Hamilton County Parks offer scenic spring destinations

By Maggie Deller

As spring weather begins returning to Cincinnati, flowers bloom and grass grows in local parks. Opportunities to do activities like Frisbee golf, canoeing and kayaking, playing ball, walking on scenic trails, riding bicycles, and more are all available at the Great Parks of Hamilton County. Tune into nature by visiting these local parks while enjoying the warming weather.

The Great Parks of Hamilton County offers day passes, which last for 24 hours and can be used for multiple parks. The price of a daily pass is $3 for a Hamilton county resident, and $5 for a non-Hamilton County resident. The Great Parks also sells annual passes. One pass permits one motor vehicle to enter any Hamilton County park for one year. The price of an annual pass for a resident of Hamilton County is $10, while a non-resident pass is $14. The passes also include coupons that can be used for gift certificates and other benefits.

According to Great Parks of Hamilton County, their mission is “to preserve and protect natural resources and to provide outdoor recreation and education in order to enhance the quality of life for present and future generations.” For additional information, visit the Great Park’s website. Disclaimer: All photos were taken during March of 2018 when the weather was cold and snowy.

Woodland Mound

Information

Woodland Mound Park includes walking and bicycle paths, a gift shop, hiking trails, a Parcours trail, shelters available with reservations, a playground and water park, and an 18-hole Frisbee golf course. The trails range from 0.6 miles (Hedgeapple trail) to 1.2 miles (Shared-use trail), according to Great Parks of Hamilton County. The Seasongood Nature Center on site offers a bird-watching station and children’s programs. To contact the Nature Center, call 513-474-0580. The location is 8250 Old Kellogg Road, Cincinnati, OH 45255.

Review

This park is definitely a crowd’s favorite. The trails are nicely paved and scenic, and the overlooks are well worth the visit. The whole park is very well kept, and the Visitor’s Center is informative and helpful. The Frisbee golf course is especially picturesque and large. Students are recommended to visit because this park offers activities of all interests and the park is so vast that it seems endless. This park receives 5 out of 5 trees.

5!!!!!!!!!

Withrow Nature Preserve

Information

Withrow Nature Preserve includes the Trout Lily hiking trail, which is 1.7 miles long. This park also includes a rentable area for weddings, including a party area called Highwood Lodge. The gazebo in the park is available for pictures too. This 270-acre park is located at 7075 Five Mile Road, Cincinnati, OH 45230.

Review

This park is the perfect location to photograph nature or to take personal pictures. The gazebo especially can make one feel as if he/she is in a fairytale. The hiking trail is charming, surrounding walkers with nature. While the park is small, the beauty of it is worth the visit. Students are especially recommended to visit because it is a wonderful place to take pictures before a dance. This park receives 4 out of 5 trees.

4

Glenwood Gardens

Information

Glenwood Gardens is a cultivated park that offers two trails and the Highfield Discovery Garden. The Highfield Discovery Garden includes seven smaller gardens, such as the Butterfly Garden and the Vegetable Garden. For more information and admission prices for the garden, contact 513-771-8733 or visit their website. The walking trails include the Garden Loop (1.1 miles) and the Wetland Loop (1.6 miles). This park also includes Nature’s Niche Gifts & Books, which sells items from artwork to bird feeders. Glenwood Gardens is located at 10397 Springfield Pike, Woodlawn, OH 45215.

Review

The widely paved paths of Glenwood Gardens are beautiful as they wind through gardens and over creeks. Even a black snake was spotted enjoying the park, swimming lazily through the water.  The gift shop workers were extremely kind and told of the rich history of the building that they worked in. The park is large and includes many opportunities to get in tune with nature. This is a perfect park to walk a dog in or take younger cousins to. This park receives 5 out of 5 trees.

5!!!!!!!!!

