Best Places to Hike with Kids | Cincinnati & Dayton

Spring is the perfect time to go for a hike. In addition to fresh air and exercise, hiking offers a healthy, socially distanced activity you can enjoy with your family. And with our excellent park systems, there are so many great places to explore.

Check out this list of the best places to hike in Cincy and Dayton with kids:

Sharon Woods

As one of the most family-friendly parks in the city, we had to include Sharon Woods on the list. There’s so much to do aside from hiking, but don’t forget about the trails that do show off the natural beauty of this park. There’s a paved trail that is great for strollers and if you want to have a bit more adventure, try the Gorge Trail. And don’t forget to seek out Cincinnati’s most beautiful waterfall! With the hiking trails, indoor play area, Heritage Museum, and frequent events, Sharon Woods can easily provide enough family fun for an entire day. Grab lunch and ice cream at the Sharonville Root Beer Stand!

Withrow Nature Preserve

Withrow Nature Preserve is nestled in the trees and features the scenic 1.7-mile Trout Lily nature trail located in Anderson Township. Very easy for kids to hike and explore the local wildflowers and wildlife.

Stonelick State Park

The Friends of Stonelick have focused their volunteer efforts on creating a fun outdoor space for families to grow together. Hike the many trails of the state park, play frisbee golf on the brand new course, kayak around the lake with campground boat rentals and more!

Miami Whitewater Forest

If you need a hiking trail that is stroller friendly, then check out Miami Whitewater Forest. They have a fully paved trail that is still filled with plenty of nature, so family members of all ages will enjoy it. There’s a creek that’s perfect for rock skipping and even wading on a hot day, and you can choose the shorter path or challenge the family to the 8-mile loop through woods, wildflowers, and open fields.

Cincinnati Nature Center – Rowe Woods

If you have yet to explore the Cincinnati Nature Center as a family, then definitely add this to the top of your list! There are several hiking trails that are easy enough for young children, but I would opt for a carrier versus stroller; it wouldn’t do very well on the mostly dirt pathways. After your hike, make sure to save time to visit the Nature Playscape, which is pretty much a child’s dream come true.

Big Bone Lick State Park

For a unique, family-friendly hike, head to Northern Kentucky and Big Bone Lick State Park. This historic land is filled with interesting recreations and even a museum and there are two short hikes that are perfect with little ones. The first leads to the salt licks and is a lovely wooded trail. And you have to take the quick hike to see the rare herd of bison that roam in the park.

Mt. Airy Forest

Another hidden gem in Cincinnati, Mt. Airy Forest is 1,459 acres of natural beauty. You can check out an actual hiking trail in the park, or just wander around the Arboretum area and enjoy a picnic at one of many spots. The kids will also love the incredibly unique treehouse – one of the most magical spots in the city.

Mitchell Memorial Forest

This large park on the west side of Cincinnati is known for its amazing mountain bike trails, but there is also a trail that is perfect for kids. The Wood Duck Trail is about a mile long, easy enough for all ages, and provides a variety of scenery. There’s also a playground nearby for more fun after the hike.

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.

Farbach Werner Nature Preserve

Farbach Werner is another stroller-friendly park with a fun little hiking trail that’s great for kids. The path takes you through a wooded area, unique plant life and a lovely little pond. The Preserve also often offers kid-friendly events, so that’s something else to keep an eye out for!

French Park

French Park is a gorgeous, centrally located natural oasis in Amberley Village. The park has a 3-mile trail that is great for kids; the hike is mostly shaded and the perfect blend of easy, yet interesting, to keep the attention of kids of all ages.

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. 

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