Whether you’re new to hiking with your baby or toddler, or you’re looking for a new trail to explore, the Hike it Baby community is a valuable resource for finding family hiking trails around the country. In this article, we share three beautiful hikes in Ohio to explore with babies and young children.
Hiking with young children (under 5 years old) is different from hiking with school-age children. These three hikes in Ohio offer families of young children beautiful trails to explore while considering the unique ways young children hike, wander, doddle and explore.
While there are thousands of trails to explore in Ohio, our local Hike it Baby branches recommend these three hikes that are close to metro areas, accessible by all-terrain strollers and beautiful to explore with young children.
SANCTUARY MARSH LOOP TRAIL (WILLOUGHBY HILLS, OH)
This paved hike, located in North Chagrin Reservation (part of the Cleveland Metroparks), takes you around a marsh that offers many beautiful views. While hiking, be on the lookout for lots of ducks, geese, turtles, fish and more! Since the trail is not too long (0.5 miles), it’s easy for beginner walkers, and you have many options to extend the hike by branching off onto other trails in the metropark. The Sanctuary Marsh Loop Trail also features a ceramic snake and frogs for kids to play on, and it’s located right next to a nature center.
- Since the trail is paved, strollers of all kinds can be used. If you branch off of the main loop and into the woods to catch another trail, an all-terrain or jogger stroller will be needed.
- Make a morning or afternoon of your visit and head to the nature center! A children’s play area is available as well as native-live animal exhibits, multiple wildlife viewing areas and the Nature Shop.
- Before or after your hike, take advantage of the water fountains and restrooms with changing tables, both located inside the Nature Center.
Photo Credit: Jessica Nave
STORY WOODS (DELHI TOWNSHIP, OH)
This peaceful hike features just over 2 miles (2.03 miles in total). There are lots of plant life for families to explore. A creek off one of the trails features mushrooms and rocks for hikers to walk on. The trails are gravel and dirt, so it’s great for toddler-led hikes and babywearers. Part of a 40-acre park, Story Woods also features a playground made of recycled materials.
- Pack a lunch or snacks and take advantage of the park’s picnic area.
- Restrooms and a drinking fountain are available in season (May – October).
- All-terrain strollers work great on the shorter gravel trail.
- Large parking lot, playground, restrooms and drinking fountain in season (May – October).
Photo Credit: Phill Dobbs
Miami Whitewater Forest – Badlands Trail (Crosby Township, OH)
The Badlands Trail is just a short hike to a pond, where you can sit and listen to wildlife. Continue on to the loop trail for further exploring! The trail has bridges, hills, fallen trees, slugs, mushrooms and toads, which will help keep the interest of children of all ages while hiking the 1.7-mile loop (there is also an option to cut through the trail midway and take a shorter loop).
- Bathrooms with running water are located at the trailhead.
- There’s an 11-acre dog park nearby – the largest in the Cincinnati metro area.
- Visit the nature center and stay overnight in the campgrounds for some extra outdoor time.
Photo by Crystal Judge.
MORE RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
Ohio offers an abundance of trails for families with young children. For more family hike ideas, see:
- Hike it Baby calendar (or connect with the local branch)
- Hike it Baby Family Trail Guide
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources
- Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers – New Book by Hike it Baby Founder Shanti Hodges
- 3 Beautiful Hikes in Washington State for Young Children
- 3 Kid-Friendly Trails in Kansas for Young Children
- 3 Gorgeous Hikes in New York for Young Children
What are your favorite hikes in Ohio for families with babies, toddlers and young children? Leave a comment below!