The Cincinnati area
is great for hiking.
But if you're willing to drive 3 hours
or so, you'll arrive at the gold standard of "area"
hiking, Red River Gorge. Known
nationally as "the Red," and
locally simply as "the Gorge," Red River Gorge is a hiker's delight
with outstanding trails leading to sweeping vistas amid lots
rocks and lush flora. Get a good map and plan your trip
Tip: For a great
warmup hike, hike to Natural
Bridge in the adjacent state
park. It's a fantastic and famous hike,
with good elevation change that'll get your heart pumping.
If you aren't camping or cabinning, consider staying at the
Abner Hotel. Right between The Gorge and Natural Bridge SP, it's an
outstanding jumping off point to hit the trails early in the morning.
The place looks rundown from the outside, but the rooms on
inside are nice. Ask for a 2 bedroom suite. Huge
remodeled in 2013 and under $100.
A bit closer at
about 2.5 hours driving time is
the runner up for the best area hiking; Hocking Hills SP
forest. There are many places to hike here, The hiking areas
Hocking Hills SP are separated geographically, with the exception of
touristy sites; Old Man's Cave,
Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. These
areas can be crowded and
parking lots do fill up, so plan your trip accordingly.
Some of my favorite
areas in Hocking Hills include The Rock House
and Conkle's Hollow (lower trail), as well as Airplane Rock,
Chapel Cove and Long Hollow on the bridle trails. I also like
Buckeye Trail between Cedar Falls and Old Man's Cave (where they serve
ice cream at the refreshment stand!). You can loop back on a
different trail, making it a nice 6 mile loop. A stop at Ash
is also worthwhile on your drive out of the area.
Tip: There are a lot
of hidden and lesser
known areas to hike around Hocking Hills. Some require a
from the Ohio Dept of Nat'l
Resources, but most of those do not have trails. Consider hiring a local guide to get
you away from the
tourist crowd and show you some of the lesser known hikes, of
which there are several.
Tip: To get
to Hocking Hills, take I-71
North to Route 35 at Washington Court House. I know it isn't
most direct (Route 50 is). But trust me, it is by far the
quickest and easiest. You can easily hit most of the "must
within a day trip.
Rounding out the top
3, and a bit closer
still, is John Bryan SP/Glen Helen Nature Preserve.
About an hour
north of Cincinnati lies the city of Yellow Springs, Ohio.
town is home to Antioch University, and lies right on a bike trail.
It also lies adjacent to Glen Helen and John Bryan, two of
real gems of nearby hiking areas. You can hit all the major
in a day, including Clifton Gorge, and THE Yellow Spring from which the
town got it's name.
both areas without driving
between the two can be a bit tricky. In order to see
everything, consider parking at Clifton Gorge to hike at John
Bryan SP. Then drive to Yellow Springs for lunch, followed by
hikes at Glen Helen. Be sure to visit Young's Jersey Dairy
for a milkshake when you're done!
For more detailed
trail help or hike recommendations, send me an email.
Happy Hiking !!