Recent lack of motivation for regularly getting outside and running led me to make the decision to commit to run every single day for 30 days on different running trails in Cincinnati. I discovered we are so lucky to have so many Cincinnati running trails! Between work and all of the kids’ activities I had let my fitness slip and regular runs were no longer happening. Some say it only takes three weeks to form a habit, so running every day would hopefully get me back on track. And by mixing it up with different trails I would not only be forming healthy habits, I also could find new trails to run to further motivate me!
Well, the 30 days are over and I can honestly say it was an fantastic experience! A few weeks have passed since I finished, and while I am no longer running every single day, I am now in the regular habit of running between 3-5 miles 4-5 days a week which is exactly where I wanted to be. Not only that, I found several beautiful new trails to run which has definitely been an effective motivator. So get outside and run or walk one of these beautiful running trails in Cincinnati.
30 Days of Running Trails in Cincinnati:
Day 1 — Beech Acres Park in Anderson Township
Beech Acres is a beautiful little park in Anderson Township on the east side of Cincinnati. A fun handicapped accessible playground, skate park, basketball court, amphitheater and volleyball court make this park a favorite among families. A Firefighter’s Memorial and the Greater Anderson Promotes Peace’s Peace Pole Garden further add to the scenery. With 1.27 miles of paved trail meandering throughout the grounds, it is also a wonderful place for a shorter run. Click here to see a map. I ran throughout the park for 30 minutes by easily combining the several short loops. Located in a residential area alongside Beechmont Avenue, one of Anderson’s main roads, I always feel safe when I run here. Parking is plentiful and there are several water fountains throughout the trail and restrooms by the playground.
Day 2 — Five Mile Trail in Anderson Township
This 2.5 mile paved trail connects two well traveled roadways and heads through the woods located behind a residential area. With a parking lot, restroom and water fountain located at the Clough Pike trail head and the Anderson Town Center and Cincinnati Public Library Anderson Branch located at the other end at the Five Mile Road Trail head, it is not only beautiful, it is a convenient trail to run. There are a few steep hills which makes the Five Mile Trail is a great trail for training runs and recent editions of sidewalks connecting the adjacent neighborhoods to the trail make it a suitable part of a longer runs as well. While I generally feel safe when running this trail as it is pretty well populated with runners, walkers and bikers, the trail does run through the woods so late evenings and early mornings can feel pretty isolated and a little spooky. There is one street crossing at Clough Pike with a signaled cross walk.
Day 3 — Alms Park in Columbia Tusculum
This gorgeous parks is one of those hidden gems in Cincinnati. Click here to see a map. Not only does it have a great playground, picnic area and a super fun giant cement slide, there are overlooks of the Ohio River Valley as well as Lunken Airport where smaller planes take off and land regularly and are fun to watch. This park is a favorite in my family and we love to climb the Pavilion stairs to the beautiful views of the valley region and walk the nature trail. It also is a nice place to run while watching the sun rise over the Cincinnati hills. There is a short loop around the playground and picnic area that connects to a smaller picnic area which I ran several times to make a 4 mile route with a nice hill climb each loop. Bathrooms and a water fountain are located inside the pavilion and street parking is plentiful.
Day 4 — Loveland Bike Trail on the Little Miami Scenic Trail
Part of the “Rails to Trails” program, the Little Miami Scenic Trail is a 70 mile trail which follows the former Little Miami Railway. I’ve run many long runs during marathon training on the Little Miami Scenic Trail as it is flat and well maintained and the section in Loveland is one of my favorites. With plenty of parking in the the quaint downtown Loveland area, it is an easy place to do a run of any distance. Loveland has the added benefit of several parks, a large restroom with water fountains and numerous restaurants and shops including Bob Ronker’s Running Spot to browse when finished. With trees surrounding both sides of the trail, this is also a great place to run on warm days as it stays fairly shaded. The trail is well populated with walkers, runners and bikers so be aware of your place on the trail to avoid crashes.
