Lace up your boots, grab your kids, and hit the trail. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get outside and explore nature. But, with so many inviting outdoor spaces for a walk near home, you might not know where to begin. Don’t worry. We did the legwork for you. Here are a few of the best places to hike near West Chester, Ohio.

Mt. Airy Forest

man in black jacket and black pants standing in the middle of forest during daytime

Image via Unsplash by kellysikkema using Unsplash License

Hiking is a terrific adventure for the whole family, and Mt. Airy Forest is just the place to go. It was established in 1911 and is one of the earliest urban reforestation projects in the U.S. It’s also Cincinnati’s largest park, with nearly 1,500 acres.

Mt. Airy Forest offers miles of trails for beginners and experienced hikers. If you have a preschooler in tow, you’ll want to pick a hike that isn’t too long or too strenuous for the first few outings. Everybody’s Treehouse Trail is just 0.2 mile long, paved, and stroller friendly. Remember to plan ample time for frolicking, take frequent rest stops, and make sure you have plenty of water for the whole family.

Mt. Airy has Ohio’s only wheelchair-accessible public tree house, a dog park, and a championship disc golf course. In addition, the park’s arboretum features specialty gardens, a picturesque lake, and 23 picnic areas where you can fill up on fried chicken and potato salad after your hike.

Caldwell Nature Preserve

Hiking with kids is a great way to connect them to the outdoors at a young age. Caldwell Nature Preserve on West North Bend Road is a terrific place to start them on their journey. This destination offers hikers, young and old, access to 3.5 miles of nature trails. Caldwell is popular for birding and trail running, although you can get the place to yourself if you time it right.

Its level, paved paths make it possible for babies in strollers and people using wheelchairs to get close to nature. There’s a little-known 0.90-mile gem of a trail that follows along Mill Creek. You’ll hike up and over bridges, through gorges, and under mature beech, walnut, and oak trees. Although most locals report it’s a generally easy route, downed trees can make it a bit more challenging.

Keep your eyes peeled for critters, too. Caldwell is home to many native reptile, amphibian, and mammal species. Stop by the park’s nature center before you leave and explore its interesting exhibits.

Otto Armleder Memorial Park

Hiking is a superb way to help preserve Ohio’s wilderness areas for our future generations. It’s easy to teach your kids to appreciate and enjoy nature at the 305-acre Otto Armleder Memorial Park and Recreation Center on Wooster Pike.

Kids are natural explorers, and hiking is a wonderful way to burn off some extra energy. Jump on the paved 1-mile trail that connects with the 5-mile Lunken Airfield loop. Encourage your children to explore their surroundings with your close supervision. If your kids are more interested in getting down in the dirt and crawling through the undergrowth, allow that to be on the hike’s agenda.

The Great Parks of Hamilton County and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission manage this site. It offers active residents access to hiking trails, a bike path, a playground, picnic shelters, and sports fields. You’ll also enjoy open grassy meadows and access to the Little Miami Scenic River.

Rowe Woods

Rowe Woods in Milford offers more than 16 miles of hiking trails for all fitness levels. This 1,016-acre oasis features an astounding 65 acres of old-growth forest. It’s a wonderful place to introduce your children to hiking. Consider picking a trail with interesting features, like Rowe Woods’ forests, fields, streams, and ponds, which help keep kids on track to the finish line.

This outstanding park offers more than 14 miles of hiking trails that wind through mature trees, fields, streams, and meadows, like the all-accessible 0.72-mile Mashburn Family Discovery Trail. The 2.86-mile Redwing Trail is a challenging path that wanders through a restored wetland and past abundant wildflowers in the spring.

The park’s visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It houses restrooms, The Nature Shop, and the William J. Whittaker Library, along with nature observation windows. The center’s seasonal educational exhibits focus on Ohio’s natural history, wildlife, and plants, while the Children’s Play Area offers kids interactive touch displays that encourage discovery and exploration. Admission to Rowe Woods is $10 for adults and $6 for kids 4 to 12. Little ones 3 and under can enter for free.

Kathryn Stagge-Marr Community Park

Kathryn Stagge-Marr Community Park on Goshen Road offers loads of activities for families with children of all ages, including hiking. Its 82-acre grounds boast a scenic 1-mile unpaved walking path that meanders through pine trees and grassy clearings as it dips and turns. The trail may seem to disappear as you travel; however, signage will guide you around the loop. The park also offers a disc golf course, a fishing pond with wooden piers for casting your line, and numerous benches for watching wildlife.

Make the most of your family’s time on the trail with a bit of preparation. Dress kids in multiple layers, especially if you’re heading to the park early in the day, and bring extra clothing if your child gets chilly, dirty, or wet while hiking. Pack a backpack with kid-friendly essentials and hang it near your family’s jackets, so you can grab your gear and go. Fill it with items like wet wipes, lip balm, sunscreen, and a wholesome snack. Include other goodies like binoculars, a magnifying glass, a safety whistle, and a jar for collecting safe specimens.

So, there you have it. Crème de la Crème of West Chester informed you of the best places to hike near home. Did you like the outdoor destinations we picked? Did we miss your family’s favorite hiking area — one Ohio parents must explore? If we did, let us know! Drop us a line so we can add your spots to our list.