Tucked away in Mt. Airy Forest is a hidden gem that epitomizes everything I love about Cincinnati. Dubbed “Everybody’s Treehouse,” Mt. Airy Treehouse is as charming, unique and accessible as the Queen City herself, and is worth a visit with your family.
But let me back up, to Mt. Airy Forest. Mt. Airy Forest is a true Cincinnati treasure – as well as a shining example of reforestation and parks services. The originally forested land was cleared for agricultural use in the 19th century, and years of poor grazing and improper agricultural practices led to severe erosion and poor soil composition. The land was restored to a park in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, in the first urban reforestation project in the U.S.
Cincinnati may seem like an urban metropolis, but we’re actually a very green city. For example, Mt. Airy Forest boasts 700 acres of reforested hardwoods, 200 acres of forested evergreens, 269 acres of wetlands, 170 acres of meadows, and a 120-acre arboretum. It’s 1,459 acres of lush forest.
And at the center of that picture-perfect postcard is Mt. Airy Treehouse. It’s 14 feet tall and connected to 12 trees within the forest. It has whimsical, fairy-tale features, such as a winding (and wheel-chair accessible) ramp; a swirly, shingled roof; and windows with crooked branches as windowpanes. The views from the treehouse are breathtaking.
When you’re inside the treehouse, you feel as if you’re somewhere else. It’s dark and quiet… the perfect place to admire nature or ponder life (or dance, as my kids did). The views and experience of Mt. Airy Treehouse change with the weather and seasons, and it’s open year-round to everyone. You can’t reserve the treehouse, either; rather, it’s a public space for all Cincinnatians to enjoy. In fact, it’s the only treehouse in Ohio that is truly accessible to everyone.
Admission to Mt. Airy Forest is free – and it’s kind of a Cincinnati landmark – so you really do need to put this place on your bucket list. As the world continues to forge ahead in the midst of a pandemic, Mt. Airy Treehouse is a comforting reminder that we’re all in this together.
Mt. Airy Forest is located at 5083 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223.