Go for the Forest Giants, stay to enjoy the scenery.
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, aka the Bernheim Forest, is located about 2 hours south of the Covington Branch of the Kenton County Public Library. It is a perfect way to spend a day, in any season. Take water, snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray for a fun day visit. There is no admission fee to visit, only a suggested donation. It is helpful to use the online map or download and print a map at home to take when you visit, as maps are not available at this time due to Covid-19 restrictions. (Stay tuned to the end of post for more Covid-19 policies)
When my family took to the road for a visit to the Bernheim, it was only to see the Forest Giants. They are amazing pieces of art that I have been eager to see, ever since I first discovered a Forest Giant, Isak Heartstone, in Breckenridge, Colorado. Go for the visit with Mama Loumari, Little Nis, and Little Elina, but stay because the Bernheim is amazing. It is a hidden gem in Kentucky. With over 40 miles of trails, ranging from easy and accessible to difficult, spread over 16,137 acres of beautiful Kentucky forest and meadows, the Bernheim is home to 2,100 species of wildlife.
We went in mid-October with plans to visit again very soon. At the time of our visit, the Bernheim Forest’s 3 million trees had not yet begun their autumnal color changes. To view the fall foliage, I would recommend visiting in early November, although according to their facebook page, hints of color change have begun to happen.
My family walked the Forest Giants Trail, which is 2 miles in length. It begins from the backside of the Visitor’s Center. You can follow the giants’ footprints to find Little Nis, Mama Loumari, and out to Little Elina. The Forest Giants Trail is described by the Bernheim as easy, on varying terrain of paved, gravel, and grassy meadow trails.
We also hiked the Two Ponds Loop, which at .70 miles of moderate terrain, was a mix of paved, dirt, and boardwalk-type trails. We hiked the Lake Nevin Loop Trail, 1.3 miles of easy classified terrain. We stopped at a lake viewpoint and enjoyed our picnic lunch that we had brought with us.
As we were leaving for the day, we noticed a lot of children and adults riding their bikes on Arboretum Way. Biking is only allowed on the Bernheim’s paved roads. My daughters decided that we should bring our bicycles with us on our next visit. I think we will.
There is so much to explore at the Bernheim. One visit certainly isn’t enough to experience it all. Be sure to explore the art installations around the forest. Ask about the Golden Eagle Love Birds, too.
During the pandemic, there are Covid-19 Restrictions at the Bernheim: Advanced timed arrival (15 minute increment) reservations are required, no visit time limit. The Visitor’s Center and Education Center are closed, water fountains are not available for use. Portable toilets and handwashing stations are available for use. Use social distancing measures. Masks are required to be worn when within 10 feet of other visitors and staff members. The Bernheim asks visitors to refrain from gathering in large groups. The Canopy Tree Walk is closed until further notice.
For more information or to plan your day trip, visit bernheim.org. The address is 2075 Clermont Road, Clermont, Kentucky 40110. The Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is open year-round, except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.