Fall Cycling at Great Parks
With summer heat and humidity at last on the wane, fall is a great time to explore all of the opportunities for cycling at Great Parks of Hamilton County. Whether you’re looking for a casual cruise with the kids, a long-distance aerobic workout, or the thrill of mountain biking, there is something for everyone.
Family Fun on Multi-Use Trails
Great Parks of Hamilton County features multi/shared-use trails at many of our parks, with routes as short as a mile, making them a great choice for young riders still finding their confidence.
For a longer adventure, check out the 7.8 mile Shaker Trace trail at Miami Whitewater Forest. The loop winds through prairies and wetlands, some of the most endangered habitats in Ohio. Home to dozens of bird species and, one of the area’s great birding sites, fall is a great time to see migratory birds taking a break as they head south.
If you like seeing the leaves change color, the shared-use trails at Sharon Woods, Winton Woods and Woodland Mound take you through vivid shades as trees start to shed their foliage and prepare for winter.
Be sure to visit one of our snack bars to recharge after your ride.
Little Miami Scenic Trail
With the recent opening of the Beechmont Bridge Connector over the Little Miami River, the Little Miami Scenic Trail (LMST) is a great resource for active cyclists looking to add miles to their training regimen. Starting in Hamilton County near Lunken Airport, the LMST spans over 78 miles across five counties and ends up in Springfield, OH.
One of the most successful rail-trail conversions in the country, the LMST is well known for the communities that have grown up along the trail. You can easily make a ride an all-day adventure with stops for food, beverages, and shopping, or you can just put your head down and clock in the miles. Because the trail is built on former rail line rights-of-way, it is very flat and offers plenty of long straight sections.
Fall is a great time to ride the trail and depending on your route, you’ll be treated to a variety of views including forests, farmland, pastures, wetlands, and plenty of views of the Little Miami River as it flows south to the Ohio River. Keep your eyes open for deer, raccoons, squirrels, and even foxes alongside the trail.
Athletes using the trail for training should be aware that the LMST is still technically a shared-use trail, and at popular trail junctures, you may encounter everything from casual walkers, wandering children, rollerblades, unicycles, and more. I’d recommend staying aware of your surroundings at all times and being considerate of everyone trying to enjoy the trail.
Mountain Biking at Mitchell Memorial Forest
Designed and constructed as a cooperative effort between Great Parks of Hamilton County and the Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance (CORA), the 8 miles of mountain bike trails at Mitchell Memorial Forest will challenge those starting to explore mountain biking and offer a fun, yet by no means easy, adventure for more experienced off-road cyclists.
I recommend the A Trail for those that have started to ride on dirt and are looking to move to the next level. An intermediate trail that is approximately 3.9 miles in length, it serves up moderate climbs, tight switchbacks, and omnipresent Ohio roots & rocks to challenge your technical skills, while still offering enough flowy sections to get your breath back.
The B Trail is for more advanced riders. While it has a little less climbing than the A Trail, the B Trail challenges riders with several technical features like extended rock gardens and more significant root beds as well as some sections of more difficult trail.
Fall does ramp up the challenge a little bit. While the trees are popping with color in early Fall, as the season goes on, all of those leaves start to drop on the trail, obscuring certain trail features and obstacles.
Be sure to check out alerts on the Great Parks website before heading out to make sure that the trails are open. Local builders and volunteers put in a lot of effort to make sure the trails stay in great shape, and we want to respect their work.
Whether your bike has training wheels, knobby tires, or anything in between, get out there and enjoy cycling at Great Parks of Hamilton County!
Ron Callahan is the Website Manager for Great Parks of Hamilton County as well as an avid cyclist.