The hiking01weather has finally changed and the cool temperatures are here at last.  That also means the beautiful changing of leaves and my favorite time to hike.  I greatly enjoy long backpacking hikes but as many people know, it is hard to find the time.  One of my favorite places to hike is the Red River Gorge, but that is about a two hour drive. So I compiled a short list of my top favorite five local hikes that are closer to the Cincinnati area.  If you only have a few hours or a whole day, try to escape to the woods and enjoy the splendor of the fall season.

I hope you find the time to enjoy the splendor of nature in the fall.  It can be quite fleeting.  Dress with layers because it may be cool under those trees.

hiking025)  Big Bone Lick Trails:  3380 Beaver Rd. Union, KY.

There are a choice of 5 trails ranging in length and difficulty.  You can also do them all in the 4.5 mile Discovery Trail.  The trails run through woodlands, grasslands, woody savanna, the salt-sulfur springs, and the bison viewing area.

hiking034) Fort Thomas Landmark Tree Trail89 Carmel Manor Rd. Fort Thomas, KY 41075

This short loop offers great scenery and views across to Ohio.  It consists of 14 landmark trees and the colorful foliage should be a treat at this time of year.  It is a short 1.1 miles but moderate to difficult due to the few steep hills.  Dogs allowed.

hiking043)  Devou Park Trail:  460 Deverill St, Ludlow, KY 41016

Devou Park Trail consists of several fun trails.  You can view train tracks right over the trail and know that it should be an interesting hike.  This is a moderate hike and can be muddy on the 4.6 mile loop.  Dogs allowed. Watch out for mountain bikers.

hiking052) Withrow Nature Preserve7075 Five Mile Road, Anderson Township, Ohio 45230

I discovered this park in the middle of suburbs many years ago.  It is a very nice hike in the woods, has an overlook, and a field area where you can spot many butterflies and animals.  Also, there is a bench next to a tremendous tree where an old house used to be located.  When I needed to just escape all the chaos and noise, I would sneak an hour or two and enjoy the beautiful nature from this bench.  The short 1.8 mile trail is unpaved but clear with gravel and has some hills so rated moderate.  Dogs allowed.


1) Boone Cliffs State Nature Preserve:  4990 Middle Creek Road, Burlington, KY 41005

It is 74 acres of old-growth forest and cliff formations.  The foliage is beautiful and should be an amazing hike in fall.  Boone cliffs has overlooks, and  is very educational with the multiple geological discoveries.  You can witness first hand the cliff formations that were created by glaciers.  The Trail is unpaved and entails cliffs so rated moderate to difficult.  Pets are not permitted according to the website.  Boone Cliffs is currently closed for restoration.

A popular book for hiking in the Cincinnati area:  “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles Cincinnati” by Tammy York

For more information, check out these websites:

Kentucky State Parks

Kentucky Tourism

All Trails

Laura Lochle is an adult programmer at the Erlanger Branch and an avid hiker.

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