When I visit Sister in Cincinnati invariably we wind up on some hike, be it urban or rural. This time we visited the Cincinnati Nature Centre and she recommended we hike the Far Ridge Trail. The Nature Centre has a dozen or so trails, all branded under the umbrella name – Rowe Woods. The trails vary in distance and difficulty. You can collect a map of the lot from the Nature Centre. Or you can download the map from the Rowe Woods Website. Far Ridge is one of the “difficult” trails but its relatively short, 1.5 miles. However, what they don’t tell you is that you’ll walk 2 miles to get to Far Ridge.
The Centre and all of the trails, benches, picnic tables and bird-watching ledges are in immaculate shape. There are ample, clearly marked signs everywhere directing you to trails (color coded even), all of them include distances, in case you want to double think before you venture down a trail that is too long for your time restrictions.
The difficulty in hiking Far Ridge is due to a steep incline about half way through the outbound trip followed, naturally, by a steep decline on the return. Personally I found the decline more difficult since it’s harder to see depressions in the trail surface coming from a higher angle of view, which makes your footing tentative.
Since the trail surfaces are in great shape you shouldn’t have to worry about navigating around dangerous spots. A few boulders and roots on the path are not stationary nor stable, as always, test those out first before assuming. There is one stream crossing but there was so little water (in June) you could walk straight across if you don’t mind soggy shoes. Me, I did boulder hopscotch across to keep my feet dry.
From the Nature Centre itself you’ll spend about 30-45 minutes walking to Far Ridge; more if you want to stop to take in the scenery. Really, its a beautiful setting filled with clear lakes and a wide variety of trees and flowers. In the lake just behind the Centre, I watched fish making depressions in the sandy bottom for what I assumed was egg laying.
Once reaching Far Ridge, you’ll want another 45 minutes to an hour to complete the circuit. In total, about 2 hour return from the Centre, stops notwithstanding.
You shouldn’t need much more than a water bottle and of course, your camera. You’ll want some shoes more sturdy than tennis shoes to navigate the boulders, tree roots and stream crossings; basic trail shoes should be fine. If you want but forget to bring snacks, water or an umbrella those are all for sale at the Nature Centre.
There is an $8 park entry fee for non-members however when we arrived there was no one there to collect the fee, so there’s that.
I can recommend Far Trail for anyone who finds themselves in the greater Cincinnati area and wants a beautiful, briefly challenging hike. I’ll probably do the other Rowe Woods trails on return trips