Fall is my favorite season… pumpkin spice, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the gorgeous Autumn colors (plus it’s my birthday). But the best way to experience a beautiful Cincinnati fall is to become one with nature. Take your entire family on some amazing local hikes to enjoy exercise, fun, wildlife and of course the red and orange hues of fall’s midwestern landscape.
Here’s a list of the best fall hikes around Cincinnati:
Just a two-hour drive south of Cincinnati awaits the magnificence of the Red River Gorge located in the Daniel Boone National Forest. With an estimated 500 miles of trails through rugged terrain made of sandstone cliffs and exposed limestone rock faces, your family can explore this amazing habitat which is home to hundreds of animal and tree species.
With more than 30 miles of hiking trails, Hocking Hills has something for every family member. This outdoor playground has scenic rock formations, waterfalls and unique forests. (Pictured: Ash Cave)
A great park for your beginner hikers. The park is a popular spot to exercise outdoors with a 2.6-mile paved multi-purpose trail around the lake, a 1.0-mile Parcours trail and the 0.7-mile Gorge nature trail. It’s one of my favorite hikes to experience the colors of fall.
Located in Amberley Village, French Park has gorgeous fall views of downtown Cincinnati. It’s famous for its itself miles of hiking trails, creeks, meadows and wooded hillsides.
With 224 acres, Ault Park has great walking trails to observe the ancient geology, nature and autumn features of Cincinnati.
Located around the campus and comprise over 1000 acres with 17 miles of hiking trails. In these Natural areas, your family can hike, jog, research, birdwatch, dog walk, explore, learn, discover, meditate or “just be”.
One of Ohio’s largest state parks, East Fork offers a great diversity of recreational opportunities and natural history only 25 miles from Cincinnati. The park’s terrain includes both rugged hills and open meadows, setting the stage to experience all of fall’s glory.
Located in Milford, Rowe Woods trails wind through Eastern deciduous forest, fields, streams and ponds. Rowe Woods spans 1,025 acres (including 65 acres of old growth forest) and offering more than 16 miles of hiking trails.
Ready to explore the beauty of fall, John Bryan is the most scenic state park in western Ohio. The 752-acre park contains a remarkable limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River which is designated as a state and national scenic river. A portion of the gorge itself is designated as a national natural landmark. Also, the home of the Clifton Gorge.
Located in Yellow Springs, Glen Helen encompasses 1000 acres, all accessible from a 25-mile network of footpaths providing views of spectacular wildflowers, 400 year-old trees, limestone cliffs with waterfalls and overhangs, and the beautiful yellow spring for which the town is named. A valuable resource for hiking, birding, and exploration.
This is a 2.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cincinnati, Ohio that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The Caldwell Preserve Nature Trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
And for some spooky hikes:
Oct. 20- 21 (7-8:30pm) at Caldwell Nature Preserve
Walk through a pumpkin-lit trail and meet costumed characters from nature and history. This is a non-scary holiday walk best suited for children ages 3-10. We request a ration of one adult for every 4 children. Cost is $6 per person. There is a $3.00 administrative fee (per order, not per ticket). Children 2 and under are FREE. Paid reservations required. For more information, please call (513) 321-6208.
Sunday Oct. 22 (Noon-3pm) Caldwell Nature Preserve
Sniff out some fun with your canine companion. Photo booth, canine costume contest, and goody bags to be filled while hiking our pumpkin lined trail. Registration is open, $10 per dog.
Oct. 28 (Noon-3pm) at Blue Ash Nature Park
Get dressed up early for Halloween and spend the afternoon trick-or-treating at the Blue Ash Nature Park! This event is geared towards children 10 and under and is free and open to the public!
Ainslie Gordon is a St. Louis, Missouri native and graduate of the University of Missouri’s Journalism School. Her career has focused on advertising, public relations and event planning. In 2011, Ainslie and her family moved to Cincinnati; and she became a stay-at-mom and founder of the blog, Modhousewife.
Additionally, she was a fashion/trends contributor on Fox 19 and Fox 2. Currently, Ainslie is the Marketing Director for Game On! Fitness. She is also a Girl Scout leader and enjoys volunteering throughout the community.