The Complete Guide to Cincinnati Parks, Gardens, & Nature Centers

IThe Nature Fix, journalist and author Florence Williams shares some fascinating research that shows how spending time in nature can boost cognition, reduce anxiety, improve mood, and enhance creative thinking. Even small doses of nature like house plants, 10-minute outdoor walks, and screensavers of forests have been shown to improve overall well-being.

Simply put, nature has the ability to make us healthier, happier, and more creative. 

The good news for those of us that live in Cincinnati is that there are tons of places around the Queen City where you can get outside and directly experience these benefits.

In this guide, we share over 40 different public parks, nature centers, gardens, and green spaces around the city where you can enjoy a healthy dose of nature.

Note: Parks with an asterisk (*) require a Great Parks of Hamilton County motor vehicle permit. The price of the permit is $10 for a Hamilton County resident and $16 for a non-resident. Daily permits can be purchased for $5 each for Hamilton County residents and $8 for non-residents at park entrance booths.

Map of Green Spaces

The map below shows the locations of every green space mentioned in this post.

Alms Park

Location: 710 Tusculum Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45226 (Columbia-Tusculum)

Alms Park scenic overlook spot in Cincinnati, Ohio

Located atop Mt. Tusculum on the east side of Cincinnati, Alms Park offers incredible views of the Ohio River, the Little Miami River, the hills of northern Kentucky, and the Lunken Airport. With over 94 total acres, the park is home to several hiking trails, a playground, picnic areas, a pavilion available for rental, and several incredible overlook points. Check out our complete guide to Alms Park here.

Annwood Park

Location: 1900 Madison Rd. Cincinnati, OH, 45206 (East Walnut Hills)

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Located in the East Walnut Hills neighborhood, Annwood Park is a small park that features a pond, a winding walkway, several benches, shade-covered grass areas perfect for reading or lounging, and a picturesque grotto waterfall. Despite being small, this park offers a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life and is a perfect spot to enjoy some peaceful nature.

Ault Park

Location: 5090 Observatory Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208 (Mt. Lookout)

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One of the most well-known and scenic parks in Cincinnati is Ault Park. Nestled in the Mt. Lookout neighborhood, this park covers over 224 total acres and includes paved walking paths, a beautiful garden, picnic areas, nature trails, a pavilion, and an excellent lookout point. This is one of the best places to check out in the city if you’re looking for a peaceful, quiet place to enjoy some nature.

Avon Woods Nature Center

Location: 4235 Paddock Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45229 (North Avondale)

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Nestled behind the Avon Fields Golf Course in North Avondale sits Avon Woods Nature Center. With a nature center, several park benches, a couple fire pits, and about 2.5 miles of interweaving hiking trails, this is one of the more secluded and quiet places to get out in nature simply because most people are unaware of its existence.

Bender Mountain Nature Preserve

Location: 6320-6468 Bender Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45233 (Delhi)

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One of the more hidden nature areas in Cincinnati is Bender Mountain Nature Preserve. This preserve features six different hiking trails, most of which are accessible via Bender Road. Each of the trails allows you to immerse yourself in heavily wooded forests covered with hundreds of different plant species, and there are a few unique posts where you can catch some great views of the Ohio River. Check out this map for a visual guide to the six different trails.

Burnet Woods

Location: 3251 Brookline Ave, Cincinnati, OH 4522 (Clifton)

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Located just a short walk away from the University of Cincinnati campus as well as The Gaslight District, Burnet Woods is a city park that covers nearly 90 acres and features a disc golf course, hiking trails, a fishing lake, and several different picnic and shelter areas. Check out the site Preserve Burnet Woods for a list of weekly activities taking place at the park.

Buttercup Valley Preserve

Location: 1558 Stanford Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45223 (Northside)

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Located in the hip neighborhood of NorthsideButtercup Valley Preserve offers a great place to escape urban life for a little while. The preserve features several intertwining trails in a wooded area packed with various flora and fauna that are great for hiking and dog walking. Many of the trails are fairly steep, so be prepared for a decent workout. 

Caldwell Nature Preserve

Location: 430 W North Bend Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45216 (Finneytown)

One lesser known nature preserve in the Queen City is Caldwell Nature Preserve. Located just outside of Finneytown, the preserve contains a mix of old growth forest along with newly planted trees. With over 3.5 miles of total trails that weave throughout the preserve, it’s easy to spot wildlife including birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

The preserve also has a Nature Center where you can learn more about the wildlife in the area and talk with a park ranger. In addition, there is an amphitheater, picnic areas, and a paved cement trail that offers a nice overlook into the ravine below. Check out our complete guide to Caldwell Nature Preserve here.

