If you’re a senior living in Cincinnati, you know that autumn is one of the best times to go hiking. The weather is cool and mild — a light jacket is enough to keep you comfortable outdoors. And there are plenty of scenic parks and trails where Tristate seniors can go for a hike and take in the golden, orange and blazing red colors of the fall leaves.
Today, let’s take a look at four scenic places that nature-loving seniors will love to hike.
Also known locally as the “Loveland Bike Trail,” Little Miami State Park is a riverside, multi-use “rails to trails” pathway and nature preserve. The trail is wide and paved. It’s mostly flat, too, so it’s a great place to walk even for seniors of limited mobility. And much of it is tree-lined, with occasional scenic overlooks of the beautiful Little Miami River.
The park extends from its southern trail head near Lunken Airport all the way to Xenia, where it connects with other northeastward trails. The trail, in fact, extends unbroken all the way to Cleveland. Here at the system’s southwestern end, town stops are located roughly two to six miles apart, so there are always opportunities to come off the trail and grab a bite to eat.
And the preserve is home to dozens of wildlife species. You might glimpse owls, herons, hawks or a variety of woods-dwelling songbirds, plus a number of small animals like beavers, chipmunks, lizards and more!
2. John Bryan State Park (Yellow Springs, Ohio)
Just northeast of Cincinnati, near the quaint progressive college town of Yellow Springs, John Bryan State Park is another wonderful place to walk. It’s just a few miles from the headwaters of the Little Miami River, so the river is relatively narrow and shallow here, situated in a deep-cut, geologically young gorge.
You might try the old Pittsburgh-Cincinnati Stagecoach Trail — three miles of which run through the heart of the park, along the top of the breathtaking valley. There are a number of steps to navigate if you want to descend from the ridgetop, so seniors with limited mobility will want to stay along the North Rim.
But, for seniors in good physical shape, it’s worth the climb down and the mile and a half walk right next to the water.
The Caldwell Nature Preserve, part of the Hamilton County’s Great Parks system, is located on West North Bend Road, has a paved trail winding through old growth forest. Even seniors who use walkers or wheelchairs will find it easily navigable.
The trails wind along close to the banks of the Mill Creek. Seniors will enjoy the park’s nature center. And there are plenty of stops along the trail where you can rest and enjoy the quiet and the falling leaves!
4. Cincinnati Nature Center
East of Cincinnati, in Clermont County, is the Cincinnati Nature Center. The center is a conservation and natural research center, but is also open to visitors. It features award-winning trails that take you on a winding hike through forest and fields, and along the banks of beautiful streams.
The Center’s Rowe Woods area, located near Tealtown, includes 65 acres of old growth forest and more than 16 miles of walkable trails! And the preserve is home to many animal and plant species — some protected — that you won’t see on an everyday walk.
There are plenty of other fall hiking opportunities in and around Cincinnati.
These are just a few of our picks. If you’re really adventurous, and want to get out into some of Ohio’s wilderness regions, try out a few of the spots listed here. Or, scout out your own hiking spots and share your pictures of them on Facebook. Encourage other seniors to get out and explore with you!