Riverside Walks and Side Trips on the Tributaries

Urban trails along the Licking River and the Mill Creek deliver a taste of what fully connected pathways could offer.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRITTANY DEXTER

Covington’s Licking River Greenway trail, which will eventually stretch 12–14 miles to Taylor Mill and Wilder, features several paved riverside paths and nature trails along the levee. They’re great spots for bird-watching—can you find the elusive cuckoos nesting along the river?—and for looking out over the rooftops of the city’s historic Austinburg neighborhood.

The trail connects with three parks along the way (Austinburg, Clayton-Meyer, and Randolph). You’ll also come across 17 ArtWorks murals painted on various river regulation structures to celebrate wellness, recreation, connectivity, community, and the natural environment.

On the Cincinnati side, it’s time to check out Mill Creek, the waterway the Shawnee called “Makatewa,” meaning It is black. The Mill Creek Greenway Trail includes a wooded, natural section in Carthage and a 3.5-mile stretch through Northside. That portion of the trail offers an interesting juxtaposition of urban and natural, where Great Blue and Black-Crown Night Herons stalk riffles below rail embankments and highway overpasses. There’s a scale model of the solar system along the trail, beginning at The Old Timber Inn (Home of the Fish Log!) on Spring Grove Avenue, and a lush urban orchard planted with apples, pears, and other fruits.

Trail enthusiasts hope the Northside section will eventually follow the Mill Creek south to the Ohio River and connect with Cincinnati’s Riverwalk pathways. It would eventually form the western arm of the proposed CROWN (Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network) trail system around Hamilton County.

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