The Miami Valley has plenty of places to enjoy dining out and leave the extra calories behind.
One of the best places to go is any of the Five Rivers MetroParks, says Andrew Schlegel, co-owner of Great Miami Outfitters in Miamitown. “All the Five Rivers MetroParks are phenomenal just to get out and get a quick day hike in,” says Schlegel.
“Because the amenities are so close and they’re so well marked and just well taken care of, instead of getting off work for the day and being frustrated you can pump out an hour on the trails and head back home and be able to get the best of both worlds,” he says.
Many of the paved trails within the 18 Five Rivers MetroParks link up with other trails in the area for those who want to take a longer walk or bike ride, says Brent Anslinger, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation program manager.
“We’re at the center of the nation’s largest paved trail network where you can experience over 300 miles of connected trails that go beyond Montgomery County,” says Anslinger. “But you can ride from the Dayton area down to Cincinnati and to Columbus without ever leaving the paved trail network.”
For those that want to get off the paved trails and experience a little more natural walking surface the park district also offers some great hiking trails, says Schlegel. “That’s where Germantown (MetroPark) and Twin Creek (MetroPark) come into play,” he says. “It’s a fun playground for sure.”
For those that want to explore the waterway trails there are plenty of places to try in the Dayton region, says Schlegel. “One of my favorite stretches on the great Miami is West Carrollton down to Miamisburg,” he says. “It’s fun to follow that route all the way down, a 5 1/2-mile stretch about a two-hour trip, and it’s just gorgeous.”
Five Rivers MetroParks also offers fun for those who want to explore the rivers with its River Run projects on the Mad River and Great Miami River in downtown Dayton. The River Run projects are two structures that span the rivers, each with two passageways: one a slow-water path for new or inexperienced paddlers and one whitewater passageway for experienced paddlers, says Anslinger.
The River Run projects fit perfectly into the park district’s focus on conservation, he says, because the projects aerate the water and increase the oxygen levels, which benefits the aquatic habitat. In addition, the River Run project in downtown Dayton removed a dangerous low-head dam, says Anslinger.
For those who may not have the skills or knowledge to explore the wilderness on foot or in a kayak or canoe both the Five Rivers MetroParks and Great Miami Outfitters offer classes and programs on various outdoor activities.
Go online to metroparks.org for information about classes and programs offered by the Five Rivers MetroParks and greatmiamioutfitters.com for information about classes and programs offered by Great Miami Outfitters.
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