A trip on the Little Miami Scenic Trail in southwestern Ohio is a journey through one of the state’s most beautiful and historic areas.
From the trailhead at Buck Creek State Park (northeast of Springfield) to the terminus at Milford (east of Cincinnati), the trail offers opportunities for hiking, bicycling, rollerblading and horseback riding all amid some of Ohio’s truly spectacular vistas.
Each year more than 750,000 people come to experience the trail’s natural beauty. Paralleling the Little Miami State and National Scenic River
for most of its 85 miles, the trail meanders through four counties Clermont, Warren, Greene and Clark into quaint towns and villages, past towering cliffs and through deep, cool woodlands.
Built upon the former Little Miami Railroad, the northern section of the trail corridor is maintained by local park districts, while the southern 50 miles represent Little Miami State Park Ohio’s only “trail-oriented” state park. Spur trails connect the towns of South Charleston, Cedarville, Beavercreek and Urbana to the main trailway.
At different times of the year, more than 340 species of wildflowers decorate the trail as it winds through the Miami River Valley. Songbirds and warblers provide a melodic chorus of background music for hikers and cyclists.
|Courtesty of Clark, Greene, Warren & Clermont CVBs.
Once the hunting grounds of Miami and Shawnee Indians, the valley was also a natural highway for early settlers entering the Northwest Territory. Those pioneers harnessed the power of the Little Miami River, building grist and textile mills along its banks. The Clifton Mill in Greene County is a remnant of that era. Today, it still produces a variety of flours and serves as a restaurant, offering home-cooked breakfasts and lunches, making it a popular respite for trail travelers.
Bike and skate rentals are a convenient alternative for those who want to experience the trail, but don’t have their own “wheels.” You’ll find these services available in places such as Yellow Springs and Waynesville. Every summer, seasonal eateries open for business. Ice cream, a trail favorite, can be found in a variety of places, including Spring Valley and Corwin. If one day simply isn’t enough time to do all of your exploring, consider staying overnight at one of several bed and breakfasts or motels sprinkled along the way, including Xenia, Morrow and Loveland.
Some people might want to go “off trail” and experience some of the same beautiful scenery from the water. Most of the 105-mile river is canoeable. If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak, there are several canoe liveries along the way, in addition to four river access points that the state provides for kayakers and canoeists.
At various points of the 70-plus mile trail, visitors can break away and discover other nearby state recreational areas, such as Caesar Creek, East Fork and John Bryan state parks; Spring Valley State Wildlife Area, as well as Clifton Gorge and Caesar Creek Gorge state nature preserves.
History buffs also might want to consider a side trip to Fort Ancient State Memorial, found near trail milepost 26.6; or journey past the birthplace of the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh, at milepost 53.7 near Oldtown.
Make a date this summer with the Little Miami Scenic Trail and treat yourself to a day or more of stress-free fun in Ohio’s great outdoors … and don’t forget the camera!
Although most of the main trailway is a smooth, paved surface, motorized vehicles are not allowed. Trail users are reminded to observe all “rules of the road” and stay off private property adjoining the right of way. Pets on hand-held leashes are welcome.