The beauty of southwest Ohio’s rolling landscape has a different charm in the winter, one that makes for a perfect day of hiking. We're talking snow-covered trees, frozen creeks, and a crunch under your boots.
Fortunately, there are plenty of hiking opportunities here in Oxford, and we can personally attest to the fact that just because it's cold out doesn't mean you can't bundle up and enjoy the beauty of these trails. (Before you head out for your trek, make sure you've got your cold-weather-clothes well stocked.)
So make the most of this social-distancing activity with our list of five trails in Oxford that are perfect for winter hiking. Keep in mind, these are just a few of many options. For a full list of hiking opportunities, visit Miami University's Natural Areas page. There are over 17 miles of trails all throughout town, which is more than enough to keep you busy this winter season.
When you're done hiking, come back into town and reward yourself for all that physical activity with a leisurely stroll through the Oxford Night Lights displays. Maybe treat yourself to a hot chocolate and a DORA drink, too!
Enjoy 2.5 miles of a wide, paved path linking to different Miami University natural areas! Access points to the Oxford Area Trails can now be found in several locations around town, including Leonard G. Howell Park and Peffer Park. The path is especially accessible to strollers, wheelchairs, bicycles, and pets, making it the perfect option for the whole family to come along.
Stay up to date with the Oxford Area Trails by following them on Facebook.
A local favorite among Oxford residents, Hueston Woods State Park has over 200 acres of forested area — perfect for an afternoon of hitting the trails. With 12 different hiking trails, all of various experience levels, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy! The quietness of the trails during the winter encourages appreciation for the beauty of this park’s woodlands and icy Acton Lake. Be sure to stop in the lodge after and warm up with some hot cocoa!
Take a hike in a historically-rich area of Oxford — the DeWitt Log Homestead, former home of Zachariah Price DeWitt and now the oldest standing log house in Oxford. When Miami trustees were looking for a place to build Miami University in 1810, it is said that Zachariah DeWitt recommended the land west of his home, at the crest of the hill — the site where the university is located today. While the house isn't open for tours during the winter, visitors can enjoy the outside, as well as some informational plaques around the cabin. Just up the trail from the house, spend some time birdwatching at Miami University Natural Area's Bird Blind that overlooks horse pastures.
With 135 acres of woods, Indian Creek Metro Park offers various hiking options with beautiful scenery. Its most well-known trail is the Indian Mound Trail, perfect for hikers of any experience level. The park surrounds Indian Creek, bordered by picture-perfect bluffs and hillsides. Additionally, Indian Creek Metro Park includes two pioneer cemeteries that have resting war veterans from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the War of 1812.
Winding around the rolling landscape of Miami University is 17 miles of university-owned hiking trails. The snow-covered trails invite you to explore the area and see where on campus you end up! Navigate your way through the trails easily, with the many maps located along each trail. Find trailheads on Western Campus behind Peabody Hall or by the Equestrian Center on Oxford Trenton Rd. For more, visit the Miami University's Natural Areas page.
While not a trail, we can't neglect to mention the Western Pond (across the road from Peabody Hall) at Miami University. Gorgeous cobblestone bridges and old-fashioned lamp posts make this a truly magical scene any time of year but especially when covered in snow. Brave the cold and check out this beautiful, hidden spot on Miami's Western Campus.
Did you know? The cobblestone bridges that make Western Campus unique were build by Black stonesman, Cephas Burns. Learn more about Cephas, and other prominent figures in Oxford Black History, by taking our Self-Guided Black History Tour!