Day 5 — Withrow Nature Preserve in Anderson Township
When the days are warm, one of my favorite places to run is in the woods of Withrow Nature Preserve as shade is plentiful along much of the trail. The 1.7 mile Trout Lily Nature Trail is beautiful, meandering through both woods and a large wildflower meadow with the added bonus of a gorgeous overlook view of the Ohio River. Sunrises here are beautiful and I regularly see deer, hawks and other birds while running the rolling hills. Parking is plentiful but be aware that there are no water fountains or public restrooms except for a port a potty near the parking lot. A Great Parks of Hamilton County Motor Vehicle Permit ($10 annual pass or $3 for the day) is required for entrance.
Day 6 — Ault Park in Mt. Lookout
In my opinion, Ault Park is one of the most beautiful places in Cincinnati and a spectacular place for a run. I did a 45 minute run around this park and loved every minute of it. See detailed maps of the park here. While you could put together a nice run by jogging loops among the paths through the amazing gardens, historic pavilion and scenic overlook, there are also several wooded trails that are great for both hiking and running. This is a very popular park and was quite populated by mid morning on the Sunday I visited, but parking is plentiful both on the street and in a small lot. There are several bathrooms and water fountains available. Because of the gorgeous scenery, this run was one of my favorites of the month.
Day 7 — Veteran’s Park in Anderson Township
A pretty little neighborhood park, Veteran’s Park is nice place for an early morning run. The well maintained loop that surrounds the park is only 0.4 miles long so definitely works better as a timed route instead of distance. Click here for a detailed park map. Five parcourse stations are interspersed on the loop as well to add to your workout. A lovely playground designed for kids of all abilities is a favorite among families. There is a water fountain and rest rooms near the playground and parking is plentiful.
Day 8 — Rowe Woods at Cincinnati Nature Center
Hands down, this is my favorite place to run around Cincinnati. Beautiful forests, babbling creeks, wildflowers, ponds, meadows, wildlife and a wonderful little visitor center are part of this park and with 16 miles of trails, a run of any distance can be done here. I’ve hiked or run them all and they each are fantastic. A kiosk located near the visitor center has trail descriptions and a map to help you choose your route. Click here to see a trail map. There are restrooms and water fountains at the visitor center as well as a gift shop that sells drinks and snacks. With a natural play ground for kids to explore, this a popular place for families. Daily admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and military and $3 for children ages 4-12. Annual memberships are also available.
Day 9 — Juilf’s Park in Anderson Township
We are lucky to have many wonderful parks in Anderson Township, and Juilf’s Park is one of the best. With a newly renovated playground, volleyball, tennis and basketball courts and baseball diamonds, this is a heavily visited park for good reason. Click here to see the map. The approximately one mile paved trail which circles the grounds is a well maintained and the grounds are beautiful. Parking is plentiful in the two adjacent lots, and there are bathrooms and water fountains available. This is the park I head to when I want to get a quick few miles in because it is safe, convenient and a pretty place to run.
Day 10 — Heritage Oak Park, Mason
I visited this park on a Saturday morning prior to my older girls’ cross country meet in Mason. Wanting to get a few miles in prior to their races, I looked for a trail nearby and I was happy to discover this little park. There is a one mile pancake flat paved trail surrounding the soccer fields and playground which fit my needs perfectly. While not the most picturesque park I’ve ever visited, it is well maintained and has a fun little playground area with a sprinkler for the kids. Parking is plentiful and there is a bathroom with water fountains located near the parking lot.
Day 11 — Woodland Mound Park in Anderson Township
Woodland Mound Park is a treasure in Cincinnati. Not only are there playgrounds and picnic areas, there is a Frisbee Golf course, water play area (opened seasonally), and the Seasongood Nature Center. There are also three nature trails, including one with a parcours and a 1.2 mile paved trail for biking and running as well. I like to run each of the trails to make a 3.5 mile route with varying terrain including hills through the woods, flat meadows filled with wildflowers and gorgeous river views. Parking is plentiful and there are bathrooms and water fountains located near the main playground. A Great Parks of Hamilton County Motor Vehicle Permit ($10 annual pass or $3 for the day) is required for entrance.
