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The Best Day Hikes in Ohio

Ohio is indeed a hiker’s paradise. There are so many nature filled and exciting trails of varying lengths to choose from, it is near impossible to select the best. I have includes some short one hour trails as well as some longer trails. The shorter trails are ideal if there are other things you need to do during the day and if you are traveling with younger children.

The Ohio & Erie Canalway is a wonderful day hike steeped in history and tradition. The state of Ohio, in 1825, started to build the Ohio & Erie Canal following the Washington route. It reflects the settlement patterns of the many cities, villages and towns along its course. The Canalway makes for a great day hike in an environment of natural beauty, historical places parks and places. There is an abundant heritage greenway to explore as you hike the linear towpath trail. You can tailor your hike along the 110 mile heritage greenway to fit into a full day hike or a few hours hike. 

The family will  have a blast on the Cantwell Cliffs Loop trail. Located near Logan Ohio. It is a 1.5 mile, 1 hour round trip. Even though it is a short trip, it is one of the most difficult ones, as such you may need the rest of the day to recuperate. You will encounter a lot of challenges with steep climbs and descents, fallen trees across the trail, and bridges that have been washed away. If you want to add a extra mile to your hike you can veer off to the extension that will take you to the North along the ravine.

Another short trip with moderate difficulty is the Blue Jacket Loop Trail near North Bend Ohio. This is a very scenic trail with meadows of thistle and goldenrod which draw a host of Monarch butterflies in the summer, a truly endearing sight. In the fall you will simply adore the beautiful colors of the sugar maple and slippery elm trees that adorn the trail.

Halfway through the trail you will encounter the Shawnee Overlook where you can take a load off, if you like, and enjoy the stunning view of the Southwestern Indiana Hills, the Great Miami River and the wildlife you may happen to see. It can take you about an hour to make the 625 ft elevated loop after which you can enjoy lunch in the picnic area.

For a longer trail you can try the 17 Mile Trail in Whitehouse Ohio. You will meander through Oak forests, pass Island sand dunes and through canopy openings. Savor the smell of the pine forests that tempts your senses along the way. Stop to run your finger and toes through the sandy trails and cool your toes in the creek beds along the trail. You can start the trail about quarter mile east of the parking lot. While there are bridges over the streams and gullies, don’t be surprised if, occasionally, you have to get your feet wet.

The Cincinnati Nature Center operates the Rowe Woods Trail which is 14 miles in length. On this trail you can see waterfalls, a lotus pond and open fields. What is exciting about this trail is the abundance of wildlife like squirrels, chipmunks, black snakes, deer, woodpecker, frogs and turtles, to name a few. The trails are well marked with seating areas and gift shops along the way.

Choose a day hike that is suitable for your specific physical activity level. Research the trail and plan your trip carefully before you venture out. Hiking is a great way to see the natural beauty that Ohio has to offer and to create beautiful, lasting memories.

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