Best Hiking Trails for Colorful Fall Foliage

All, From the Field

As the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) states, we are entering prime leaf-peeping season as fall’s spectacular colors come into focus. Although it’s still early in fall, fall color changes begin in the north and work their way south. Cleveland and northern Ohio may see peak colors before Hamilton County does.

Peak fall foliage is happening now through late October in Hamilton County, according to SmokyMountains.com’s interactive map, meaning now is the time to get outside and enjoy the changing leaves before they’re gone! ODNR says to look out for black walnut trees, buckeye trees, black locust trees and cottonwood trees, as all are showing their fall colors now. What’s a better way to go leaf-peeping than on a hike in your favorite park?

Wood Duck Trail | Mitchell Memorial Forest

If you’re looking for a serene hike where you can get away from it all and just enjoy nature, the Wood Duck Trail at Mitchell Memorial Forest is the way to go. This 1-mile nature trail takes you on a secluded route through the forest, allowing you to let your mind wander while enjoying fall colors. You might even spy a barred owl, as they’ve been spotted resting on tree branches during the day.

Miami Fort Trail | Shawnee Lookout

A sign reads "Entering Fort" on the Miami Fort Trail at Shawnee Lookout.
A couple sits on a bench on the Miami Fort Trail, overlooking the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio rivers.

You’re surrounded by history when you enter the Miami Fort earthwork at Shawnee Lookout. The earthwork was built by the Adena and Hopewell cultures, dating back to nearly 3,000 years ago. At the overlook of this hilly 1.4-mile nature trail, you are rewarded with a spectacle of colors – the breathtaking view of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky at the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio rivers.

Great Parks asks all guests be respectful of earthworks and burial mounds while visiting Shawnee Lookout.

Pin Oak Trail | Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve

Two people walk their dogs along the waning shade of the Pin Oak Trail at Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve on a sunny fall morning.

Of course, this local favorite trail makes this list. The Pin Oak Trail at Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve is always a great trail for people who can’t hike a trail with rugged, uneven terrain. This accessible-to-all trail is home to a surprising variety of habitats and wildlife. Enjoy the colors of a second-growth forest, prairie and pond habitat on a quick, 0.6-mile jaunt around the park. Plus, it’s the perfect trail to enjoy a lunchtime walk with your leashed four-legged friend.

Garden Loop Trail | Glenwood Gardens

The Garden Loop Trail at Glenwood Gardens
A stone bridge allows guests to cross a creek on the Garden Loop Trail at Glenwood Gardens.

You can take in the colors of just about all the habitats found in Glenwood Garden along the Garden Loop Trail. This 1.1-mile paved trail is particularly beautiful in the evening, right before sunset. When you cross the stone bridge, shift your focus from the fall foliage to the stones. The bridge is made of local rocks and you might even see fossils from ancient sea creatures that lived in Hamilton County millions of years ago.

Leashed pets are always welcome, but bikes, skates and scooters are not permitted on the trails at Glenwood Gardens.

Trout Lily Trail | Withrow Nature Preserve

The trailhead to the Trout Lily Trail gives way for a canopy of colorful fall foliage.

The trailhead to the Trout Lily Trail gives way to a canopy of colorful fall foliage. When you enter this mature hardwood forest, your mind will be at ease. Travel along this 1.7-mile nature trail and you’ll reach an overlook of the Ohio River. The overlook is perfect place to take a load off your feet and relax by taking in the vibrant hues of fall foliage.

Shared-Use Trail | Sharon Woods

No trail list would be complete without Sharon Woods! As the first Great Park, Sharon Woods holds a special place in many people’s heart, and it’s easy to see why. There are ample places to take in fall colors at Sharon Woods, but there are great views from anywhere on the Shared-Use Trail around Sharon Lake. The Shared-Use Trail is longer than the others on this list at 2.6 miles, but its paved loop is so perfectly picturesque, it’s worth the extra steps.


Caroline Wiita
Content Marketing Coordinator

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