5 Reasons to Go Winter Hiking near Dayton Ohio

Photo above: Winter hiking in Bill Yeck Park near Centerville Ohio. 

No need to hang up your hiking gear just because of the cooler temperatures—winter is actually one of the best times to hike in Ohio. This magical season reveals beautiful views that were once hidden by dense vegetation, adds an occasional covering of snow, and transforms river and waterfalls into an icy wonderland. You might have to wear a few more clothes than in the summer, but dress in layers and you’ll warm up in no time. So without further ado, here’s why winter is the best season to go hiking in Ohio, as well as some great trail options to try for yourself.

1. Discover New Views

Ohio has some breathtaking scenery with lush greenery during the summer and colorful foliage in the fall. But it isn’t until winter rolls around that you finally get a glimpse of what’s been hiding behind all of that vegetation throughout the year. As the leaves fall and trees become bare, you’ll discover new and breathtaking panoramic views, hidden wonders, and much more.

Check out local places in the Miami Valley like Glen Helen’s red and green trails near Yellow Springs Ohio or the Caesars Creek Perimeter Loop Trail located between Harveysburg and Waynesville Ohio for some spectacular views.

2. Frosty Waterfalls and Rock Walls

Venturing out into the winter wilderness, you’ll wind your way through beautiful frozen forests, travel along ice-clad limestone walls, and discover spectacular waterfalls and frozen cascades. It’s especially beautiful with a dusting of snow. We’re not talking knee-deep powder, but just enough to let you know winter has arrived.

Also near Yellow Springs is Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, the perfect local winter adventure, with subtle waterfalls and rock walls to explore. In Miami County, near Tipp City, discover Charleston Falls Preserve with four miles of trails and a 37 foot waterfall.

3. No Bugs or Snakes

One of the best things about winter hiking is no need to deal with pesky mosquitos or other insects, so leave the bug spray at home.

It’s not just mosquitoes, but other types of creepy crawlies (like snakes) also go dormant during this time of year. So a winter hike means you don’t have to worry about stumbling across some of the creatures that you might be afraid of in the summer.

4. Mild to Wild Winter Temperatures

Remember the sticky summer temperatures averaging in the 80s or 90s with a ton of humidity? Hiking in winter can actually be more comfortable and fun if you dress properly.

Thanks to Ohio’s mild to wild winter temperatures, you’ll find a day with temperatures to suit you making winter hiking pretty pleasant. From December until February, expect the temperature to range from single digits up to 40s. Occasionally there will be a super cold front, so bring layers just in case.

Check out trails at Sugarcreek MetroPark near Bellbrook Ohio for beautiful views along the Sugar Creek, as well as walking through an “osage orange tunnel.” Stop to admire 550-year-old oak trees. Be prepared to cross the stream several times on stepping stones. Another great winter hiking choice are the trails in Bill Yeck Park near Centerville, Ohio. Once again, expect to cross Sugar Creek several times on stepping stones.

5. Avoid the Crowds

If you frequent some of the more popular hiking trails, you’ve surely come across the crowds of people that are out and about during the summer months. But in the winter, you’ll practically have the trail all to yourself. Imagine hiking through a quiet, snow-covered trail and through beautiful woods only to be rewarded with frosty waterfalls and stunning panoramic views. What more could you ask for?

If you’re looking for a quiet destination, try Germantown MetroPark and Twin Creek MetroPark trails near Germantown Ohio. During the winter, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have the trails to yourself.

There’s nothing quite like exploring your favorite (or new) trails in the winter. Although it might be a little chilly, you won’t regret it, and you’ll get to top the day off with a hot toddy (or hot chocolate) by the fire. Sounds like a pretty sweet way to spend a winter day or weekend if you ask us.

Want to learn more or join us on a winter hike? Check out our free Saturday Morning Hiking Series and our classes on Cold Weather Hiking. More classes and events.



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