Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Fall Colors in Great Parks

Cooler temperatures mean fall has officially arrived! But that doesn’t mean it’s time to retreat indoors. Great Parks nature interpreters, conservation & parks staff and golf staff list the tops ways you can enjoy the beauty of fall colors this season.

1. Walk Away Your Worries

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

With a staggering 78 miles of trails, there are plenty of opportunities to experience your own walkabout. Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life while walking in the urban oasis that is Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve. Vibrant shades and hues of fall foliage break up the urban setting and transport you to a relaxed state while you take a leisurely stroll around the Pin Oak Trail

2. Grab Your Lake Legs and Hit the Water

Trees show off their reflection in the water of Winton Lake on a sunny fall morning.
Winton Lake

Allow the fall colors to wash over you as you navigate wildlife-packed lakes. West Fork Lake (aka Winton Lake) was originally created in the 1950s to help prevent flooding on the West Fork of Mill Creek. Today, it serves as the perfect way to get up close and personal with the animals that call it home and, of course, the mesmerizing fall colors. The Winton Woods Boathouse offers a variety of watercraft, which include pedal boats, motorboats, kayaks and more.  

3. Hit the Trails for a Hike

The point of the Miami Fort Trail not only has views of the Great Miami and Ohio rivers, but you can see Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
The point of the Miami Fort Trail not only has views of the Great Miami and Ohio rivers, but you can see Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

There is no better way to enjoy the fall colors than by submerging yourself beneath the forest canopy. On the Miami Fort Trail at Shawnee Lookout, leaves will dance around you and eagles will soar overhead. Consistently ranked as a top fall trail, your efforts will be rewarded with one of the most stunning views in the tri-state, overlooking the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio rivers.

4. Prepare a Picnic

The outside of Parky's Playbarn.

It is often the simplest of pleasures that can bring us the most joy. A simple picnic laid out on a blanket on the grounds of Parky’s Farm in Winton Woods can make for a fantastic afternoon. Afterward, you can visit some of your favorite farm animals basking in autumn’s brisk sunny rays.

5. Break Out the Bikes

A man bikes on the Shaker Trace Trail at Miami Whitewater Forest on a sunny fall afternoon.

Save the spin classes for the winter! The Shaker Trace Trail at Miami Whitewater Forest makes for perfect easy rides as you take in astonishing autumn colors. Whether you are a seasoned rider or just getting back in the seat, options for a 1.4- or a 7.8-mile ride can meet anyone’s fancy. Don’t have a bike or a way to bring your bike to the park? No worries! The Miami Whitewater Boathouse rents a wide variety of bikes that you can take on our shared-use trails. 

6. Play All Day

The bright blue Fernbank Park playground stands out against the red and orange fall foliage.
Fernbank Park playground

It was the late Mr. Rogers who once said, “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” Take advantage of the last bit of warm weather and marvel at the spectacular view of fall colors glistening on the Ohio River at the Fernbank Park playground

7. Dust Off Your Discs

Disc Golf

Let’s face it, you won’t come any closer to the yellows, reds and oranges of fall leaves than when you launch a disc straight into a tree (it’s OK, we’ve all been there). The 18-hole disc golf course at Winton Woods meanders through an enchanting maze of towering trees along the backside of West Fork Lake. Sink the perfect shot, all while being cascaded with wonderful little leaves. 

8. Autumn Runs

Buckeye Falls at Sharon Woods surrounded by red, orange and yellow falling leaves on a sunny autumn day.

Is there any sound more appealing than leaves crunching beneath your feet as you swiftly move down a trail? The Gorge Trail at Sharon Woods is the perfect trail for like-minded individuals. This short-but-hilly trail winds its way to its pinnacle view of Sharon Lake as it connects you to the shared-use and fitness trails. 

9. Fall Fishing

A woman smiles as she casts a line at Lake Isabella.

A quiet moment on a serene lake or riverbank allows you to take a deep breath and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Nestled along the banks of the Little Miami River, Lake Isabella finds itself teeming to the gills with magnificent trees. These trees tower over you as you cast out onto the lake, hoping to reel in a big one.

10. View the Reds and Yellows From the Green

Trees with red and orange leaves line the green at The Vineyard.
The Vineyard Golf Course

At times, we need a little green under our feet to appreciate the explosion of colors overhead. Autumn colors envelope you as you tee off at The Vineyard Golf Course at Woodland Mound. In addition to being an award-winning course, the fall views on this course (especially the back nine) can only be described as breathtaking.

What are you waiting for? Get outside and enjoy your favorite park this fall!

Will Buelsing
Nature Interpreter, Miami Whitewater Forest