has recorded around 188 bird species there, and wildflowers pepper the wide grasslands. Insider info: Can't tell a goose from a goldfinch? Visit ohioyoungbirders.org to meet the kids behind the Ohio Young Birders Club. Paddling (Spring, Summer, Autumn) Twin Bridges Boat Ramp 4856 Red Bank Rd., Galena The Twin Bridges Boat Ramp provides access to a quiet, protected cove - a great place to launch if you don't want to deal with high winds and heavy boat traffic. With enough water, paddlers can slink east beneath Red Bank Road to find even more secretive waters. Insider info: Check ColumbusParent.com for a video about kayaking from the Twin Bridges Boat Ramp. Birding (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk Front and West streets, Galena Birders use the 1,500-foot-long Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk to watch shorebirds in spring and fall, while fishermen cast lines when the water levels are high enough. Even without binoculars or tackle, it's one of the reservoir's must-see attractions. Insider info: The northern mudflats often go bone dry in summer, so head to the boardwalk in wetter weather. Disc golf (Spring, Summer, Autumn) Brent Hambrick Memorial Disc Golf Course 2466 Central College Rd., Westerville columbusdiscgolf.com Located near the dam, this free 27-hole course is one of the region's best. Some fairways traverse wide fields, while others sit within notoriously tight forests. Don't miss a chance to air it out on a scenic shot from the top of the dam. Insider info: The Brent Hambrick Memorial Open - an annual stop on the Professional Disc Golf Association tour - will be held Aug. 4-5. Biking (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) Sunbury Road Bikeway Sunbury and Central College roads, Westerville tinyurl.com/BikeWesterville This 1.8-mile trail runs along the reservoir's western shore between Central College and County Line roads and offers a flat, paved pedal with stunning views of the water. It's a great way to get everyone in the family on two wheels. Insider info: Much of Westerville's extensive trail network is accessible from the Sunbury Road Bikeway, so many longer rides can start from here. Fishing (Spring, Summer, Autumn) Oxbow Road, Westerville tinyurl.com/HooverFish East of North Shore Drive, Oxbow Road becomes a thin, tree-lined gravel route that juts across a peninsula. There, anglers find plenty of shade and several quiet coves that await your casts. Hoover's known for crappie, catfish, bass and saugeye. Insider info: Grab live bait, fishing licenses and convenience items at Red Bank Food & Beverage, 7001 Sunbury Rd. in Westerville.