hiking

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum

https://www.pyramidhill.org

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum is a 300 plus acre outdoor sculpture park in Hamilton. The park is open all year and can be experienced differently during each season. There are many special events during the year and at times the park can be busy. The holiday lights, for example, are a very popular event.

This park was started by Harry T. Wilks, a philanthropist who was big in the Hamilton community. He purchased the land to build his home. Over the years he added sculptures, hiking trails, roads, and small lakes. Soon he also started purchasing the land next to his property. Wilks was a big donor too local arts and education organizations. In 1997 he created a nonprofit to protect the park from private developers who might break up the land and spoil the beauty.

The park is open during the daylight hours and the museum is open in the afternoons. It does cost to visit the park. One can stop at the front gate or visitor’s center to pay for entrance.  Using the map provided one can travel by car throughout the park seeing all the sculptures. This is the low activity way to see it. The medium activity level way is to drive around, park at the many parking lots, and then walk around. The higher activity level way is to park at one of the lots and walk the nature trails and road around the park. This park is accessible to just about anyone. The park also does rent Art Carts (golf carts) to tour the park. The length of time it takes to see the whole park depends on the mode of transportation and activity level. What is nice is the park can be done in a long or short amount of time.

What one will see when touring the park is over 60 modern outdoor sculptures. These are very large sculptures. Some are colorful and some are made of natural materials. Each one is impressive. Even if modern art is not to your liking, it is nice to see them and explore them from all angles. Each different side is like seeing a new piece of artwork.

The park houses an Ancient Sculpture Museum. The museum is open in the afternoons and included in the cost of admission. This museum house many ancient sculptures from Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Syrian and Egyptian cultures. If you’re a first timer to the park, a timing to stop at the museum is a must.

It must be mentioned, that the park can also be reserved for events and weddings. There are event venues throughout the park. The gardens are so popular that most good weather weekends have an event going on. From Butler Philharmonic concerts to fishing derbies to food festivals there is something for everyone.

No matter your ability level, this park will have something to see. So spend an afternoon this year visiting this park, you will not be disappointed.

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Fort Ancient

6123 St. Rt. 350, Oregonia, Ohio 45054

http://www.fortancient.org/

Fort Ancient is a museum and grounds representing the Native American cultures which once inhabited the area. It contains a museum and surrounding grounds with trails to explore the ancient site.

The history of the area is long and complicated. The first people to build a village at the site were the Hopewell people. They were a mound building society, which they inherited from the Adena. Some of the best examples of this are at Hopewell Culture National Historic Park. The Hopewell Culture only lasted until the 500’s. About 500 years later people of the Fort Ancient culture took over the site and used the area until the arrival of Europeans. It is because of the walls and mounds on the site that the first archaeologist to study the area thought that the recent inhabitants had used it as a fort. Only recently has it be understood that the walls and the later village were from separate unrelated cultures.

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The museum offers 9,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. There are exhibits on the first Ohioans, how they used the land, their first contact with the Europeans, and the conflict which ensued. There is also a prehistoric garden, showing all the crops that would have been grown during the time. There are lots of hands on exhibits too.

Fort Ancient is not just a museum but also a great outdoor space. It is the largest outdoor historic site of its kind in the country. There are 2.5 miles of walking trails. These trails allow one to see the historic mounds and also the surrounding countryside.  There are two overlooks that give a great view. The trails are easily accessed from parking lots throughout. The park is nice because what is learned at museum can be experienced in the natural setting. The maps and dioramas in the museums show off where everything used to be, so seeing this outside really adds to the overall experience.

As one of the best museums in the state for the history of the area before the influx of Europeans, Fort Ancient is a must see for an Ohio History buff.

Tip: Fort Ancient is worth a visit on its own, but is also part of the Ohio History Connection and is free with Membership

 

Hocking Hills State Park Updated

Here is an update of the park after a recent visit. This will give you some idea of what the park looks like in the Summer. Might inspire you to get out an hike it.

Address: 19852 State Route 664 S
Logan, Ohio 43138

Rating ****

Links: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/parks/hocking/tabid/743/Default.aspx

Quick Review: State park loaded with tons of outdoor activities and camping.

