Go stand in it.
As Bearcats and Musketeers make their way back to Cincinnati for the beginning of Fall semester, it won’t be long until some of us start to feel suffocated in the “concrete jungle” of the city. While Cincinnati has some awesome sights to see — from Over the Rhine, to Fountain Square and the Banks along the River — looking around and seeing nothing but cement and construction can get old in a jiffy. As the school year progresses and you start to feel cooped up, remember the wise words of the fictional Director of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee Indiana, Ronald Ulysses Swanson, when he said “I think it is pointless for a human to paint scenes of nature when they can go outside and stand in it.”
Whether or not you agree with Swanson’s view on nature based art, he is on to something. Researchers in Scotland recently determined that adults who lived in areas with higher levels of green space (parks, hiking trails, etc.) had lower levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — in their blood than those in dense urban settings. Trading your dorm room for the great outdoors for a couple hours a week is a great way to get some exercise and refresh yourself for another day.
You may be asking yourself now, “Where can one go to escape the hustle and bustle, without having an outrageous Uber fee?” Well you came to the right place. Find below five of the highest rated hiking trails in the Cincinnati area, none more than five miles outside of the city, along with links to learn more about them. Perfect opportunities to escape for a bit and “stand in it.”
Devou Park Trail is a 2.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Covington, KY that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Just 2.6 miles out of Cincinnati.
Ault Park Trails is a 1.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cincinnati, Ohio that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking, walking, and mountain biking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 1.4 miles from the city.
Mount Airy Ridge Trail Loop is a 3.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Cincinnati, Ohio that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 3.7 miles away, the furthest of the five presented.
Fort Thomas Landmark Tree trail is a 1.6 mile loop trail located near Fort Thomas, Kentucky. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 1.6 miles from Cincinnati.
Rowe Woods Trails is a 1.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Milford, Ohio that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. 1.7 miles from home.
For those who feel overwhelmed with class, work, or the fact that they haven’t see a tree in a month, the options for you to get into nature are plentiful around Cincinnati. A short and inexpensive Uber ride is all that is required to get out into nature and refresh yourself. Over the next semester I will be making a special effort to follow the wisdom of Swanson, to “go outside and stand in it.” I hope you’ll join me.
Follow this author on Twitter: @ThomasZimmCR