Take a hike!: Dayton’s can’t-miss hiking trails of summer 2021

Last summer, people everywhere turned to their local trails and MetroParks as a safe way to get some fresh air in a socially-distanced manner.

Though most pandemic regulations are lifted and summertime in Dayton is looking more normal, the itch to explore the region’s many beautiful nature escapes might be stronger than ever. Whether a person is brand new to trekking the Miami Valley trails or if they’ve been at it for decades, there’s many different trails that should be must-do’s for any kind of outdoors lover.

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We asked Five Rivers MetroParks experts and some Dayton hiking enthusiasts what their top recommendations are for hiking summer 2021 and here’s what we heard:

Tips before you go:

“Don’t be scared of the mud and plan to get dirty,” said Mike Cooper, Five Rivers MetroParks trail specialist. “Walk through the mud or step over it. If you walk around it you’re doing more harm than good. Walking around the mud widens the trail, which can be damaging to the habitat surrounding the trails.”

When hitting the trail in the summer, it’s important to stay hydrated, check the forecast and dress for the weather, wear sunscreen and check often for ticks. Any time of the year, however, remember to wear proper footwear and always follow leave-no-trace rules.

Did we miss your favorite summertime hiking trail in the Dayton area? Let this reporter know at sarah.franks@coxinc.com.

For more experienced hikers:

🥾Twin Creek MetroPark orange trail — Germantown

-6 miles of natural surface trail that features a lot of different terrain.

Click here for a trail map.

🥾Germantown MetroPark silver trail — Germantown

–1.6 miles of natural surface trail.

Click here for a trail map.

🥾Twin Valley Trail — multiple trailhead locations

-“Most people don’t realize there’s that kind of mileage within MetroParks,” said Angie Sheldon, MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “You don’t even feel like you’re in the city.”

-At 27 miles long, the Twin Valley Trail has been featured in Backpacker Magazine. The trail is 30 minutes from downtown Dayton, connecting the existing trail networks of Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks. The backpacking trail is a close-to-home opportunity to experience a hike, “reminiscent of other wilderness trails with beautiful hills, babbling brooks, abundant wildlife, history and small town charm,” according to Five Rivers.

Click here for a trail map.

🥾Taylorsville East Park orange trail — Vandalia

– 3.2 miles of varying terrain. Not too crowded.

Click here for a trail map.

For newbie to experienced hikers:

🥾Heart Healthy Trail at Germantown MetroPark — Germantown

– 1.7-mile natural surface trails at the park that take you by wetlands and into a pollinator prairie.

Click here for a trail map.

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🥾Possum Creek MetroPark green trail — Dayton

- .3 miles of natural surface trail.

Click here for a trail map.

🥾Carriage Hill MetroPark’s new Heart Healthy Trail — Huber Heights

– 1.8 miles of flat natural surface trail.

Click here for a trail map.

🥾The Narrows — Beavercreek

Narrows Reserve is one of the most beautiful and up-close ways to experience the Little Miami River on foot. The trail offers close to 6 miles of trails that wind along the Little Miami River, through woods and a meadow and is primarily easy terrain.

Click here for a trail map.