Review: Hocking Hills State Park is best summed up by what is said on its website:

“Hocking Hills provides a variety of recreational opportunities in a splendid natural setting. Towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep hemlock-shaded gorges lure the hiker and naturalist and serve as a backdrop to popular facilities and accommodations.”

Hocking Hills is located near Logan, Ohio. When going to hocking hills one can spend the day hiking, fishing, playing games, doing archery, swimming (seasonal), enjoying nature programs, visiting the visitors center. camping, ice fishing (seasonal), and visiting the near by area. One thing to mention is that a rock climbing/rappelling area is available in the adjacent Hocking Hills State Forest. An easy hike or drive if you wanted to do rock climbing while on your stay to Hocking Hills State Park.

Hocking Hills has lots of camping opportunities. Hocking Hills has basically four camping options. Lets start at the most basic and work our way up. Hocking Hills about 12 – 13 camp sites without electricity, 156 with electricity, 3 camper cabins, and 40 cottages. This gives a person many different options to what kind of camping they would like to do. The most popular and probably hardest to get are the cottages, so book well in advance (months). Major holidays in the summer like Labor Day, July Fourth, and Memorial Day probably fill up the fastest. What is nice is that Hocking Hills website gives a person a great way to see if cottages are available. So visit the website or call before traveling to the park. These cottages, are gas-heated, air-conditioned, family housekeeping cottages that sleep up to six persons, have showers, gas burning fireplaces, complete kitchens, dining areas, and screened porches. This would meet the needs of any family camping. There are also group camping sites for perfect for any youth or adult organization.

One of the most popular activities to do while at Hocking Hills is hiking. The are 26 miles of hiking trails located on the park. The trails range from easy with handicap access to difficult. Most of the trails are of a moderate difficulty. One great trail to take is the Old Man’s Cave Trail. This is the place to see a mile long gorge, waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, rock formations, and the the 149 foot tall hemlock said to be the tallest tree in Ohio. The rock formations have names like Devil’s Bathtub, Sphinx Head, Eagle Rock, and Whale in the Wall. The major reason to go on Old Man’s Cave Trail is to see old mans cave, the rock shelter that was once the home of Richard Rowe, a 19th-century hermit. What is fun to do is to make a list of all of the features of Old Man’s Cave Trail and then while on the trail try to make sure to find each thing, a scavenger hunt of sorts. What is great about the trails in the park is that a hiker gets to see many different rock formations, trees, and natural landscapes. Some of the trails in the park are also sections of the Buckey Trail. The park has many maps available for the trails. Visit the visitors center or park office for a map.

There is tons to do at Hocking Hills State Park for a long stay or just one day. The park is easily explorable without staying the night. The park could also be the jumping off spot for a visit to the surrounding area. In the Hocking Valley there are lots of shopping opportunities, the Adena Mansion and Gardens to visit, other nature parks, and many tourist activities. This truly is a beautiful part of Ohio.

Hocking Hills State Park is a great park to visit for the day or the week. This park will connect or reconnect one with all of nature’s grandness while also providing an experience one is not going to forget.

The Hocking Hills Dining Lodge – http://hockinglodge.com/ is next to Old Man’s Cave and in the park. They are a home made family style restaurant.  They are open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.  

Blossom Center for the Performing Arts and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Blossom – http://www.livenation.com/venue/blossom-music-center-tickets

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – http://www.nps.gov/CUVA/index.htm

Blossom Center for the Performing Arts is located in Cuyahoga Falls outside of Cleveland. It is an outdoor amphitheater that hosts concerts and is the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra. Blossom’s pavilion section seats 5,700 people, with space for about 13,500 more on the lawn.  Blossom is a great place to see the orchestra and more upscale productions, but has does not always receive favorable reviews for rock concerts. The are many options to what to see at the Blossom, so one should go to the Blossom first before deciding the place is a waste of time. The best seats are under the pavilion (no worries about rain), but expect to pay more than a lawn seat.

The Blossom Music Center for the Performing Arts is located inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This park was first established as a national recreation area in 1974 by President Ford and designated a national park on October 11, 2000. The park was established because many people in the area wanted to prevent urban sprawl from taking over the land.

