Miami Whitewater Forest has much to offer any Cincinnati hiker interested in getting away from the daily grind for an hour or a day. You can enjoy an ice cream by the lake, or hike into the woods to observe the diverse wildlife.

The three best trails this park has to offer are Shaker Trace, the Oakleaf trail and the Badlands trail.

Shaker Trace is actually a moderate 8 mile bike loop that takes the rider through Frisbee golf courses, wetlands and tall grass prairies. One of this park's goals is to restore the wetlands and prairies that were destroyed years ago. There is also a wildlife viewing area where a quiet spectator can view frogs, turtles and various species of birds. The trail can also be cut down to 1.6 miles if the hiker chooses to walk the inner loop. The outer loop can be hiked in about 2 1/2 hours. Also, bikes and tandems can be rented at the park for a minimal cost.

The Oakleaf and Badlands trails are more appealing to the nature lover. One will find that when the Shaker Trace parking area is packed, the parking area for these two trails is desolate. Be on the lookout for deer in the evening hours. The Oakleaf trail is a short 3/4 mile hike through the forest. The sign at the beginning of the trailhead says it will take the average hiker 1-1 1/2 hours to complete, however; I have done it in less than 30 minutes. On the trail, you will see two ponds. If you look closely you may be able to spot a frog or two sitting on the banks. You will also want to notice all the different kinds of trees along the side of the trail. Look closely around the pond and you may spot a crane hiding amongst the trees!

Across the street from the Oakleaf trailhead is the start of the Badlands trail. The trail has an inner loop of .8 miles and an outer loop of 1.6 miles. The sign says it will take about an hour to hike the outer loop of this trail. This is an accurate expectation for this trail. All in all, the trail is not spectacular. However; it does take you deeper into the forest than the other trails and the hiker gets a fairly good workout from the small hills on the trail.

We have chosen this park as a Select Hike because it is a good getaway from the city. It has much to offer and is not a far drive from Cincinnati.

How do I get there?
Coming from Cincinnati, take 74 west to exit #3 (Dry Fork Rd.). Go north on Dry Fork Rd. for .9 miles. At the stop sign take a right onto West. The park entrance is .2 miles on the left. The park is about 15-20 minutes from downtown Cincinnati and 3 miles from the Indiana state line.

Does it cost anything? There is a $1 day pass fee or a $3 fee for the entire year, which is good for all Hamilton County Parks.

What do I eat? There is a concession stand open during peak summer times. Also, there are restaurants off the exit.

Anything else I should know? There are bathrooms, a gift shop and campgrounds.

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