Insider Scoop: Best Trails For Families, Strollers & Kids Who Just Want to Touch the Playground

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We’re all adjusting to a different day-to-day right now, and with schools, movie theaters, play groups and just about every other form of entertainment closed or canceled, parents are looking for the perfect trail to help their kids get out, exercise and explore.

We put together a list of all of our trails with the details parents and families need to know: Is it stroller friendly? Is there a playground within sight? What is it like for kids?

Check it out below, and add your trail tips in the comments!

Campbell Lakes Preserve

  • Trail mileage: Unofficial walking paths
  • Paved? No
  • Playground? No
  • More details: Definitely a hidden gem and not busy at all! Trails follow the lakes, with lots of wildlife to see. Fishing, too, of course!

Embshoff Woods

  • Trails: 1 mile
  • Paved? No
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: A little hilly. Embshoff Woods also has a 9-hole disc golf course. Way less busy.

Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve

  • Trails: 0.6 mile paved trail and walking paths
  • Paved? Yes
  • Playground? No
  • More details: Flat and easy for strollers. Great for kids – look for salamander and frog eggs in the creeks! Also has a pond with tons of turtles. Could be a little busy.

Fernbank Park

  • Trails: About 2 miles
  • Paved? Yes, 1.2 miles
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: We’ve seen lots of people here, but there is a lesser-known nature trail all the way at the back of the park if you don’t have a stroller. Both trails are flat.

Francis RecreAcres

  • Trails: 1 mile
  • Paved? Yes
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: Less busy; trail is flat. Francis RecreAcres is best known for its soccer fields.

Glenwood Gardens

  • Trails: 2.7 miles
  • Paved? Yes, for some
  • Playground: No. Highfield Discovery Garden is closed and not visible from parking or trails.
  • More details: Great place to take kids, though if they’ve been to Highfield Discovery Garden before they might be begging to go back. Lots of pavement for strollers and pretty popular among those who know it – but it is a bit of a hidden gem.

Lake Isabella

  • Trails: None
  • Paved? N/A
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: Great for fishing! Fees are waived during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Little Miami Golf Center/Bass Island/Avoca Trailhead

  • Trails: Access to 78-mile Little Miami Scenic Trail
  • Paved? Yes
  • Playground? No
  • More details: Great for walking, running and biking, but exploring for kids is limited as it’s a thin strip of trail adjacent to mostly private property. Also, be aware of kids, pets and strollers on this path – very popular with cyclists.

Miami Whitewater Forest

  • Trails: 14+ miles
  • Paved? Yes, Shaker Trace is a 7.8-mile outer loop plus paved inner loop
  • Playground? Yes, but they can be avoided
  • More details: Miami Whitewater Forest has more trail mileage than any other park! The 1.4-mile Shaker Trace Inner Loop is a great choice for strollers and three nature trails start from the same parking lot off Timberlakes Drive. There is no playground in sight from the nature trails and they have great habitats – ponds, woods, beaver activity. Nature trails have some small hills and the Shaker Trace Trail is flat. This is one of the most popular Great Parks, so you might see lots of others at peak times.

Mitchell Memorial Forest

  • Trails: 9+ miles
  • Paved? No
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: The Wood Duck Trail is a 1-mile nature trail that’s good for hiking, and it’s lesser known. There’s a bit of elevation change. There are 8 miles of mountain bike trails, which can be walked but it might be better to stick to the nature trail.

Otto Armleder Memorial Park & Recreation Complex

  • Trails: 3 miles
  • Paved? Yes, all
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: These trails are flat and sunny. They go through prairies, which will start to see lots of pollinators when temperatures go up! Great for spotting birds.

Sharon Woods

  • Trails: 4+ miles
  • Paved? Yes, for more than 3 miles
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: Sharon Woods is one of the most popular Great Parks. The paved trail goes around the lake, the fitness trail – with fitness equipment – is mostly very wide, as it used to be a road. The Gorge Trail is an unpaved nature trail with great views of the park’s popular waterfalls.

Shawnee Lookout

  • Trails: 4.7 miles, plus the cart paths from the former golf course
  • Paved? The former golf course’s paved cart paths are open for walking. The other trails are not paved.
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: Shawnee Lookout has lots of nature trails and features one of the most iconic views on the Miami Fort Trail. They can be a little hilly, and the golf course’s paved cart paths are open for walking and very hilly. This one of the more remote Great Parks, so crowds are less likely.

Triple Creek

  • Trails: 0.8 miles
  • Paved? No
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: Triple Creek is best known for its softball/baseball fields, but there is a fishing pond and short nature trail, too.

Winton Woods

  • Trails: 5+ miles
  • Paved? Some
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: Winton Woods has roughly 3 miles of paved trail around Winton Lake, plus two nature trails. There is also an unpaved fitness trail on the south side of the lake off Lakeridge Drive. These trails – especially the paved one – are pretty popular.

Withrow Nature Preserve

  • Trails: 1.6 miles
  • Paved? No
  • Playground? No
  • More details: Another hidden gem! Withrow Nature Preserve is great for spotting spring wildflowers, which are blooming right now!

Woodland Mound

  • Trails: 2.6 miles
  • Paved? Some
  • Playground? Yes
  • More details: Woodland Mound is popular, but the nature trails are less busy. Great views of the Ohio River.

Explore all 78 miles of Great Parks’ trails here.

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