Cincinnati has a plethora of parks that offer hiking paths, biking trails, playgrounds, gardens, and other fun outdoor activities to the public. Many of these parks belong to The Great Parks of Hamilton County, a group of 21 different parks scattered across the Queen City.
Each of these parks can be accessed by anyone who has an annual motor vehicle permit, which costs $10 for Hamilton County residents and $15 for non-residents.
While all of the parks offer their own unique perks, my personal favorite is one that is often overlooked and one that I consider to be one of Cincinnati’s best kept secrets: Glenwood Gardens.
Nestled between Woodlawn and Glendale, Glenwood Gardens encompasses over 335 acres and has three unique features that draw in guests:
- The Cotswold Visitor Centre: A massive house that offers a beautiful view of the gardens below and is packed with unique nature gifts for guests to purchase.
- Highfield Discovery Garden: 12 acres of gardens perfect for young kids to play in. As described on Great Parks: “Enter the garden to encounter frogs, fairies, a sleeping dragon, miniature trains and beautiful plants. During your visit, you can bounce across a bridge, climb a 25-foot tall play tree or join the naturalist for a daily nature programs conducted in the garden workshop.”
- Walking/Hiking Trails: A 1.0 mile asphalt garden loop and a 1.6 mile gravel wetland loop weave throughout the park, offering excellent views of trees, rivers, prairies, gardens, and more.
The well-kept trails are by far the most popular attraction that draws guests into Glenwood Gardens, and you don’t have to get very deep into the park until you begin to feel as if you’ve entered a different world entirely.
Exploring the Trails of Glenwood Gardens
Glenwood Gardens has two different trails:
- The Garden Loop: A 1.0 mile trail paved with asphalt that is popular among dog-walkers, families with small children, and anyone looking for an easy, flat place to take a relaxing stroll.
- The Wetland Loop: A 1.6 mile trail that branches off from the Garden Loop that offers a bit more variety of scenery, including bridges, rivers, forests, a small swampy pond, and a couple scenic overlook spots.
The following pictures offer a visual guide to these two trails.
Whether or not you decide to do the Garden Loop or the Wetland Loop, there is one shared entrance to the trails, as shown below:
Once you’re through the entrance, a short path leads to a small circular area with a fountain that offers an incredible overlook:
The path continues a bit further until you come across a beautiful gazebo on the left, which also offers a nice view of the park below.
The paved path continues on for about another half mile, at which point you have the option to stay on the Garden Loop or branch off and start the 1.6 mile Wetland Loop.
If you choose to start the Wetland Loop, the trail quickly turns to gravel and you’ll notice that the scenery changes a bit as well. You’ll encounter a bridge, some forested area, a small swampy pond, and a couple excellent overlooks.
Eventually the Wetland Loop meets back up with the Garden Loop after 1.6 miles via a bridge:
The Garden Loop continues for about another half mile until it joins back up at the entrance of the park:
Visit Glenwood Gardens
Glenwood Gardens is truly a hidden gem of a park in Cincinnati and it’s well worth the visit on any day.
You can visit the park located at 10397 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45215 and you can find more information about the park including events going on at various times throughout the year at Great Parks of Hamilton County.