By Ann Myres
As the weather gets crisp and the leaves change colors, many people lace up their hiking boots and take to the trails. Southwest Ohio has a variety of parks and activities for those who want to get outside and connect with nature.
Check out some of our favorite spots:
Shaker Trace Outer Loop
9001 Mt. Hope Road
One of many paved trails in the Great Parks system. Meander through prairies and wetlands, and take a break at the wildlife station to view birds, frogs, turtles and more.
Bettman Sensory Garden and Nature Center
4 Beech Lane
A historic outdoor space with a series of wide walkways. Tucked away in O’Bryonville, this peaceful park includes an overlook and beautifully planted gardens.
The Vineyard Golf Course
600 Nordyke Road
Enjoy a round of golf without ever leaving the cart with Solo Rider, a specialized single-passenger golf cart. Eight Solo Rider carts are available at most Great Parks’ golf courses.
3251 Brookline Ave.
Spend the afternoon catching bluegill, catfish and other fish at the lake, which has an accessible station. Trails, shelters and more are also available at this 90-acre park in Clifton.
1212 Trail Ridge Road
An accessible treehouse in Mt. Airy Forest. It connects to 12 trees and has six ramps to give visitors of all abilities treetops views.
Winton Woods’ Boat Launch
10245 Winton Road
Launch your canoe, kayak or paddleboard into Winton Woods’ 175-acre lake with an ADA-accessible launch. Another ramp is located at Miami Whitewater Forest.
Looking for more adventures? Check out these Ohio state parks on the outskirts of the I-275 loop:
- Caesar Creek, 8570 E. State Route 73, Waynesville (Warren County)
- East Fork, 3294 Elklick Road, Bethel (Clermont County)
- Hueston Woods, 6301 Park Office Road, College Corner (Butler & Preble counties)
Visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website to learn more.
If you want to find people who share your interests, try these:
- Meetup: Meet new people who share your interests through online and in-person events. It’s free to create an account.
- Cincinnati Recreation Commission: recreational, cultural, educational and leisure activities, as well as programs and events.
- Cincinnati Hikes group: Discover new places, join group hikes, and engage with others who love the outdoors. Free Facebook profile required to join.
- Volunteer with Great Parks of Hamilton County or Cincinnati Parks. Both local park systems have robust volunteer programs with a variety of opportunities. Learn more at their websites.