Winton Woods

Information

According to Great Parks of Hamilton County, Winton Woods is a 2,555-acre large park that includes ball fields, Parky’s farm, a boathouse, golf and Frisbee golf courses, horseback riding opportunities, canoe and kayak launches, a playground, hiking trails and bicycle trails, a Parkour park, a campground, and eighteen rentable shelters. This park includes the Adventure Outpost, which teaches backpacking, archery, kayaking, and more in a team atmosphere. To learn more, contact 513-521-2345. According to Great Parks of Hamilton County, Winton Woods Harbor is available to rent boats, paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and bikes, and includes a playground. Winton Woods is located at 10245 Winton Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231.

Parky’s Farm is an addition to Winton Woods. This 100-acre farm includes animals such as miniature horses, alpacas, sheep, chickens, cows, and horses. Pony rides are open to children under 48’’ of height, at $3 per rider. For children aged between 2 and 12 years, Parky’s Playbarn is $4 per child. Wagon rides are $2.50 per guest and free for kids under two years of age. For more information about Parky’s Farm, contact 513-521-3276.

Review

Winton Woods includes excellent hiking trails and beautiful views of the vast water. The visitor’s center is very informative, and includes a live turtle and frog for observation. The campground includes four cabins that appear very clean and homey. The park is large and may be difficult to navigate, but maps are available for guidance. Parky’s Farm has a wonderful barnyard aesthetic, and the animals present are well behaved and friendly. Students are recommended to visit because of the opportunity for horse rides, the multiple well-paved trails, and the countless activities offered. This park receives 5 out of 5 trees.

5!!!!!!!!!

Fernbank Park

Information

Located on the west side of Cincinnati, Fernbank Park offers a riverside view, a playground, and two shelters available for reservations. Fernbank Park has a flat walking trail 1.2 miles long, the Sycamore hiking trail of 1 mile, and availability for fishing in the Ohio River. The location is 50 Thornton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45233.

Review

This park is deemed both hammock and picnic-worthy. The serene river looks beautiful, lined with the shared-use trail. This park has an utterly peaceful atmosphere. Students are recommended to visit to get a breath of fresh air and spend the day watching as barges and boats drift lazily down the river. This park receives 4 out of 5 trees.

4

Shawnee Lookout

Information

This 2,430-acre park offers three hiking trails, Little Turtle of 2 miles, Miami Fort of 1.4 miles, and Blue Jacket of 1.3 miles. Shawnee Lookout offers a golf course, which, according to Great Parks of Hamilton County, is “slow paced” and many wild animals have been spotted on the course. For more information and prices for the golf course, contact 513-941-0120 or visit their site. They also display a log cabin full of history. The location is at 2008 Lawrenceburg Road, North Bend, OH 45052.

Review

The vast size of the steep golf course was eye opening as the extent was impressive. Walking the trails, and even just entering the park, can give people a feeling of complete detachment from the business of the world around. Shawnee Lookout can make people feel surrounded by nature. This park has earned 5 out of 5 trees.

5!!!!!!!!!

Otto Armleder Memorial Park & Recreation Complex

Information

Otto Armleder Memorial Park & Recreation Complex offers walking trails, soccer fields, a playground, entry to the Little Miami River, and a dog park that does not require leashes. According to Great Parks of Hamilton County, the dog park is 10 acres, and the walking trail that connects to the Lunken Airfield loop is 2.9 miles long. To reserve a soccer field, call 513-352-4020. The location is 5057 Wooster Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45226.

Review

One of the best aspects of this park is the abundance of visiting dogs. At the site, the furry animals run around and socialize with one another. The trail at this park is especially convenient because it is flat, an easy plane to exercise on. The bridge overlooking the creek, as seen below, is serene, and the woods surrounding is enchanting. Students are recommended to visit this park because it gives off a relaxing vibe and the trail is beautiful. The park seems prairie-like, however lacks greenery around the trails, appearing dry. This park receives 3.5 out of 5 trees.