There are many things to do inside the park. Some of them include backpacking, bicycling, bird watching, camping, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, golfing, picnicking, horseback riding, train riding, and winter sports.  There are also Ranger led events all year long. Now this is something for everyone.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates 12 months a year and offers transportation in the park. This is a great way to not have to drive in parts of the park. One wanting to ride the railroad should first visit http://www.cvsr.com/. This will give a good idea of prices and where to board the train. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates outside of the park also, so definitely visit their site to figure out which city to board in so you are on the right train trip that goes through the park.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a national park is hiking and Cuyahoga does not let down. Cuyahoga has over 125 miles of hiking trails. A portion of Ohio’s Buckeye Trail also passes through the park. There is a trail for everyone at the park. One trail of mention is the Towpath Trail. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is nearly level and accessible to all visitors. The trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.  You can walk or bike on what used to have mule pulled canal boats on it.

The park offers campsites and even offers a small bed and breakfast. The park is also located between Cleveland and Akron Ohio, so those two cities also have hotels and so do many of the cities in between. Lodging in or around the park is not a problem.

One can spend the day hiking then seeing a concert at Blossom Music Center. The Blossom Center for the Performing Arts and Cuyahoga Valley National Park are two great places in Northeast Ohio not to be missed.

Hocking Hills State Park

19852 Ohio 664,Logan, OH 43138

http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/parks/hocking/tabid/743/Default.aspx

Hocking Hills State Park is best summed up by what is said on its website:

“Hocking Hills provides a variety of recreational opportunities in a splendid natural setting. Towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep hemlock-shaded gorges lure the hiker and naturalist and serve as a backdrop to popular facilities and accommodations.”

Hocking Hills is located near Logan, Ohio. When going to hocking hills one can spend the day hiking, fishing, doing archery, swimming (seasonal), enjoying nature programs, visiting the visitor’s center. camping, ice fishing (seasonal). One thing to mention is that a rock climbing/rappelling area is available in the adjacent Hocking Hills State Forest.

Hocking Hills has basically four camping options. Let’s start at the most basic and work our way up. There are 12 – 13 camp sites without electricity, 156 with electricity, 3 camper cabins, and 40 cottages. This gives a person many different options to what kind of camping they would like to do. The most popular and probably hardest to get are the cottages, so book well in advance (months). Major holidays in the summer like Labor Day, 4th of July, and Memorial Day probably fill up the fastest. What is nice is that Hocking Hills website gives a person a great way to see if cottages are available. So visit the website or call before traveling to the park. These cottages, are gas-heated, air-conditioned, family housekeeping cottages that sleep up to six persons, have showers, gas burning fireplaces, complete kitchens, dining areas, and screened porches. This would meet the needs of any family camping. There are also group camping sites for perfect for any youth or adult organization.

The most popular activity to do at Hocking Hills is hiking. There are 26 miles of hiking trails located on the park. The trails range from easy with handicap access to difficult. Most of the trails are of a moderate difficulty. One great trail to take is the Old Man’s Cave Trail. This is the place to see a mile long gorge, waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, rock formations, and the 149 foot tall hemlock said to be the tallest tree in Ohio. The rock formations have names like Devil’s Bathtub, Sphinx Head, Eagle Rock, and Whale in the Wall. The major reason to go on Old Man’s Cave Trail is to see old man’s cave, the rock shelter that was once the home of Richard Rowe, a 19th-century hermit.  What is fun to do is to make a list of all of the features of Old Man’s Cave Trail and then while on the trail try to make sure to find each thing, a scavenger hunt of sorts. Some of the trails in the park are also sections of the Buckeye Trail. The park has many maps available for the trails. Visit the visitor’s center or park office for a map.

There are tons to do at Hocking Hills State Park for a long stay or just one day. The park is easily able to be explored without staying the night. The park could also be the jumping off spot for a visit to the surrounding area. In the Hocking Valley there are lots of shopping opportunities, other nature parks, and many tourist activities. This truly is a beautiful part of Ohio.

Hocking Hills State Park is a great park to visit for the day or the week. This park will connect or reconnect one with all of nature’s grandness while also providing an experience one is not going to forget.

