Skyline Chili, goetta, flying pigs, and the magnificent Downtown skyline may be the first when you think about Cincinnati; there are a few things that come to mind. But there’s one more thing the Queen City should be recognized for its vast array of hiking opportunities.
Cincinnati is home to a variety of nature centers, forests, and public parks, all of which offer miles and miles of hiking paths ready to be explored.
We have compiled a list of the city’s top 12 hiking spots in this article.
Best Hiking Spots Map
The locations of all of the places mentioned in this article are shown on the map below.
Bender Mountain Nature Preserve
Bender Mountain Nature Preserve has six separate hiking routes, is one of Cincinnati’s more secret hiking spots. Each of the routes takes you through densely forested woodlands with hundreds of various plant species, as well as a few unique viewpoints that offer spectacular views of the Ohio River. This map will give you a visual representation of the six various trails.
Caldwell Nature Preserve
Caldwell Nature Park is a lesser-known nature preserve with several good hiking routes. The preserve, just west of Finneytown, features a mix of old-growth woodland and newly planted trees. Once you start walking, it’s simple to spot species such as birds, reptiles, and amphibians because they preserve about 3.5 miles of total pathways. Because it is frequently uncrowded, this site is also a particularly excellent place to immerse yourself in nature. Caldwell Nature Preserve is covered in detail in our Caldwell Nature Preserve guide.
California Woods Nature Preserve is one outdoor place that might make you feel you’ve entered another state. This preserve is a nature lover’s dream, with over 113 acres of forest and year-round nature educational events. A wide range of tree and plant species can be found in the preserve, and the Lick Run Creek that runs through it is home to kingfishers, turtles, mallards, beavers, and a variety of fish. This is an awesome place to go trekking at any time of year. Here’s a link to our entire guide to California Woods.
Cincinnati Nature Center
Next up is Cincinnati Nature Center, which many consider the best site in the city for truly immersing yourself in nature. This nature centre near Milford covers more than 1,000 acres (including 65 acres of old-growth forest) and has over 16 miles of hiking trails. The best part about this place is that all it takes is a few minutes of strolling on one of the pathways to feel as if you’ve entered another world.
The facility is open all year, but daily entrance for adults is $9, or you can acquire a yearlong membership for the same price. You may learn more about their admittance, hours, and fees by visiting their website.
Location: Covington, KY
Devou Park is also a great place to go hiking. The park encompasses over 700 acres and includes more than eight miles of hiking trails, its location across the Ohio River in Covington. If you want to get away from the rush and bustle of city life, this is a terrific place to visit. If you want to see a map of the trails, be sure to check out their brief trail guide here.
East Fork State Park
East Fork State Park, located about 25 miles east of Cincinnati, is another popular hiking destination near Cincinnati. This massive park, which spans 4,800 acres, has a plethora of dirt hiking trails. Unfortunately, there are few beaches where you may relax and enjoy the sand and ocean. Before you go, familiarise yourself with the region and the attractions by using this park map.
French Park is the next stop on the itinerary. This park, located in Amberley, is another relatively unknown Cincinnati park with good hiking paths. There are various pathways that weave in and out of forested sections and alongside creek beds across the park’s 275 acres. The outermost trail loop is around three miles long, but you can combine multiple trails to hike for as long as you like. Here’s where you can get a detailed guide to French Park.
Miami Whitewater Forest
Miami Whitewater Forest near Harrison is one of Cincinnati’s largest nature parks, with over 4,300 acres, making it an excellent site to go trekking. In addition, there are many dirt hiking paths, paved walking trails, and a 1.4-mile fitness trail to choose from.
Mt. Airy Forest
Location: Mt. Airy
Mt. Airy Forest is one of Cincinnati’s most popular hiking destinations. This park, which covers 1,459 acres, has a huge variety of hiking routes that all intertwine. These pathways are simple to spend several hours on, making them ideal for a hard multi-hour hike.
Location: North Bend
Shawnee Lookout is a 2,430-acre park on Cincinnati’s far west side borders Indiana and the Ohio River. Shawnee is noted for its Native American archaeological earthworks and various hiking paths that snake through forested areas and provide breathtaking vistas of the Ohio and Great Miami River valleys.
Location: Mt. Washington
Stanberry Park, near Cincinnati’s Mt. Washington area, is another fantastic place to go hiking. It’s a 125-acre park with a paved boardwalk and miles of dirt hiking paths winding through forested areas, streams, and forests.
Withrow Nature Preserve
Withrow Nature Preserve, a 270-acre park with a magnificent 1.6-mile Trout Lily nature route that goes through woodland and forested areas, is one of the most popular places to go hiking on the city’s east side. There’s a lovely picturesque river overlook about midway up the route with a couple of seats where you can enjoy the scenery. While this preserve does not have the longest trails in the city, it does have some of the most tranquil and well-kept hiking routes that are easy to enjoy. Click here to find out a detailed guide to Withrow Nature Preserve.