Scott Fitzgerald knew what he was talking about, when he said, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Cincinnati’s best fall color happens around the third or fourth week of October, according to Cincinnati Parks, so get to a park at once, before all those amber, goldenrod, and burnt sienna leaves end up crunched up on the forest floor. The tri-state has plenty of spots to take in the beauty. Here are six of our favorites for leaf peeping.
The changing leaves in Burnet Woods are a must-see. To catch the best view in this Clifton park, Cincinnati Parks suggests stopping by the woods’ fishing lake. A friendly heads up for planning your visit: Cincinnati Parks has closed a portion of Burnet Woods Drive Road to vehicles temporarily, in an effort to improve bike and pedestrian safety.
3251 Brookline Ave., Clifton
Caldwell Nature Preserve
The variety of trees at the Caldwell Nature Preserve mean an autumn rainbow of color: walnut, elm, maples, ash, and tulip poplar trees span the spectrum of red, yellow, and orange. The American Hiking Society even lists the preserve as one of Ohio’s 10 best hikes.
430 W. North Bend Rd., Carthage
Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve
Great Parks of Hamilton County overseas 17 parks in the region, and one of the best for leaf peeping is Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve, says Kimberly Whitton, the organizaiton’s public engagement coordinator. The preserve offers both paved and nature trails, including the accessible Pin Oak Trail, which boasts a butterfly and wildflower garden. The trail is just over a half mile long, making it appropriate for families and kids of any age.
3455 Poole Rd., Groesbeck
Mt. Airy Forest
Mt. Airy Forest, Cincinnati’s largest park, might be the city’s best spot for drive-around leaf peeping, especially where the sour gum trees are dressed in crimson and purple. The forest also offers miles of trails for hiking trails, horseback, and mountain biking and is home to the state’s only wheelchair-accessible public treehouse.
5083 Colerain Ave., Mt. Airy
Sharon Woods Trails
Sharon Woods offers a trio of possible trails, but Whitton points to the Gorge Trail for some of the best foliage. The trail extends less than three-fourths of a mile and winds through a limestone glacial gorge, which has been a designated State Nature Preserve since 1977, with views of Sharon Creek and its waterfalls. You can’t beat that colorful canopy.
11450 Lebanon Rd., Sharonville
This hilltop park spans more than 2,000 acres. Pick a trail to wander, and take in the Great Miami and Ohio River valley views. “It’s totally worth the uphill trek,” Whitton says.
2008 Lawrenceburg Rd., North Bend