Spring weather has finally arrived, which leaves us all looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors and warmer temperatures! Taking a hike along one of the many fantastic nature trails in our area is the perfect way to spend a glorious spring day with your special someone. Read on for our roundup of great spots for hiking in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and get started on planning your next outdoor date adventure.
Cincinnati and surrounding areas:
- Caldwell Preserve – Featuring a nature center, amphitheater and more than 3 miles of walking trails, the Caldwell Preserve is great for beginner hikers. It has a level-paved trail that will ease you into enjoying all that nature has to offer.
- Cincinnati Nature Center – Take a hike through Rowe Woods, which is considered to be one of Cincinnati’s hidden gems. It’s 1,025 acres of old growth forest with more than 16 miles of hiking trails, so you’ll definitely have plenty of terrain to explore together!
- Mt. Airy Forest – The Mt. Airy Forest is a well-rounded park area with something for everyone. Bridle trails, if you are a horseback rider, an enclosed dog park for your furry friends, disc golf and miles of hiking trails. They even have a treehouse, Everybody’s Treehouse!
- Woodland Mound – Not only can you hike, but you can also mountain bike, geocache and even take advantage of the Parcours fitness stations along the Shaker Trace Trail.
- England/Idlewild Park and Dog Park – This park features a 24-hole Championship Disc Golf Course! There are also 1.8 miles of paved walking/hiking trails. Other features include soccer fields, picnic tables and a playground.
- Devou Park Trails – Breathtaking views of the city and more than a dozen hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty make this an excellent choice when choosing a park for a hiking date.
- Doe Run Lake – You can hike the perimeter of Doe Run Lake, and escape the hustle and bustle of the city with just a short drive from home. The terrain is varied, so if you are hiking for a workout along with the serene quality of the locale, this is a great spot… and you can’t get more romantic than a stroll beside a tranquil lake.
- Highland Cemetery Nature Trails – It isn’t the first place you’d think of when you think of taking a fun hike, but Highland Cemetery has 150 acres of wooded forest preserve, with a great trail system making it perfect for a fun spring date.
Technically you could make these hikes a day trip since most are a fairly easy drive, Red River Gorge being the furthest, at approximately 3 hours from Cincinnati, but if you are looking for a fun weekend getaway in nature these are definitely at the top of the list.
- Red River Gorge – Probably the most well known and respected hiking areas in the state of Kentucky. Wildlife, lush surroundings,and amazing scenic overlooks. Bonus: Natural Bridge State Park. If you are a hiker, this is a “must do” and a fabulous weekend getaway.
- Hocking Hills – About a 2 1/2 hour drive north east will have you at scenic Hocking Hills. Cabin rentals are available for weekend getaways. Trails aren’t too strenuous, giving you a reason to take it slow and enjoy the scenery.
- Yellow Springs – This is definitely the spot if you are looking for a weekend getaway that offers the whole package: shopping, galleries, restaurants, pubs, street performers, public art, movies, theaters, festivals, and of course – abundant opportunities for hiking and nature exploration. Don’t forget to top off your visit with a stop by Young’s Jersey Dairy for ice cream or you’ll regret it!
This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great spots for hiking in our area. There are literally dozens of amazing spaces, some just outside of your front door that offer amazing views, scenic strolls and fun hiking experiences. Do you have a favorite hiking spot? Share in the comments.
As with all seasonal activities, make sure the trails are dry and open for hiking before you head out. Pack plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen and insect repellent. Also, make sure you and your date are dressed appropriately for the weather.