California Woods Nature Preserve

Location: 5400 Kellogg Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45230 (California)

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One outdoor area that can make you feel like you’ve entered a completely different state is California Woods Nature Preserve. With over 113 acres of forest and year-round nature educational programs, this preserve is a dream for nature lovers. It’s home to over 50 different species of trees, over 200 species of plants, and the Lick Run Creek that passes through the preserve offers kingfishers, turtles, mallards, beavers, and plenty of fish to observe.

There’s also a butterfly and hummingbird garden that’s fun to check out in front of the nature center during the warmer months. So, if you’re looking to completely escape urban life for a while, this is the perfect place to do so.

Cincinnati Nature Center

Location: 4949 Tealtown Rd, Milford, OH 45150 (Milford)

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A LONG POST ABOUT A BIG UPDATE! The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently asked us to make updates around Powel Crosley Lake to make it better able to deal with heavy rain events like we had this spring. Beginning today, we will need to close part of the Edge Trail (the turtle trail, if you're used to our symbols!) from side of the Visitors Center down to the bridge to Whitetail Trace. The boardwalk will also be partially closed, as will the bottom of the stairs to the Geology Trail. Tomorrow, we will close the Playscape parking lot to allow for delivery of pipes. You will still be able to access the Playscape, but will need to park either in the lot by the Krippendorf Lodge or by the visitor's center. Because this is a pretty big project, we will likely have to close parts of those trails at varying times throughout the process. There may also be some noise disturbance as the work progresses. This project will likely continue for a couple of weeks. We are (and will do) our best to keep this project as minimally disturbing for our visitors as possible. And we will do our best to keep all of you updated on trail closures and any other impacts throughout the project. Once it's all said and done, Powel Crosley Lake will be better for our guests and wildlife! Thank you, in advance, for your patience and understanding through all of this. And, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. You can contact us through Messenger here on Facebook or call 831-1711. . . . . #cincynature

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Next up is a place that many would argue is the best area in all of Cincinnati for completely submerging yourself in nature: Cincinnati Nature Center. Located on the east side of the city in Milford, this nature center spans more than 1,000 acres (including 65 acres of old growth forest) and offers 16 miles of hiking. The center is open year-round, but note that daily admission is $9 for adults, or alternatively you can get a yearly membership. You can find out more about their admission, hours, and rates here.

Devou Park

Location: 1201 Park Dr, Covington, KY 41011 (Covington, KY)

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Located across the Ohio River in Covington, Devou Park spans over 700 acres and offers plenty of hiking trails, bike trails, a fishing pond, and an incredible view of Cincinnati across the river. There’s also a weird road worth checking out in the park known as Gravity Hill where gravity seems to work in reverse.

East Fork State Park

Location: 3294 Elklick Rd, Bethel, OH 45106 (Bethel)

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East Fork State Park is a state park located about 25 miles east of Cincinnati. Covering over 4,800 acres, this enormous park offers hiking, camping, swimming and boating opportunities. It also has a few different beaches where you can enjoy some sand and water without traveling to the coast. Check out this map of the park to familiarize yourself with the area and the attractions before you visit.

Eden Park

Location: 950 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Mt. Adams)

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One of Cincinnati’s most well-known parks that offers some beautiful views of the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky is Eden Park. Located on the outskirts of the Mt. Adams neighborhood, the park covers 186 total acres and features several hiking trails, a basketball court, a gazebo, plenty of green space for picnics, a pond with a fountain, Krohn Conservatory, and the Seasongood Pavilion.

Embshoff Woods*

Location: 4050 Paul Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45238 (Riverside)

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Embshoff Woods is a neighborhood park located in Riverside that features a 1.0-mile fitness trail, a 9-hole disc golf course, a playground, and several shelters and picnic areas. The fitness trail is rarely busy and offers a nice place to enjoy nature while getting a workout in.

Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve*

Location: 3455 Poole Rd, Colerain Township, OH 45251 (Colerain)

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sunny and 65 @great_parks

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Despite being one of the smaller parks in the city, Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve in Colerain is a hidden gem. Covering just over 20 acres, the preserve offers a well maintained 0.6-mile walking trail that includes a butterfly and wildflower garden.There’s also a neat  two-story barn that offers nature programs, a variety of exhibits and special events.

Fernald Preserve

Location: 7400 Willey Rd, Hamilton, OH 45013 (New Baltimore)

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Once a nuclear weapons plant, Fernald Preserve is a nature and wildlife preserve located 20 miles northwest of Cincinnati. Covering over 1,050 acres, the preserve features over 7 miles of paved and unpaved trails along with a huge visitors’ center where you can learn about the history of the preserve and the transformation that took place to turn it from a nuclear weapons plant into a nature preserve. This is a truly unique place to visit and it’s one that appeals to hikers, birders, and photographers alike.