3.5

Sharon Woods

Information

The Great Park of Sharon Woods includes structures such as the Heritage Village Museum, a gift shop, a lodge, shelters, and a banquet center, according to Great Parks of Hamilton County. The park has three trails: The Gorge Trail (0.7 miles), Shared-use trail (2.6 miles), and a Parcours trail (1 mile). This park includes picture-worthy scenery including bridges, a creek, and forest. The park is located at 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, OH 45241.

Sharon Woods Harbor is described by Great Parks of Hamilton County as, “the hub of the park.” The harbor opens into Sharon Lake, and offers rentals for rowboats, pedal boats, canoes, kayaks, motorboats, bicycles, and more. For more information, including rental prices, visit their website or contact 513-769-4326.

Review

This park, a popular site for senior pictures to be taken, is a natural beauty. With running waters, great trails, many activities, and beautiful greenery, it is a terrific place for a day trip. Meet wildlife and vegetation right at your fingertips at this wondrous park. This park receives 5 out of 5 trees.

5!!!!!!!!!

Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve

Information

This floral preserve displays both wildflower and butterfly gardens. Also at the park is Nature’s Niche Gifts & Books which sells different keepsakes to remember the park by. Ellenwood Nature Barn holds different events throughout the year at the preserve, such as Maple Sugar Days and Black Walnut Weekend. Also at this park is the 0.6-mile Pin Oak trail. This preserve is located at 3455 Poole Road, Colerain Township, OH 45251

Review

While on the smaller side, this preserve offers nature scenes that are not duplicable. While the only physical activity to do here is hike, it is the perfect place to sip some tea on a bench, trying to count all the surrounding butterflies. It also gives a farm vibe with the vibrant red nature barn at the park’s beginning. Students are recommended to visit to get a breath of nature’s fresh air on the trails and to visit the endearing Nature’s Niche. This preserve earns 4 out of 5 trees.

4

Lake Isabella

Information

Picnic areas, a playground, and views of the water embellish Lake Isabella. Lake Isabella Harbor is a boathouse that supplies the needs of fishermen, carrying rods and bait. This lake does not require an Ohio State Fishing License to catch fish, however does have a fee. Guests can place a reservation on the lake’s Chart Room, Riverside Lodge, and Shady Elm Shelter. Lake Isabella Campground is set to be launched in the spring of 2018, supplying 24 tent sites, according to Great Parks of Hamilton County. This park is located at 10174 Loveland-Madeira Road, Symmes Township, OH 45140.

Review

Lake Isabella provides a certain aura that is felt by those who aren’t even fishermen. Walking its green path and looking out onto the lake can fill a person with inner peace. The air at Lake Isabella is fresh, and the water is a cold blue. The trees decorating the park are full and strong. This park gives off a unique aesthetic of sailing. This park receives 5 out of 5 trees.

5!!!!!!!!!

Triple Creek

Information

At Triple Creek, four ball fields stretch throughout the landscape and a pond decorates the plain. This park supplies a Parcours trail through the woods and a playground suitable for children. Fishing is allowed in the pond, and fish caught can be kept. The location is at 2700 Buell Road, Colerain Township, OH 45251.

Review

This is one of the smaller parks of Hamilton County. The calm pond is home to a friendly goose and duck, as shown below. Overall, this is a simple park with some redeeming characteristics. Students are recommended to visit to play a fun scrimmage of baseball and to exercise by using the fitness trail. This park earns 3.5 trees out of 5.

3.5

Miami Whitewater Forest

Information

Miami Whitewater Forest is a park of 4,438 acres that includes soccer fields, a barn, a golf and Frisbee golf course, and multiple picnic areas. This park is located at 9001 Mt. Hope Road, Crosby Township, OH 45030.

This park includes ten different trails, including three Wooded Horse Trails equaling up to 8.1 miles, the Shaker Trace Horse Trail of 7 miles, four nature trails equaling up to 4.5 miles, a Parcours trail of 1.4 miles, and the Shaker Trace Outer Loop shared use trail of 7.8 miles.

