2020 has been many things — not all positive. As I’ve worked to keep my family healthy and happy during a pandemic, there’s been one very wonderful upside. This year, I have explored Cincinnati’s beautiful parks and trails with my kids. And I’ve made some delightful discoveries.
Take Sharon Woods. It’s one of Hamilton County’s Great Parks – perhaps the most popular and accessible. It’s definitely the most central; in fact, this park is just 10 minutes away from my house. Sharon Woods is 730 acres of glorious Ohio woods, wilderness and waterfalls, with one of the most beautiful trails in town: Sharon Gorge Trail.
Sharon Gorge Trail is a hidden treasure waiting to be explored.
This trail is kid friendly (.7 miles), flat and very accessible. And once you’re on the trail, it doesn’t take long to discover all sorts of treasures, including:
Sharon Woods Metro Park in Cincinnati contains 3 distinct cascades, the tallest of which being about 6-7 feet tall. Although the area surrounding Cincinnati is quite rugged, few waterfalls are publicly accessible in the area, making this one of the best places to view waterfalls for Cincinnati residents within Ohio. All three of the waterfalls can be viewed on the park’s gorge trail, which follows the cascading creek downstream away from the Kreis Dam at the edge of Sharon Lake.
While walking through the gorge, you can easily see the alternating layers of shale and limestone rock. (This is a great homeschool lesson, btw.) This is the same bedrock that is found throughout Greater Cincinnati. These fossil-filled rocks hail from the Ordovician period, about 450 million years ago.
Sharon Woods Gorge is rife with wildlife. In 1977, Sharon Woods Gorge was designated as a State Nature Preserve because it contains valuable examples of Ohio’s native plant and animal communities, geological features and the habitats of rare and endangered species. In fact, the Gorge is under the protection of the Ohio Natural Areas Act of 1970.
Access to Sharon Woods Gorge is free — you’ll simply need a Great Parks Pass (at $10/year, this is quite deal!). This Great Park is absolutely magical, and at its most beautiful in the fall. Definitely plan a trek at Sharon Woods Gorge this fall with your family.
Sharon Woods is located at 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, OH 45241. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk.