Best Places for a Fall Hike

One of the best way to experience a beautiful Ohio fall is to become one with nature. Take your entire family on some amazing local hikes to enjoy exercise, fun, wildlife and of course the red and orange hues of fall’s midwestern landscape.

Here’s a list of the best fall hikes around Southwest Ohio:

Red River Gorge

Just a two-hour drive south of Cincinnati awaits the magnificence of the Red River Gorge located in the Daniel Boone National Forest. With an estimated 500 miles of trails through rugged terrain made of sandstone cliffs and exposed limestone rock faces, your family can explore this amazing habitat which is home to hundreds of animal and tree species.

Hocking Hills

With more than 30 miles of hiking trails, Hocking Hills has something for every family member. This outdoor playground has scenic rock formations, waterfalls and unique forests. (Pictured: Ash Cave)

Sharon Woods

A great park for your beginner hikers. The park is a popular Cincinnati spot to exercise outdoors with a 2.6-mile paved multi-purpose trail around the lake, a 1.0-mile Parcours trail and the 0.7-mile Gorge nature trail. It’s one of my favorite hikes to experience the colors of fall.

French Park

Located in Amberley Village, French Park has gorgeous fall views of downtown Cincinnati. It’s famous for its itself miles of hiking trails, creeks, meadows and wooded hillsides.

Ault Park

With 224 acres, Ault Park has great walking trails to observe the ancient geology, nature and autumn features of Cincinnati.

Five Rivers MetroParks

Five Rivers MetroParks are home 160 miles of paved and natural surface trails for hiking, cycling, mountain biking and more. The greater Dayton region is home to more than 340 miles of recreation trails – the nation’s largest paved trail network – and 270 miles of river corridor. There is a trail for every interest, fitness level and ability. Whether you are simply looking to appreciate nature or you want a trail steeped in history…or maybe you want to best trail for taking Fido along, Five Rivers MetroParks offers a comprehensive roundup of all of their best hiking trails, here.

East Fork State Park

One of Ohio’s largest state parks, East Fork offers a great diversity of recreational opportunities and natural history. The park’s terrain includes both rugged hills and open meadows, setting the stage to experience all of fall’s glory.

Cincinnati Nature Center

Located in Milford, Rowe Woods trails wind through Eastern deciduous forest, fields, streams and ponds. Rowe Woods spans 1,025 acres (including 65 acres of old growth forest) and offering more than 16 miles of hiking trails.

John Bryan State Park

Ready to explore the beauty of fall, John Bryan is the most scenic state park in western Ohio. The 752-acre park contains a remarkable limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River which is designated as a state and national scenic river. A portion of the gorge itself is designated as a national natural landmark. Also, the home of the Clifton Gorge.

Glen Helen Nature Preserve

Located in Yellow Springs, Glen Helen encompasses 1000 acres, all accessible from a 25-mile network of footpaths providing views of spectacular wildflowers, 400 year-old trees, limestone cliffs with waterfalls and overhangs, and the beautiful yellow spring for which the town is named. A valuable resource for hiking, birding, and exploration.

California Woods Nature Preserve

California Woods Nature Preserve

California Woods is 133 acres of sprawling, sun-drenched woods, reminiscent of Hocking Hills. It’s hilly and full of wildlife. There are six hiking trails, ranging from the .16-mile Twin Oaks Trail to the mile-long Junction Trail, so there’s something for families of all ages.

Caldwell Nature Preserve

This is a 2.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cincinnati, Ohio that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The Caldwell Preserve Nature Trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

And for some “spooky” themed hikes:

Magic Forest Halloween Hikes

Friday, October 21st, 2022 | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. | Caldwell Nature Preserve, 430 W. North Bend Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45216 

Walk through a pumpkin-lit trail meeting costumed characters from nature and history. This is a non-scary holiday walk best suited to children ages 3-10 years. Hikes start at 6:00 p.m. for our younger audiences, and leave every 5 minutes until 8:30 p.m. Each hike lasts about one hour. Make it a family tradition. This event is held entirely outdoors. Please dress accordingly for the weather. Closed toed hiking shoes are encouraged. Please be advised, the trail is not stroller friendly. There are stairs and some uneven footing on parts of this trail. Call 321-6208 for information.

Magic Forest Pumpkin Walk

Saturday, October 22nd, 2022 | 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. | Caldwell Nature Preserve, 430 W. North Bend Road, Cincinnati, OH 45216

Looking for the quiet of autumn, but still want the beauty and magic? Maybe costumed characters are not your thing? Join us on a bright moonlit October night to enjoy the jack-o-lanterns and luminaries on the trail. This a great “date night for adults” or a low-key walk for families. Groups leave every 5 minutes. This event is held entirely outdoors. Please dress accordingly for the weather. Closed toed hiking shoes are encouraged. Please be advised, the trail is not stroller friendly. There are stairs and some uneven footing on parts of this trail.


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