Just north of Cincinnati are the Caldwell Park and Nature Preserve, home to almost 3 miles of looped trails that follow 3 tributaries flowing off the Mill Creek. Dog- and kid-friendly, the trails are densely wooded and shady, and their proximity to water makes them accessible to many species of wildlife for your viewing pleasure, including small mammals, deer, waterfowl and other birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Traveling through creeks and streams, over wooden bridges and boardwalks, you will experience the Mill Creek watershed with its cottonwoods, maples and beautiful wildflowers. Hills and ridges make for somewhat rugged hiking, and your efforts are assisted by steep wooden stairways up and down the tallest climbs, while dirt paths curve around crests of gentler hills. Many wooden outlooks have been built off the path that allow you to gaze down into some if the gorges and creeks from above, and blown down trees help keep the path from being boring. This small park provides a look at what it might have been like in the Mill Creek Valley centuries ago before industry and population burgeoned here. Although it's close to highways and railroad tracks, its dense forest buffers the sounds and awareness of their presence.
The creeks can be rushing over shallow, submerged rocks, making wading and splashing a tempting activity for humans and doggos; or they can be cascading down the stones of small falls all along their path, forming small pools at the bottom pawrfect for swimming. Parts of the trail are cement paved, while other parts are crushed stone, and more remote areas are narrow dirt tracks covered with leaves. Slippery, muddy areas in the creekside wetlands are often traversed on narrow boardwalks. A large picnic area with a fire pit and many tables sits near the Nature Center and parking lot, and it's a great spot to rest before packing the pooch back in the car and heading for home.
Due to the linked loops of the trail, this is a hike that can be done differently each time you and Fido head out, so you will never be bored!
Some snakes live here. Avoid them and give them plenty of room to escape.