Fernbank Park*

Location: 50 Thornton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45233 (Sayler Park)

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Located on the west side of the city in Sayler Park, Fernbank Park is a local favorite park that sits right along the Ohio River and offers a 1.2-mile paved trail, a 1.0-mile Sycamore nature trail, a playground, and access to Ohio River bank fishing. The park is well maintained and offers a nice place to enjoy some nature, a light walk, and a picnic when it’s warm out.

French Park

Location: 3012 Section Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45237 (Amberley)

Located in Amberley, French Park is another one of Cincinnati’s hidden gems. Covering over 275 acres, the park has several unique features including a massive two story brick house known as The French House, a variety of hiking trails, and a picnic shelter with grills and tables.

The hiking trails weave through forested areas and along creek beds throughout the park.The outermost loop of trails is about three miles along, but you can combine several trails to hike for as long as you’d like. Check out our complete guide to French Park here.

Glenwood Gardens

Location: 10397 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45215 (Woodlawn)

One of my favorite nature areas in all of the Queen City is Glenwood Gardens. Nestled between Woodlawn and Glendale, Glenwood Gardens encompasses over 335 acres and features a 1.0 mile asphalt garden loop and a 1.6 mile gravel wetland loop that weave throughout the park, offering excellent views of trees, rivers, prairies, gardens, and more.

Whether you’re looking for a scenic place to take photos, a place to walk your dog, or a well maintained area to go for a hike, Glenwood Gardens is the perfect place to go. Check out our complete guide to Glenwood Gardens here.

International Friendship Park

Location: 1135 Riverside Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Mt. Adams)

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International Friendship Park is a quiet narrow park located along the Ohio River near Downtown Cincinnati. With plenty of paved sidewalks, well-maintained landscaping, flowers and fauna, and various historical markings, this isn’t the biggest park but it’s a great place to go for a quiet walk and enjoy some views of the Ohio River.

Lake Isabella*

Location: 10174 Loveland-Madeira Road, Loveland, OH 45140 (Loveland)

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Lake Isabella is a 28-acre pay lake located in Loveland that is stocked weekly March through October and offers fishing from the bank, dock or rental boat. Note that canoes and kayaks are not allowed on the lake.The park also offers picnic areas, a playground and access to the Little Miami River.

Miami Whitewater Forest*

Location: 9001 Mt Hope Rd, Harrison, OH 45030 (Harrison)

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Spanning over 4,300 acres, Miami Whitewater Forest in Harrison is one of the largest nature areas in Cincinnati. It offers several hiking trails, paved walking trails, a 1.4-mile fitness trail, and several horesback riding trails. The park also includes a lake and a boathouse, a golf course, a 9-hole disc golf course, several shelter and picnic areas, and an 11-acre dog park.

Mitchell Memorial Forest*

Location: 5401 Zion Rd, Cleves, OH 45002 (Grandview)

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Located on the west side of the city, Mitchell Memorial Forest is a heavily wooded park that spans over 1,400 acres and offers a challenging mountain bike trail, a 1.0-mile nature trail, a catch-and-release fishing pond, playground, and picnic areas.

Mt. Airy Forest

Location: 5083 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223 (Mt. Airy)

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One of the more popular parks in Cincinnati is Mt. Airy Forest. Spanning 1,459 total acres, this park offers several miles of hiking trails, mountain biking trails, an enclosed dog park and one of the best 18-hole disc golf courses in the city. The park also has several picnic and shelter areas, charcoal grills, and swing sets.

Mt. Echo Park

Location: 202 Crestline Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45205 (Mt. Airy)

Located on the west side of the city in Price Hill, Mt. Echo Park is an 84-acre park that features an incredible view of Downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The park also has several shelter and picnic areas, along with a small pavilion and a short walking path.

Mount Storm Park

Location: 700 Lafayette Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223 (Mt. Airy)

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Located just a few minutes from The Gaslight District, Mount Storm Park is a quiet, hilly park that spans 57 acres. It offers a playground, a shelter, and an overlook with some nice views of Clifton. While the park has no hiking or walking trails, it does have a large open grassy area where you can bring a blanket and enjoy the weather when it’s warm out.

Otto Armleder Park

Location: 5057 Wooster Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45227 (Linwood)

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Located in Linwood, Otto Armleder Park is a 238-acre park that offers hiking trails, a bike path, a playground area, shelters, and a plethora of soccer fields. It’s also home to one of the largest dog parks in the city. Whether you want to go for a walk, run, bike ride, or enjoy the outdoors with your dog, this is the perfect park to do so.

Parker Woods

Location: 1558 Stanford Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45223 (Northside)

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Located in the Northside neighborhoodParker Woods is connected to Buttercup Valley Preserve, a nature area mentioned earlier in this post. Parker Woods offers several miles of interconnected hiking trails to explore, wooded areas to enjoy, and dozens of different plant species to admire. This is a great place to enjoy some nature and experience some solitude away from urban life.

