Creekin’ at the Loveland Nature Preserve

The Loveland Nature Preserve is a hidden gem for families searching for an easy day hike

At the top of our summer bucket list every year is “go creeking” or “skip rocks on the river.” We found just that at the Loveland Nature Preserve.

There’s something about shallow rocky water, clay filled banks and buried fossils that spark our adventurous side.

trail
O' Bannon
O' Bannon Creek
Creek

Getting lost in the woods with your littles has its benefits, you tend to become more of a team. Discovery along the banks happens with every step, especially if you’re into rocks like we are. A family tradition we’reĀ  passing on is the hunt for friendship rocks. Friendship rocks have a perfectly circular hole etched out from years of rushing water indenting through. Like a friendship that never ends, neither does the circle inside the friendship rock.

At the East Loveland Nature Preserve, well traveled trails make this an easy hike for children of all ages. The preserve is rarely crowded, as many don’t know of its existence. Along the main trail, several benches and signs sit so you can rest and learn about the beautifully maintained preserve. Pack your bag for collecting rocks and fossils, as the creek is plentiful!

O' Bannon Creek sign
deer

Many smaller trails off-shoot down to O’ Bannon Creek, which eventually meets the Little Miami River at Nisbet Park. The Little Miami funnels into the Ohio River, which flows into the Mississippi River and down to the Gulf of Mexico. What an impressive distance from Loveland Nature Preserve!

Wildlife at the Preserve

At the preserve, you may encounter friendly wildlife like Whitetail deer, shad minnows, daddy long legs and birds of all colors. About half a mile in, a large wooden bird blind and benches allow for a quieter peek at the many bird species of the preserve. Perfectly placed bird feeders welcome Cardinals, Blue Jay, Sparrows, Finches and Wrens.

bird blind

A walk over the short foot bridge takes you straight into the fully shaded woods where the dirt trail veers left or right, making a complete circle. For an easy day hike, including time exploring in the creek, families can complete the loop in about one hour.

The Loveland Nature Preserve is located at 343 E Loveland Ave, Loveland 45140

Open dawn to dusk, year round.

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