Cincinnati’s parks provide hiking trails, bicycling trails, playgrounds, gardens, and other fun outdoor activities. Many of these parks are part of Hamilton County’s Great Parks, a collection of 21 parks scattered throughout the city.
Anyone with an annual motor vehicle pass, which costs $10 for Hamilton County residents and $15 for non-residents, can visit any of these parks.
While each park has its own set of benefits, my personal favorite is Glenwood Gardens, which is often ignored and considered one of Cincinnati’s best-kept secrets.
Glenwood Gardens is a 335-acre park located between Woodlawn and Glendale with three distinct attractions that attract visitors:
The Cotswold Visitor Centre is a huge home with a lovely view of the gardens below and a plethora of unique nature souvenirs for guests to buy.
Highfield Discovery Area is a 12-acre garden with plenty of space for young children to run around in. “Enter the garden to meet frogs, fairies, a sleeping dragon, tiny railways, and gorgeous plants,” according to Great Parks. While visiting there, you can bounce across a bridge, climb a 25-foot-tall play tree, or participate in daily environmental activities with a naturalist in the garden workshop.”
Walking/Hiking Trails: A 1.0-mile asphalt garden loop and a 1.6-mile gravel wetland loop weave around the park, providing magnificent views of trees, rivers, prairies, and gardens, among other things.
The well-kept pathways are by far the most popular draw for visitors to Glenwood Gardens, and it does not take long to feel as if you have entered another universe.
Glenwood Gardens: Hiking the Trails
There are two pathways at Glenwood Gardens:
- The Garden Loop is a 1.0-mile asphalt-paved trail popular with dog walkers, families with small children, and anybody looking for a pleasant stroll.
- The Wetland Loop is a 1.6-mile walk that branches off from the Garden Loop and features bridges, rivers, woodlands, a tiny marshy pond, and a couple of attractive viewing spots.
These two paths are illustrated in the figures below.
Whether you choose to hike the Garden Loop or the Wetland Loop, the trails have a single shared entry.
A small path goes from the entry to a small circular space with a fountain that provides an outstanding view-
The trail goes a little farther to the left, where you will find a lovely pavilion with a good view of the park below.
The paved walk continues for another half mile, after which you can choose to continue the Garden Loop or split off and begin the 1.6-mile Marshland Loop.
If you opt to begin the Wetland Loop, you will note that the trail immediately turns to gravel and that the view changes. A bridge, some forested areas, a little marshy pond, and a couple of incredible viewpoints await you.
After 1.6 miles, the Wetland Loop connects with the Garden Loop again via a bridge.
The Garden Loop
The Garden Loop continues for about an additional half mile before rejoining at the park’s entrance:
Glenwood Gardens is a beautiful place to visit.
Glenwood Gardens is a true Cincinnati hidden treasure that is worth a visit on any particular day.
You may visit the park, located at 10397 Springfield Pike in Cincinnati, OH 45215, and learn more about it at Great Parks of Hamilton County, which also hosts events throughout the year.