During this Covid-19 Stay at Home Order, our tribe was grateful for the open trails of Cincinnati parks ushering us on many adventures together. To enter a trail with sunlight illuminating through the trees is like a handwritten love note to let your hearts know it is here to be at rest. Crossing off different parts of town off of our hiking list serves as a way to get to know Cincinnati from an exploratory lens.
With summer upon us, I compiled a summer hiking list to guide your family on a fun scavenger hunt.
At Great Parks of Hamilton County, you will find a comprehensive list of all the parks surrounding and within the Cincinnati area. Write down the ones that you want to explore, going to a new one with each new hike. If you are reading this and live outside of the area, then this list can be used on any of your own hiking trails.
Choose whichever hiking landscape you want to explore. We prefer ones that offer creek and wooded trail options and the list above will guide you on the park details to find one that fits you best.
Pack one backpack that your family can use packed with water, snacks, notebook, pen, bag or jar to collect special treasures.
Have kids write out their own “what to look for list” on a notepad and while on the trail, they get to cross things off their list and then also add ideas to it for the next hiking list.
Collect items on the hike to use for a special family time of building something together out of those materials at the end of the trail.
Take time to pause on fun parts of the trail to play with elements of nature you find on the way. This also includes tree climbing and finding the ones that give your children exploring in safe ways. Another part of play is to wear your rain boots and walk the creek part of the trails together.
Finding heart-shaped rocks has become a favorite of ours, and you can also discover other kinds of shapes like diamond, square, circle, etc. to add to your list.
Bring with you a bug catcher and when you find special “friends” on the trail, then you can let them join you during your hike and you can let them go back in their home after you are done exploring together.
When you are near creeks, lift up rocks and go on a salamander search. My kids also like to put snake search on their list. I am phobic of snakes so the rule is that if my kids are with their Dad, then they can safely pick up snakes we know are nonpoisonous with him. The salamanders I can do, though, and they are so fun to catch!
Collect dandelions, share your wishes, and blow them in the air on a favorite part of your trail.
Use parts of nature to create fun photo op memories together.
My kids love to collect hiking sticks and then at home, use them for various building projects.
Pack a fishing pole in your hiking backpack and on some of the trails that give you fishing ability, make it a double adventure day of fun together.