Day 12 — East Fork Lake State Park, Batavia
Located about 25 miles east of Cincinnati, East Fork Lake State Park has several recreation options to choose from including a swimming beach, campground, fishing, boating and trails for hiking, mountain biking and running. I visited this park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for a trail run with my 10 year old daughter and we had a great time running portions of the Steven Newman Worldwalker Perimeter Trail and Buckeye/North Country National Scenic Trails. Click here to see a trail map of the park. With miles and miles of trails you could run any distance here and the scenery was quite pretty. There was a port a potty at the trail parking area near the park entrance, but no running water so make sure you bring some with you.
Day 13 — O’bryonville and Owls’ Nest Park
I started my Monday morning run on the short trail in the small Owls’ Nest Park. The paved path is well maintained but short so after running the loop several times I headed off into the O’Bryonville business district to run the surrounding neighborhood. The park itself is very cute, with a small playground, a basketball court and a baseball diamond. It could use some attention though as the garbage cans were overflowing and trash was left at several of the picnic tables. Parking is available on the road or in several area lots for a small fee. Local business include the Bon Bonerie where I picked up coffee for me and pastries for the kids after my run. Not a bad way to start the week!
Day 14 — The Village of Mariemont
One of my favorite neighborhoods on Cincinnati’s east side is the Village of Mariemont. Designed as a planned community in the 1940’s, it is a National Historic Landmark as well as listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With beautiful homes, a working bell tower (that made me jump when it rung while I was taking pictures of it!) and wide, tree lined streets, this quaint neighborhood is an ideal place to run with pretty scenery. Parking was plentiful at Dogwood Park where I started my run before jogging the picturesque streets. Neighborhood kids were walking to school as I was finishing up and combined with the fountains, statues and beautiful architecture, idyllic is the best word I can think of to describe Mariemont. I finished my run with a coffee at the Starbucks located in the bustling town square. What a fantastic way to start the day!
Day 15 — Devou Park in Covington, Kentucky
This is one of the places I ran during the month that was new to me and I am so happy I found this beautiful park! There are many miles of paved trails, hiking and biking trails, and roadways to put together a run of varying distance. Click here to see a map. The scenery is gorgeous with mature trees, playgrounds, a band shell, pool, a lake, a golf course, several shelter areas and gorgeous views of downtown Cincinnati. There are several bathrooms and water fountains located throughout the park and parking is plentiful in numerous lots. Since the 30 days project was complete, I’ve run here several times because it is a fantastic park- definitely a new favorite!
Day 16 — Otto Armleder Park in Cincinnati
Otto Armelder Park is another hidden gem on Cincinnati’s east side. This park is gorgeous, especially in late summer when the wildflowers have taken over. The wide 2 mile paved path is well maintained and frequented by runners, walkers and bikers and the scenery is amazing with beautiful wildflowers, a nice view of the Little Miami River and birds EVERYWHERE! There is also a fun playground, picnic areas, and a dog park. Parking is plentiful is several lots and bathrooms and water fountains are located near the playground. I especially like running here in the morning because there have been people running and biking from sunrise on during every time I have visited which makes me feel safer. An added bonus is the 1.0 mile connector path to the 5 mile long Lunken Bike Trail to make a convenient 8 mile loop.
Day 17 — Laverty Lane Park in Anderson Township
I had an early start for work this day so needed to stick closer to home so decided to run at Laverty Lane Park. While this neighborhood park has a nice playground, basketball court and baseball diamond, the 0.38 mile paved running path is tiny so if you are running any distance you will get dizzy running here. I ran the loop numerous times before heading out into the surrounding neighborhood. While obviously this is not my favorite place to run, it is safe and convenient and I’m grateful to have the option. There is a water fountain, but it wasn’t working the day I visited, and there are no bathroom facilities.