Redbird Hollow

Location: 6168 Given Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45243 (Indian Hill)

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One of the more hidden nature areas in Cincinnati is Redbird Hollow. That’s because it’s a trail that only has one entrance at a bend in the road in Indian Hill. Despite being a bit tough to find, this trail is quite popular among the locals and especially for dog-walkers and trail runners. The trail itself is 3-mile out and back unpaved path that offers some nice views of rivers, creekbeds, forests, and dozens of plant species. 

Rheinstrom Park

Location: 8105 Graves Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45243 (Indian Hill)

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Another nice nature area located in the upscale neighborhood of Indian Hill is Rheinstrom Park. This is a quiet park that spans 27 acres and offers some nice paved walking trails that are perfect for a light walk.

Sharon Woods*

Location: 11450 Lebanon Rd, Sharonville, OH 45241 (Sharonville)

Covering over 730 total acres, Sharon Woods is another one of our personal favorite parks in Cincinnati. The park offers multiple play areas for children, a paved trail that wraps around the 35-acre Sharon Lake, a fitness trail, a Gorge nature trail, and dozens of picnic areas with shelters and volleyball courts.

The park also has a boathouse that offers petal boats and pontoon boats for rental that guests can take out on the lake, weather permitting.Check out our complete guide to Sharon Woods here.

Shawnee Lookout*

Location: 2008 Lawrenceburg, North Bend, OH 45052 (North Bend)

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Located on the far west side of Cincinnati, Shawnee Lookout is a 2,430-acre park that borders both Indiana and the Ohio River. Shawnee is well known for Native American archaeological earthworks, several hiking trails that wind through forested areas, and a few different spots to get spectacular views of the Ohio River and the Great Miami River valleys. The park also has several playground and picnic areas, which make it a perfect spot to take the family.

Smale Riverfront Park

Location: 166 W Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Downtown)

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Located right along the Ohio River, Smale Riverfront Park in Downtown Cincinnati is a beautiful, scenic park to check out. Featuring a playground area with climbing walls and slides, this is a great spot for families to visit. There is also a long winding walking trail with several swinging benches to sit on and enjoy the views of the river and the bridges.

Stanbery Park

Location: 2221 Oxford Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45230 (Mt. Washington)

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Located in the Mt. Washington neighborhood, Stanberry Park is a 125-acre park that offers a paved walkway and an extensive network of hiking trails that wind through forested areas, streams, and woodlands. This is an excellent place to go for a walk, have a picnic, or do some birding.

Stanley Rowe Arboretum

Location: 4600 Muchmore Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45243 (Indian Hill)

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One of the smallest, yet most peaceful and secluded nature areas in Cincinnati is Stanley Rowe Arboretum in Indian Hill. The arboretum spans just 9 total acres, but it offers an impressive variety of plant species that have been collected and curated from all over the world. There are walking paths that are interconnected throughout the arboretum, which make this an excellent place to go for a relaxing stroll and check out some plant species and trees you’ve probably never seen or even heard of before.

Tower Park

Location: 900 S Ft Thomas Ave, Fort Thomas, KY 41075 (Fort Thomas)

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Located across the Ohio River in Fort Thomas, KY, Thomas Park is a local favorite neighborhood park that spans 86 acres and offers several walking and biking trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball courts, and an amphitheater. 

Winton Woods*

Location: 10245 Winton Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45231 (Winton Woods)

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Winton Woods is one of the largest nature areas in Cincinnati. The park covers 2,555 total acres and offers an 18-hole disc golf course, basketball courts, a horse trail, 2.6 miles of paved trails, a 1.1-mile fitness trail, a 0.7-mile Great Oaks nature trail, a 1.1-mile Kingfisher nature trail, a massive lake available for fishing, and several benches and shelters throughout the park that are perfect for picnics and group gatherings.

Withrow Nature Preserve*

Location: 7075 Five Mile Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45230 (Anderson)

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Withrow Nature Preserve is a 270-acre park that offers a beautiful 1.6-mile Trout Lily nature trail is well-maintained and winds through wooded and forested areas. About halfway through the trail there’s a nice scenic river overlook along with a couple benches where you can sit, relax, and enjoy the view. This is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a light walk and want to absorb some peaceful nature. Check out our complete guide to Withrow Nature Preserve here.

Woodland Mound*

Location: 8250 Old Kellogg Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45255 (Cherry Grove)

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Woodland Mound is a park located on the east side of the city along the Ohio River. Covering 1,066 acres, Woodland Mound offers some excellent views of the Ohio River from the Breezy Point Pavilion, one of the best 18-hole disc golf courses in the city, a Wetland Adventure playground and snack bar for families and kids, several picnic areas, and a few different nature trails and paved trails.

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