A List of 10 Secluded Hiking Trails
Story & Photos By Matt Bayman
Click HERE for 10 more
There are miles and miles of hiking trails in the northern Miami Valley, some of which hardly ever get used. This makes them perfect getaways during the Stay at Home order, which still allows access to local hiking trails and parks (with the use of safe social distancing), but does not include access to bathrooms or other indoor facilities. So plan accordingly and get out and enjoy some fresh air. You might even discover a few new favorite places!
1. Carriage Hill Farm
7800 Shull Rd., Huber Heights
Known mostly for its living history and farm animals, Carriage Hill MetroPark actually has an extensive trail system that encompasses nearly four miles. Trails pass through wooded areas, ponds, prairies and the farm area.
Click HERE for the trail map.
2. Routzong Preserve in Darke County
Located on Routzong Road just off of St. Rt. 571, about 8 ½ miles after Laura on your right
Park in the gravel parking lot and walk the long trail to a patch of dense woods. Here, a loop trail passes through several unique areas. Surrounded by farmland, this secluded park is home to many birds, squirrels and chipmunks, among other wildlife.
3. Lost Creek Reserve
2385 St. Rt. 41, Troy
Believe it or not, Lost Creek Reserve has more miles of hiking trails than any other Miami County Park District park. More than 5 miles of trails pass through deep woods, wetlands, next to Lost Creek, through a walnut grove and open farmland. Near the cabin at the park, look for one of the best panoramic views of the Miami Valley in our area. Far above the Great Miami River here, it is possible to see the airport tower in Vandalia, among other distant landmarks.
Click HERE for a map trail.
4. Lost Creek Prairie Preserve
Located just outside of Tipp City on Tipp-Elizabeth Road
This preserve is located at the confluence of Lost Creek and the Great Miami River (where my son, pictured below, had a Shawshank Redemption moment many years ago). A trail system here hugs the riparian corridor of both the creek and the river and also passes through a young, growing forest that was planted by the City of Tipp City more than a decade ago.
5. Lake Loramie State Park
4401 Fort Loramie-Swanders Rd., Minter
Along with five different hiking trails that cover 8 miles around Lake Loramie, enjoy a unique bird observation blind (pictured below with an outside and inside view) where you can step inside, be quiet and watch life on the lake in quiet solitude. Explore the park's trails HERE.
6. Stillwater Loop Trail at Brukner Nature Center
5995 Horseshoe Bend Rd., Troy
Before the foliage gets too thick, take a hike on the lesser-used Stillwater Loop trail at Brukner Nature Center and look for some of the biggest white oaks around (below left). Right next to this trail is the Swamp Boardwalk, which will soon be covered with marsh marigolds (below right). See the trail guide HERE.
7. Hobart Urban Nature Preserve
1400 Tyrone Rd, Troy
A beautiful place to watch spring come to life is at this Miami County Park. It features more than 2 miles of trails and many different varieties of trees and plants, some of which have very vibrant colors in the spring and fall. Highlights at the park include a 3-acre pond that’s popular with local wildlife and four welded sculptures.
8. Honey Creek Preserve
4536 St. Rt. 202, Tipp City
Take a one-mile loop trail around this 200-acre park and pass through a giant prairie, a scenic overlook next to Honey Creek and a wooded area. There’s also a 1950s-ere barn and silo on the property. Interestingly, this area was where the first settlement in Miami County was established. It was a town called Livingston, but it only lasted a decade or so after its residents got tired of dealing with flooding. View the trail map for Honey Creek HERE.
(WARNING - This park can get very muddy!!!)
9. Stillwater Prairie Reserve
9750 St. Rt. 185, Covington
Along with 3 miles of hiking trails, this Miami County Park has fun places to explore around every corner. Pictured below-left are the limestone steps at the park, remnants of a sea that long ago covered Ohio. They sit next to the Stillwater River, which a portion of the trail system hugs before expanding into lush prairies and peaceful countryside. View the trail map HERE.
10. Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary
2540 E. Statler Rd., Piqua
One of the best places to see spring come to life in Miami County, this secluded park has a mile-long boardwalk trail (most of which is brand-new) that passes through one of the oldest patches of woods in the county. Listen for tree frogs and keep your eyes peeled for wildflowers, mushrooms and wildlife.
(WARNING - The older section of boardwalk (the part that you enter from the parking lot) is very slippery when wet, so shuffle along safely!)