Oh, Find Me a Trail…

Make a day or weekend of hikes that are near each other

The hikes in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles cover three states and 25 counties. Below I’ve divided them into smaller sections of hikes that are located close together.

Near Interstate 275

Although the trails inside the I-275 loop are more urban, some places (such as trails at California Woods Nature Preserve, Mount Airy Forest, Caldwell Park, Cincinnati Nature Center, Gilmore Ponds Interpretive Preserve and Shawnee Lookout) are fun romps through woods and wetlands.

Pushing a stroller? Dragging a wagon? Eden Park, Winton Woods, Sharon Woods and Miami Whitewater Forest trails are mostly paved, and sections that aren’t paved are small and easily passable.

Gorgeous Little Miami River

Feel like stepping into a children’s storybook? The gorge trails of Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve and John Bryan State Park follow along the rough waters at the head of the Little Miami River. Several species of plants not typically found in this region of Ohio flourish in the gorge’s cool, wet climate and add to the feel of stepping into another world — perhaps one with hobbits. Farther along the Little Miami River corridor, you’ll find birding hot spots at Spring Valley Wildlife Area, Caesar Creek Gorge State Nature Preserve and Caesar Creek State Park.

Nearby, Fort Ancient’s earthworks, mounds and stone serpent effigy take you back in time a few thousand years to when the Hopewell Native Americans lived in this area.

Edge of Appalachia

Step into another world at Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve, Adams Lake State Park and Adams Lake State Nature Preserve. The plants found in Chaparral are remnants of what the glacier dragged in, and at Adams Lake State Nature Preserve the scoured prairie landscape is busy with the comings and goings of thousands and thousands of Allegheny mound ants. The trails of Buzzardroost Rock and Wilderness Preserve weave through the woods, climb cliffs and provide incredible vistas.

Brookville Lake Area

Seep springs, mounds and miles of trails await at Whitewater Memorial State Park and Mounds State Recreation Area in rural Indiana. Travel a few miles north and hike the paved Whitewater Gorge trail through Richmond, Ind., or head over to Hayes Arboretum and take your time strolling through the woods, preferably thinking about nothing.

A little to the west of Brookville Lake, you’ll find my favorite hike, Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve, near Connersville, Ind. To the south of Connersville is birding central at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.

Southern Indiana

Need to recharge? Download? Wow! You really do need to hit the trail.

To clear your mind of all the clutter, there's no better prescription than the visual therapy of the cliffs and waterfalls at Clifty Falls State Park and Clifty Canyon Nature Preserve. Muscatatuck Park, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, Hardy Lake State Recreation Area, Versailles State Park and Selmier State Forest are all nearby. (I’d plan on at least a day to romp around Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge.)

If you're really looking to get lost (figure of speech), Pennywort Cliffs Nature Preserve pushes the limits on what could be considered a trail, and maybe that's why it's a delightful hike to literally get away from it all. (Just be sure to bring a compass.)

Northern Kentucky

In Boone County, trails in Dinsmore Woods State Nature Preserve, Boone County Cliffs State Nature Preserve and Big Bone Lick State Park meander through forests and back to the time of glaciers and giant sloths to pioneers and early homesteaders. Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park’s history includes historic battles, making salt and bottling spring water.

Nearby Quiet Trails State Nature Preserve is everything its name says it is. And for those of you who appreciate quirky humor and old-growth trees, try out the meandering nature trail at Curtis Gates Lloyd Wildlife Management Area.

Now It’s Time to Hike!

Thumb through the Featured Hikes list, select a hike that appeals to you, pack your water bottle, lace up your boots and head for the trail. Who knows, we might pass each other along the way.

I’ll be the mom running after the two darling little girls! After all, what you decide is important is what you’ll find time for.

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