Day 18 — Eden Park and Mt. Adams
Running through Eden Park and Mt. Adams was another one of my favorite days during the month. Parking near Mirror Lake, I ran without any agenda and just let myself run whichever direction seemed right and I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenery and carefree nature of running this way. Eden Park is an absolutely gorgeous place and quite popular as it is the location of several Cincinnati landmarks including the Cincinnati Art Museum, Playhouse in the Park and the Krohn Conservatory as well as a playground, lakes and beautiful views of the Cincinnati sky line. See Citybeat’s detailed map here. It was also fun to explore the trendy neighborhood of Mt. Adams. Restrooms and water fountains are located at Mirror Lake near the parking area.
Day 19 — Track Work Out at Turpin High School
Wanting to get a speed workout in, I headed to our local high school track on a chilly Sunday morning and had a great run with an added bonus of getting to watch an adult soccer league game while running. Our high school track is in great shape and running the bleachers is fun too. Most public schools let residents use their facilities when school is not in session and this is an ideal option for speed work.
Day 20 — Little Miami Scenic Trail, Bass Island Trailhead in Newtown
The Little Miami Scenic Trail runs 78 miles from Newtown near Cincinnati to Springfield. This is the same trail I picked up in Loveland earlier in the month, but this time I started at the Bass Island Trailhead in Newtown. Flat and well maintained, this is the perfect trail for long runs. Mile markers are prominent and there are water fountains and a bathroom is available a mile and a half in at the Avoca Trailhead. Part of the Hamilton County Park system, a permit is required to park at Bass Island ($10 annually or $3 for the day.) Mostly shady, this is a great option for warmer days.
Day 21 — Riverside Park in Anderson Township
It was about this time in the month that I realized what a blessing it is to have so many wonderful parks in Anderson Township! There are numerous options of trails to run nearby and I can never again use the excuse that there is no where to run. With 1.6 miles of paved trails circumventing football fields, baseball diamonds and a large playground, this is a nice place to get a few miles in on flat, well maintained, paved trails. Nestled against the Little Miami River, there are pretty views at various points along the trail as well as lush landscaping and wildflowers throughout. Bathrooms and water fountains are located near the playground and parking is plentiful.
Day 22 — Shor Park in Milford
Part of the Clermont County Park System, Shor Park is a lovely little nature preserve in Milford with 1.4 miles of trails through meadows, trees and wildflower fields. Because of the many flowers, birds are everywhere and watching them made my rainy morning run here especially enjoyable. Parking is plentiful in the lot at the park entrance, but there are no bathrooms or water fountains. A map is framed at a kiosk near the trail head, but it would be almost impossible to get lost here.
Day 23 — Veteran’s Park in Union Township
My kiddos call this place “Helicopter Park” because of the helicopter monument there to honor Veterans. Because I had an early meeting at work, I ran this trail in the dark but since it is flat and well maintained, it was fine. About a mile long, the path winds through the playground area, tennis courts, basketball courts and soccer fields. Not the prettiest park in the area, it is convenient and well maintained- a good place to get a quick run in. Bathrooms and water fountains are located near the picnic shelter.
Day 24 — Sharon Woods in Sharonville
A large Hamilton County park, Sharon Woods is a popular destination for families canoeing and kayaking, jogging and playing on both the indoor and outdoor playgrounds. The 2.6 mile trail which circles the lake runs through varied terrain including shore line, woods and boardwalks. There is also a parcours trail and nature path for use. Parts of the trail are very beautiful, but it is a little creepy when it leads under the dark highway overpass. Overall though, this is a lovely park for a run. Bathrooms and water fountains are located near the water playground. A park permit is required for entry which is $10 for an annual pass or $3 for the day.