This park also includes the Simmonds Family Dog Park where owners and unleashed dogs can enjoy four fields, shaded areas, “dog agility equipment and play zones,” and “a farm education and animal care facility adjacent to the dog park,” according to Great Parks of Hamilton County.

The Miami Whitewater Forest Harbor supplies, “row, pedal, motor and pontoon boats, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and a variety of bicycles for rent,” according to Great Parks of Hamilton County. “It also features a selection of fishing gear, bait, snacks and beverages.” To learn more about the harbor and prices of rentals, click the hyperlink or contact 513-367-9632.

Review

This park is absolutely gorgeous and has many different activities for all interests. The lake stretches between a scenic forest with crisply paved paths. The play areas are perfect for children, and the walking trails can seem to take one into a different reality of simplicity. This park receives 5 out of 5 trees.

5!!!!!!!!!

Campbell Lakes Preserve

Information

This lake preserve supplies vast lakes that are available for fishers and does not require an Ohio fishing license. Fishers can catch bass, northern pike, bluegill, and crappie. Kayaks and canoes are allowed on the water. The location is at 10431 Campbell Road, Harrison, OH 45030.

Review

The view of the tranquil lakes is awe-inspiring. The prairies are long with aesthetic wildlife. This park can take a person back in time to simpler, natural days. People could sit by the water for hours, feeling the wind and watching small ripples in the water. The park does not offer much than plains and water, however the views are worth the visit. Students are recommended to visit this park because it is meditative and calming. Overall, this park earns 4 trees out of 5.

4

 

Little Miami Golf Center

Information

With the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail winding through it, Little Miami Golf Center is a place to golf, including mini golf and FootGolf. This park also offers access to the Little Miami to canoe and kayak on. According to Great Parks of Hamilton County, Little Miami Golf Center also includes lawn bowling, a food stand, and a shared-use trail. The location is at 3811 Newtown Road, Newtown, OH 45244.

Review

This park is centered around the sport of golf, which not all are interested in. However, they offer gorgeous scenery for all and a trail to ride a bike on. This is a well-groomed park and earns 3.5 out of 5 stars.

3.5

Mitchell Memorial Forest

Information

This park, adorned with a trail-lined pond, is home to a thriving forest. Mitchell Memorial Forest has an 8.1-mile-long mountain bike trail and the Wood Duck nature trail of 1 mile. “Catch-and-release” fishing is allowed in River Hill pond, according to Great Parks of Hamilton County, and “is a great place to teach children how to fish.” This park also has a playset for children and a campground. The location is 5401 Zion Road, Miami Township, OH 45002.

Review

The view of the calm pond makes this park worth the trip. For mountain bikers, this park is perfect. Relax with a fishing rod at this park while enjoying the open sun. This park receives 4 out of 5 trees.

4

Francis RecreAcres

Information

With a permit, this park allows reservations to be placed on its fields for games only. The sports played at these fields range from soccer to ultimate Frisbee. The park offers a shared-use trail of 1 mile, a playground, and a snack bar. The location is at 11982 Conrey Road, Sharonville, OH 45249.
Review

This is a smaller park, covering only 26 acres of land. The simple trail is nice for locals, however not deemed worthy of a long trip. The playset is well built for children with the rubber ground. The fields are nice for official sporting games, however do not allow practices. This park receives 3 out of 5 trees.

3

Embshoff Woods

information

This park has a 9-hole Frisbee gold course, a 1 mile Parcours trail, soccer fields, and a playset. It also supplies picnic areas available for reservations. The location is at 4050 Paul Road, Delhi Township, OH 45238.

Review

While this park has a fair amount of activities to do, the area itself seems cramped. Perhaps the park appears more attractive in the flowering seasons, however, for now, it receives 3(2/3) trees out of 5.

more than 3 and a half

 


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