Five Rivers Metro Parks

Link: http://www.metroparks.org/

The Five Rivers Metro Parks are located in and around Dayton, Ohio and Montgomery County. The parks are more than what one would expect from outdoor recreation. Here is a list of a few of the activities: hiking, boating, cycling, rock climbing, general fitness, horseback riding, gardening, bird watching, plant observing, and more. The metro park system has three types of parks, urban parks, natural area parks, and garden parks. The park system is more than just standard parks, but a system of parks, trails, bike paths, and rivers.

The parks are free of charge to a long period of time during the day. Here is a highlight of some of the parks:

Cox Arboretum:  The 189-acre facility is a place for visitors to escape among trees, shrubs, specialty gardens, mature forests, and prairies. Cox’s hosts many educational programs throughout the year. It is located in the middle of the South Dayton area near the Dayton Mall. Cox is easily accessed and can be enjoyed in a few hours or most of the day. Cox’s has many plant species to look at. It also hosts an annual butterfly house in the summer. Cox is great for the young and old because many of the trails are paved or not on a great incline. Cox is the perfect place to go on a warm summer evening to look at the flowers.

Germantown MetroPark: The park is located twenty minutes from Dayton. Germantown MetroPark is the most diverse and significant natural area managed by MetroParks. It is a hiker’s paradise with over 15.9 miles of wooded trails for walking and hiking. The park also allows group camping for organizations involved in environment activities. The park has wooded areas, prairies, streams, and creeks. The Twin Valley Backpacking Trail is also accessible from the park and connects it to Twin Creek Metro Park.

Carriage Hill MetroPark: A recreation of a 19th century farm. This park has animals, buildings, and a history center all telling the story of what life was like over 100 years ago. The farm has many programs over the year all educating visitors on how to live like the 19th century. Most weekends the farm has costumed reenactors. Along with the Farm are miles of hiking trails and a horse center with miles of  riding trails.

There is something for everyone to do: go downtown to Riverscape and watch the fountain in the summer, canoe at Eastwood Metropark, cross country ski at Englewood Metropark, horseback ride at Carriage Hill Metropark, mountain bike at Huffman Metropark, or look at the beautiful flowers at Alluwood Garden Metropark. The Metropark system has something for every age group, ability level, interest, and experience. The Fiver Rivers Metropark system is one of the best in the state of Ohio.

Caesar Creek

8570 Ohio 73, Waynesville, OH 45068

http://caesarcreekstatepark.com/

Quick Review: A nice lake with good hiking trails.

Cesar Creek is one of Ohio’s many state parks. It is half lake and half trails. The 43 miles of trails make it a great place to hike. With 2,830 acres of water and no horsepower limit on your boat it is a fun place to be on the water.

Hiking in the park, as with most southwestern Ohio parks, is mostly through two distinct environments, forest, or prairie. Hiking at the park is nice but not as well maintained as some of the other parks. This is not a bad thing however, allowing for great views of plant succession. Forest hiking is great with many of the trails following the lake. The deeper parts of the forest are not as old growth however.

The lake itself is an awesome place to go to boat or even swim. With a decent beach front and multiple boat ramps the park offers many opportunities to get wet. Watch out though many people means many problems. Avoid the weekend rush and the park can be one of the best places to go locally.

A good place to start any visit to the park is the welcome center. With displays on the history of the park and region and even movies to watch it is a nice place to learn about history of the area. Have a question? Ask a park ranger there. They enjoy helping. Don’t know what trail to take? The park rangers will know what the best one is for the season.

Also located on the premises is a “Pioneer Village” and a nature center. The Pioneer Village is more of just an outcropping of old building than a real “Village.” Having not gone when the village has had its historical actors working I cannot comment on how well they do, but I can say that it is busy when festivals are held so they must be popular. The nature center is a small building with a few animals a couple of displays. There are also a few cages outside with animals being rehabilitated. Around the grounds are a couple of ponds that seem to have a lot of wild life to see in the warmer months. The trails from the center are short and scenic. The nature canter is the perfect place to take kids who might get overwhelmed or bored on the longer trails.

Quick tip: Ask a park ranger!