Day 25 — Valley View Nature Preserve in Milford
This 130 acre nature preserve features 5 miles of mowed trails through grasslands and woods as well as a section of Ohio’s Buckeye Trail. Absolutely gorgeous, this is a hidden treasure on Cincinnati’s east side. The trail consists of unmarked mowed paths through tall grass meadows which was heaven on my feet after running every day. It is easy to get turned around as the paths look so similar to each other, but I’ve never been lost for long. I’ve run here several times and have yet to see anyone else on the trails except numerous deer, squirrels and birds. Parking is plentiful at the nearby elementary school parking lot, but there are no water fountains or restrooms. I will definitely be visiting this park to run again.
Day 26 — Ohio River Bridge Loop, Newport, KY to Downtown Cincinnati to Covington, KY back to Newport
This is my new favorite weekend morning route! Parking at the outside lot at Newport on the Levee (for a fee of $2), I found a 5K loop that makes me smile every time I run it. I start by running over the Purple People Bridge to Sawyer Point and the Serpentine Wall past the beautiful new Smale Riverfront Park and Banks District and back over the Ohio River on the Roebling Bridge into the quirky neighborhood of Covington to 4th street’s Licking River Bridge up onto the levee path back to Newport. There are always other runners out in the morning and between watching the sunrise over the Ohio River, the various statues and things to see along the way and darting through Paul Brown Stadium tailgaters, this is a fun route. Definitely another new favorite.
Day 27 — Lunken Airport Trail, Cincinnati
This 5 mile trail which circles Lunken Airport is a wonderful place to get a good run in. Except for one steep hill up to the top of the levee, this trail is flat and well maintained. It has a bonus of the recently added one mile connector trail to Otto Armleder Park to make it a great option for a long run. The scenery varies from a pretty golf course to tree lined to views of Lunken Airport where I watched both planes and helicopters taking off and landing during my run. Wildlife is also present and I almost always see deer when running here and have even seen wild turkeys and hawks. It is not the most beautiful place to run (my oldest daughter says it is SO boring), but it’s length and location make it popular for runners, walkers and bikers. There are several parking lots, and a bathroom and water fountain located inside the Airport.
Day 28 — Stanbery Park in Mt. Washington
Located right of the major thoroughfare of Beechmont Avenue, Stanbery Park is a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the traffic nearby. The paved walkway is short, but leads to several pretty nature trails. Click here to see a map. It can feel a little secluded on the trails, so I like to run or hike here with a friend. Stanbery Park has a fun playground, picnic areas and the best sledding hill around. There is a bathroom and water fountains located near the parking area.
Day 29 — Clear Creek Park in Anderson Township
This park is predominantly used as a soccer park as there are 16 numbered fields for both soccer and lacrosse. Although there are no marked trails, the park is large enough to run the perimeter of the fields as a loop several times to get a nice run in. It would also be a good option to do speed work on the soft grass of the well maintained flat expanse. I really enjoyed my run here on a cool fall morning, watching the many birds dart through the fields and into the farmland nearby. Bathrooms and water fountains are located off of the large parking lot.
Day 30 — Johnson Hills Park in Anderson Township
On my last day of running in the month long challenge, I headed to an Anderson Township park I had yet to ever visit- Johnson Hills Park. I was excited to be finishing up the 30 days, and this ended up being one of my favorite places I ran. With 4 different nature trails totaling about 4 miles, I spent the cool morning running the beautiful trails. Click here to see a map of the park. Not only did I see a gorgeous sunrise, and beautiful scenery, I came upon a family of deer grazing in the misty meadow as I finished up my run. It simply does not get better than this. I know I will head here to run again and again. Parking is available in a small lot, but there aren’t bathrooms or water fountains at this time.
The 30 days running project was exactly the motivation I needed to get outside running. There are so many beautiful running trails in Cincinnati and I had a blast exploring some of the many parks and running paths around my city of Cincinnati. Discovering new favorites was a great experience and has encouraged me to continue discovering new outdoor places to enjoy. Get outside and explore!